Thursday, 17 May 2012

Food Glorious Food

Casting: "We need a brave man willing to enter in a restaurant, sitting on a table and eating quite a big meatball."

 Food is one of my favourite subjects. If I could somehow find a way of combining both food and acting into one job then I would be so ridiculously happy that you'd probably hate me. If someone could find me a job where I could be paid to eat all day and then I waddle off to do a little bit of acting in the evening then that'd be swell. Thanks.

But sometimes food and acting do come together in dischordant harmony. Of course, there's on-set catering which I have moaned and marvelled at several times on this blog already. Those terrible jobs where a feeble looking cheese sandwich and two grapes are supposed to sustain you through 15 hours of filming. The ones where you hope their sound equipment isn't too sophisticated so they can't pick up your miserable, rumbling stomach. And then there's the other end of the scale where the food is so damn fine and plentiful that you spend much of the afternoon desperately fighting off the need to curl up in a contented food nap.

However, there are also the acting jobs where food is gloriously intertwined with your acting: EATING SCENES! Now, these should be my favourite thing in the whole world. I should relish (get it? RELISH? Oh, forget it...) the opportunity to act and eat at the same time. That's where perfection lies and I should be ready to dive in mouth first. But, if you've ever had to eat on set or on stage then you'll know that the experience is far from ideal. I was in one short film where there were two separate eating scenes, one set at breakfast and another at dinner. For the breakfast scene, the director had decided that we'd be eating scrambled eggs. However, on the day of filming, they'd discovered that they only had two eggs to feed the both of us meaning that my character had to dish up a forkful of egg each. And that's all we had to keep us going for the dozen or so takes that we ended up having to do. They weren't the speediest bunch at setting up shots either so each take meant we had to nibble away at the tiniest fleck of freezing cold scrambled egg. What was supposed to be a scene about a couple falling out turned into a scene with two of the most miserable looking actors who appear to have forgotten how to eat.

Another film and another breakfast scene. Oh, and another unorganised crew. However, this one had completely forgotten that my character would be eating breakfast. For some reason the director had decided it would be nice if everyone in the family was eating a different type of breakfast. So, my dad got to happily munch away on toast, my younger brother got to eat as much cereal as he liked and my younger sister got a lovely looking fruit salad. And then there was me and no other food to be found. So, instead of giving up on this bizarre idea that no one would even pick up on anyway, they decided that I could eat the one remaining item that was left over from lunch... a tuna sandwich that had been had been sat in the sun for three hours in possibly the hottest flat known to mankind. Now, I don't mind tuna but I'm really not a fan of it when it's at its most poisonous in a hideously cheap sandwich. I expressed my concerns but they said they really needed me to be eating in the scene so maybe I could just eat around the edges. It was one of the last shots of the day working with one of the most awkward casts I'd ever known so, to just get it over with, I decided to just get on with it and deal with the sickly consequences later. What I ended up with was yet another scene to add to add to my rather niche 'Unable To Eat Convincingly On Camera' showreel. As jobs go, they are few and far between.

Incredibly, writing this blog has actually made me rather hungry. Maybe I should set up a Skype lunch session so that I can finally prove to the world that I am actually capable of eating techniques other than nibbling and grimacing...unless cold scrambled egg and tuna sandwiches are the order of the day...

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