Friday, 20 January 2012

Corporate Questions

I love corporate jobs. They pay well, you're wonderfully looked after and they tend to only take up a day or so of your time. As long as you don't crave emotional depth from your work then they're pretty much the best jobs out there. I value bacon sandwiches and endless cups of tea over being emotionally moved and that is why I love them so very much So, I was rather excited to get an audition for one yesterday. It had everything you want from such a job. It's well paid, it would be one day's filming just down the road from where I live and it's never going to be seen by anyone I know. As jobs go, these are the ones I want to make sure I don't have a mad panic about rent at the end of every month.

I headed off to my audition yesterday ready to smash it and make sure they couldn't even consider giving the role to someone else. I'd received the script the day before so I was familiar with it (it's hard not to be familiar with a script that is more exclamation marks than actual words.) As scripts go, it was actually one of the better written ones but the problem is with corporate scripts is that their main purpose is to get as much information across as quickly as possibly. This means that the sentences tend to be full of technical jargon that you don't really understand and seem completely unnatural. I've had roles where I've suddenly had to quote acts passed in 1979 in the same casual way that I might mention that I quite like your cardigan. So what you end up with is a very awkward script that is a beast to try and nail in an audition.

The point of the piece I was auditioning for is to help those in jobs where a high proportion of the staff are on the more socially awkward end of the scale. The idea being that they're far too clever at what they do and therefore find it incredibly difficult to ask questions. And it was very lovely of the company to help us get into character by putting in a representative from the company in the waiting room to sit with auditionees. I'm not 100% sure why they needed to be there unless they'd heard on the grapevine that actors are very lightfingered when left in a room with office furniture. But anyway, she was very pleasant but clearly determined to make as little conversation as possible which is lovely when it's just the two of you in the room. All my usual attempts of polite conversation were flatly rejected and it's only now that I'm starting to wonder whether this was actually part of the audition to see if I'd learnt anything from the script.

Thankfully I was quickly saved from the waiting room of doom and was ushered into the longest boardroom the world has ever seen. The person in charge, instead of waiting until I made the trek to the other end of the room, decided to introduce me to the panel while I was still barely visible to them. This lead to a wonderfully awkward, hardly audible set of 'lovely to meet you' greetings and then a confused look on everyone's faces as they they wondered if they still needed to shake my hand once I'd finally reached my chair. For some reason, my brain panicked and I decided that I really ought to shake the hand of the company representative who was sat opposite me. Sadly, I made this decision before realising that the table was far wider than I am tall and I ended up looking like a snooker player attempting some fancy trickshot.

The audition itself went ok and I was pleased with how I read everything (despite an alarming moment when one whole sentence came out Cockney.) However, it was clearly obvious when I left that the job wouldn't be mine. It's that slightly sympathetic tone that someone takes on when they tell you that they'll be in touch soon that just makes sure you know that you're going to have to find your rent money from somewhere else. They said that they'd be in touch either way so I've now got a joyous four day wait which I know won't end in good news. Best start saving the pennies for next month's rent then.

I should also mention that the incredible people at The Actors' Guild are now kindly featuring my blog alongside Steve Dineen's superbly written blog. The Actors' Guild is a wondeful resource for actors and I wholly recommend you check them out here.

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