Sunday, 11 March 2012

Take A Break

I went on a little mini-break this week. OK, you might call it ‘me tagging along with T while he works out of London’ but in my world that currently seems to centre around Kettle Chips, castings for budget brands and dealing with the fact that most texts I receive are from the Papa John’s marketing team, I’m in need of a bit of glamour so we’ll be calling it a mini-break. You say tomato, blah blah blah, let’s call this bizarre, pronunciation-based relationship off.

So yes, I dared to venture out of the confines of London for a few precious days. It’s hugely thrilling  getting out of this silly city for a few days and I was massively excited by the quaint little places that we’d be staying in over the next few days. But underneath this feeling of joy was a slow, trickling undercurrent of dread. Of course, because although it’s damn fine getting the chance to escape, it also means that you’re making yourself unavailable for all the jobs that Sod and his army of evil children will inevitably throw your way. And Sod, the mean and poorly organised little cretin, didn’t disappoint and he made sure that almost instantly, I was put up for a job that would be shooting while I was planning to be away. However, not content with this one, mildly devious act, he then decided to make sure that every other casting out there meant that I felt like a foolish, holiday obsessed thesp.

Now I realise I hadn’t booked wildly expensive flights or decadent hotels so I could easily not go and leave T to go on a solo road trip (not a euphimism.) But why should I? The problem with being self-employed is this belief that you’ve got to constantly be available just incase something turns up. But because Sod is always in charge he’ll make sure that while you’re at home waiting for the job train to come along, there’s a whole forest’s worth of trees on the line but the second you dare to break free, there’s jobs aplenty. It drives me frikkin wild and it has driven me to the point where I’ve become so stubborn about the whole thing that I now refuse to back down.

When I first left drama school, I was determined to always be available. I was stung early on when I dared to book tickets for a festival just a month or so after I graduated. I’d be at the festival Friday to Sunday so I figured I’d be safe. What were the chances of me getting an audition on that Friday? Bloody high as it goes and just as I thought I’d gotten away with my rash, ticket buying ways,  I got a call from my agent to say I’d got a well paid audition for Friday afternoon. I pleaded for it to be changed but I very quickly learnt that this wasn’t an option so instead I just had to deal with it and embark upon a good 24 hours of cursing, Sod, his wife, their children and everyone else who dared cross my path. And as a result of this first, tiny little sting, I then embarked upon a three year ban on holidays (it’s safe to say that I spent much of these three years as a pale, vaguely miserable wreck.)

Thankfully I’ve learnt from my silly mistakes and I now know that it’s ok to take some time off. Yes, I’m constantly waking up in a cold sweat worrying about those Radiohead tickets I’ve got for October and that they’ll inevitably clash with something but that’s totally normal, right? But I’ll be honest, I actually felt very liberated when I told my agent there would be a few days when I couldn’t work. It made me feel like I had the most tenuous of holds on my career and that it was actually ok to be ever so slightly demanding. I mean, when I say demanding I basically asked if it would be alright for me to be possibly away for three days in a very quiet week in March but, y’know, I totally won.

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