Saturday, 14 January 2012

Bare Essentials

I've spoken before about turning down work. It's something that when I first started out, I never thought I'd find myself doing. There was a time when I'd do pretty much any job for anyone who dared offer me one, regardless of whether they felt it necessary to reward me with food, money, warmth or all of the above. However, I've recently started noticing that I'm becoming a bit more picky about these things and I can only presume that this is a good thing. The amount of unpaid work I now do is down to an absolute minimum and if a job involves something that I'm just not comfortable with, I'm now comfortable enough with myself to say thanks but no thanks.

This morning, for example. I woke up to find someone that I'd never met or contacted was offering me a job. Although they had next to no budget, they were offering a very small payment and were able to cover expenses. Because my bank account is currently full of cobwebs and a few bits of loose change rattling around, I decided that it would be worth doing. It would keep me in crisps for another week and I figure if I'm trapped on a film set then I can't be out frittering away my last few pennies on a Mars bar. I had a quick look at the first couple of pages of the script and as it all seemed OK, I stupidly replied to say I was interested but would like to know which character they wanted me to play. "But why do you say that was stupid?" I hear you cry. Well, I'll tell you why. I didn't bother to read the whole damn script. Had I read on I'd have soon seen the word 'touch.' I'd have then seen the word 'thigh' a bit later on. Finally we have 'hands gliding' and it all starts to make sense. Because very soon after I'd initally stopped reading, the film very quickly descends into porn. But this isn't just porn, it's lady porn. And while I don't particularly have a problem with the world seeing my bits or getting entangled with another female for my art, I do have a problem when I'm being paid 83p an hour (I worked it out and that's honestly what I'd be getting.) Plus, with such a limited budget, it's fairly certain that it would be shot pretty poorly and no one wants to see my badly lit post-Christmas padding flailing around on some poor person's bed.

The world of film has been subjected to my lady parts before and although it was shot within the relative safely of drama school, it was still an horrific experience. It was the very first scene of the film that was shot and I found myself in a ground floor, street facing, tiny hotel room with my co-star and crew members, all of which were men. The curtains had to be partially open so that the light could get through so I apologise now to anyone who was driving through west London in 2005. The first couple of shots were about as traumatic as when they made Strawbery Ribena toothkind, but by the end I was happily taking notes from the director with everything on display. But of course, this was back in 2005 when I was 22 and we all looked a lot better back then. Despite the poor lighting and general lack of photographic talent, I still looked OK but six years on with no daily dance and movement classes to keep me trim, it's a very different story.

They still haven't responded to my initial question so, technically, I'm still doing this job. Best pull those lettuce leaves out from the back of the fridge just in case...

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