Thursday, 15 December 2011

Silent Night

I'm sorry for the unforgivable 10 day absense. I'd love to say that this has been down to me being incredibly busy and that I haven't had a second to sit down and write. Wouldn't it be grand if my nearly two week silence was down to me being so in demand that there was no possible way I could commit my fingers to my crumb-crammed keyboard. But of course, we know this isn't the case. The truth is that I haven't written because sadly I've had very little to write about. Because another year is coming to an end and as we're  gathering desperately bought presents, hoarding sickly sweet food and frantically trying to catch up with friends before the apocalypse supposedly descends upon us, the acting world has jammed the breaks on. There is nothing out there to be had. A few auditions are being offered here and there but these are either offering no money whatsoever or they're looking for everyone that I'm not.

Of course there are always down times in the world of acting. If you believed every thesp that you speak to then there's never a good time. The beginning of the year is slow to take off, Spring is ok but then theatres are worrying about Edinburgh. Summer is notoriously bad as most of the world inhabits the Scottish capital for a month, everyone comes back and all anyone's worrying about is who to cast as Buttons and then it's Christmas and there's never any point starting anything then. So, if the acting folklore is to be believed, there's about two days in April when it's a good time to be a performer. The rest of the time you may as well admit defeat and stay in bed.

I realise I should either be distraught at this lack of work or using this time off to do incredibly productive things. However, I'm still stuck in the novelty of having days off. Having worked full time for two years in a job I pretty much despised, the prospect of waking up late and being able to meander round in my onesi is still to great for me to turn down. Every morning I've woken up and considered the possibility of doing something a bit more proactive but instead I find myself gazing at Holly and Phil and entering countless online competitions in the hope of winning so much tat that I may never have to work again. I imagine this paints quite the pathetic picture but if you realised just how comfy and cosy I am then you'd most definitely aim your pity elsewhere.

And my laziness isn't being helped by being offered a job that I didn't even apply for. On Monday I received an email asking if I'd be part of a photo shoot in January. It's well paid, for a good cause and the only thing I did to get the job was to exist. The Lethargy Devil on my left shoulder has taken this as its biggest victory yet and my right shouldered Enterprising Angel has accepted defeat and gone into hibernation until the new year. Sadly it seems when panto season descends and the acting world embarks upon it's annual meltdown, the only choice is to settle down with a glass of sherry and a box of Quality Street and enjoy the slow, cosy, sleigh-belled ride.

Monday, 5 December 2011

This Is A Man's World

I've harped on quite a bit about how much easier it would be to be an actor who possesses man bits. Check any casting website and you'll see that the amount of roles out there for the boys are far greater. I often think my Spotlight jobs feed has broken as hour after hour passes with no new jobs posted. However, a quick check to the full feed and there's a whole plethora of parts reveal themselves, all ready and waiting for the few men struggling to find acting work. Although there's absolutely nothing I can do it about it, it's still bloody frustrating because there's absolutely nothing that I can do about it. I mean, I realise that I could start writing my own stuff. I could actually invest some time, get my head down and look into putting on something myself. Or, more likely, I could look into sex-change operations.

So if I've already wittered on about this, why am I going on about it all over again? Well, I'll tell you why. It's because I woke up to this news:

On first glance, this sounded like excellent news. I'm one of the few people left on the planet who still hasn't seen Jerusalem but all I've heard is people raving about how good he is so I can only imagine that this is wonderful news and should mean audiences will flock there in their droves. I was a little annoyed that two lead roles were given to the same actor as surely it's far nicer to spread the love around a bit and let everyone have a bite of the juicy apple but at least the good parts were going to a damn fine actor.

However, my happiness was short-lived when I carried on reading and saw that Shakespeare's Globe were producing plays under the title 'Original Practices' meaning that they are putting on all-male productions. I completely understand that this was how they liked to do things back in olden times before they invented women but haven't we moved on since then? Of course, it's nice to revisist these things and give audiences a sense of how theatre used to be but should it really be to the detriment of all the hard-working and deserving actresses out there? Isn't that what we have museums, documentaries and history lessons for? It's bloody hard enough getting work anyway and theatres such as the Globe can feel inpenetrable at the best of times so why are they making this member's only club even more exclusive? Female roles in Shakespeare are hard to come by at the best of times and I'm sure if you asked anyone to name the first five Shakespeare characters that came to their head, most, if not all, would be male characters. So why take away those few scraps left for us actresses and give them to the already over-worked men? Is it not enough that we're taught at school what theatre used to be like? Failing that, I'm pretty sure we've all seen Shakespeare in Love and all learnt a lot from Gwyneth Paltrow bandaging down her breastular area.

There's a total of three companies involved in producing this and I wonder if at any point, anyone piped up and said that it might be nice if there were a few lady types involved. I imagine the second anyone dared mention putting a woman in there somewhere, they were shouted down and were made to realise that it would be a lot easier all round if they just let the men have their fun on stage and let the womenfolk stay behind and earn their living in a call centre where they belong.

I'd love to think that someone will prove my whole blog wrong now and announce a whole season of all-female productions. Honestly theatres. Do it. I dare you to make me feel ridiculous for getting up on my feminist high horse and put on a whole host of plays where women, for once, get to take centre stage. Hmmmm, looks like I'm going to be on this horse for quite a while. Anyone got a comfier saddle?

Friday, 2 December 2011

Saying No

I think you know when you've got to an OK place with yourself when you can finally say no to a job.  Many's the time that I've said yes to a job, knowing full well that I'll gain very little from it. I was taught at drama school to consider the three K's when considering a job. Firstly I thought this meant that I had to consult the KKK whenever a job came my way. I know agents can be a little forceful at times but this really seemed a little extreme. Just as I started to consider whether I really wanted a racist in a pillowcase in charge of my career, it was then explained that the three K's stand for Kicks, Kudos and Kash. The idea is that if you can cover at least two of those then the job is probably worth doing. Since then I've used it for every job I've done and although it's not completely foolproof (it's responsible for finding me sat on a cold, damp warehouse floor for four hours while being blinded by glycerine as it dripped into my eyes) it's been extremely useful.

Yesterday a director I worked with recently got in touch as some friends of his were shooting a short film this weekend and the lead actress had gone awol so they needed someone else and he'd recommended me. Of course, it's always a honour to be recommended. Being kept in someone's mind is always a good thing and my ego enjoyed the little boost it was given on a dreary Thursday afternoon. I mean, it might just be that he had a think over who was likely to be free at such short notice and instantly thought of me but I like to think that it's more to do with my excellent technique and incredible presence....OK, it was clearly to do with my diary and it's incredible ability to remain empty at all times.

I'd originally planned to head home for the weekend and perform the monthly ritual of stealing as much food as possible and hauling it back to London. But I asked if I could see the script and it looked pretty good. It was a nice story, a lovely character and would be really useful for my showreel. However, the problem was that it was that the call times were exceedingly early (it would mean getting up a good two hours before it even starts to think about getting light), the shoot was far away and they weren't even covering expenses. It breaks my heart to turn down jobs because you never know what it will lead to and, more importantly, it gives me stuff to whinge about in my blogs. But I've come to realise that it's actually OK to say no to something, especially if you can't even tick off one of the magical K's. Also, our cupboards are looking very bare at the moment and that's something a short film will never, ever help with...

Thursday, 1 December 2011


I know, I know. I'm sorry. I realise I've probably ruined everyone's week by not posting a blog for days and days. I can imagine how you've been repeatedly clicking refresh, gazing longingly at the screen and desperately hoping for another whiny blog from me. I'm sure you've been going about your daily business in a bit of a daze, wondering what on earth has happened to that slightly annoying actress who'd probably get a lot more work if she didn't spend most of her time complaining about the work she does get. I realise how frustrating this must have been so I apologise but unfortunately our flat is currently without internet. Tensions are high and nerves are fraught as we are somehow expected to carry on as normal when we can't even watch a supposedly hilarious parody of something or other on YouTube at home without using up nearly all our data allowance in one sitting. I've also been a bit of a busy bee this week and so today has been the first day that I can actually put aside some time to buy a cafe's internet for the price of an overpriced coffee.

So here I am. You can call off the search parties and put the sniffer dogs to bed and sit back and listen to me whinge, moan and self-congratulate through overlong sentences, oddly spaced paragraphs and made up words....

Tuesday, although looking like any normal day, was probably the most productive I've had since the day I finally set up wireless internet and realised I could work in bed. I had a casting for an advert in the afternoon and, in true, Miss L style, I didn't have a clue what it was for. I apply for pretty much anything that offers money/experience/crisps so I apply for quite a lot of things regardless of what they're actually for. This job was advertised as being for a 'family brand' so I knew it must be safe. Last I heard, Hovis hadn't started including sex toys in with their multiseed loaves and John Lewis weren't selling fetish gear so I figured I'd be ok. Of course, there were numerous times while arranging the audition with the casting director that I could've asked but I didn't want to appear too demanding so I just kept quiet.

So I turned up on Tuesday afternoon without a clue. This should terrify me but unfortunately this now happens to be an almost daily occurence so I've learned to cope with the confusion and mind-niggling wonderings. The auditions were running late so I turned to my trusty iPhone to keep me entertained. I checked to see if there were any acting jobs to apply for and I saw a voiceover job that looked interesting. Despite having had a voicereel for nearly four years, I've yet to have one voiceover job so although it was practically unpaid, I decided to apply for it. Within minutes, my phone buzzed and it was a message from the director to say that I had the job. What? Just like that? I kept re-reading the message wondering if I'd managed to read between a lot of lines and decided to come up with my own conclusion. Finally my mind had decided that if no one else was going to give me a job then we'd just have to make up our own. But no, there it was in tiny writing in my hand. It was recording the next day and I probably accepted the job a bit too quickly but what the hell. Despite my inability to know what job I was waiting to audition for, I'd somehow applied for and got a role in the time it normally takes for me to lose a new cardigan (about 3 minutes.)

In the midst of my baffled euphoria, I was called into the casting. In the room were the casting director and the director of the piece. They welcomed me in and it was at that point that the casting director decided to go for lunch. I know I shouldn't take these things personally but I totally did. Surely this can't be good if the casting director takes one look at me and decides that this is the time that he least needs to be in the room. Did I look that incompetent that he could basically use me as an excuse to go on a break? Did I still smell like the packet of crisps that I'd inhaled minutes before the casting and that reminded him that he'd yet to eat? Who knows but what I do know is that the first few minutes of my audition were spent stood between two men while they discussed what flavour sandwiches they like. Finally CD leaves and I can get on with what I'm there to do. The advert was for a new website and they just needed me to deliver a few pieces to camera. It was all very lovely and, this isn't a word I use very much, the director was actually gushing about how pleased he was with what I did. I never think this but I actually got to the point of convincing myself that he was going to offer me the job there and then. Could I really secure two jobs in the space of ten minutes? Surely that would be kind of record that would get Roy Castle back from the dead? But of course that didn't happen and instead I was vaguely promised an answer by the end of the week which gives them a few days to look back over my inane witterings and make the fully informed and sensible decision not to cast me.

I should probably write a bit about the voiceover job but it was actually just very nice, very easy and surprisingly mishap free. Let's be thankful, for the sake of this whingy blog, that these jobs are extremely few and far between....