Thursday, 7 June 2012

Fear Of The Unknown

There are days when I feel supremely positive about my acting career. Those days when I send loads one email out and change the font on my CV. The days when I rearrange my credits on Spotlight and spend two minutes looking up showreel companies. And that time when I spent all of ten seconds thinking about writing my own show. Those are the times when I feel like the hardest working actor this side of a temping job. And then there are days like today. Days like today make me worry about just how seriously I take my career.

I had an acting job today. As events go, this is rather bloody exciting because my acting regime has been about as active as my exercise timetable recently. In fact, rather worryingly, this has been my first acting job since January. At this rate, I can look forward to a bit more work sometime in December and can use my sparse CV to heat the flat. But yes, today I was actually paid to do a bit of acting and that was great. Thing is, I didn't entirely know what it was for. When I applied for it, I knew it would just be as part of an advert on a website. It paid and it sounded easy so of course I fired off my begging letter and, to my surprise, they cast me without even asking me to audition. For some reason, and I'm not sure why, it never really dawned on me to ask what the website/product was. And as it got closer to the day of shooting, I actually rather liked the idea that I didn't know what I was letting myself in for. Aside from the blogging opportunities, it made me feel a little dangerous (and yes, I realise this is about as dangerous as crossing the road when the green man tells you to.)

So I arrived this morning feeling all rather exciting. Who knows what exciting kind of product I was about to talk about. It could have been the newest flavour of crisps meaning that I'd reached the pinnacle of my acting career at the tender age of 28. Excitedly, I signed the release form, desperately scouring it for a clue as to what it would be. In fact, I was doing pieces of three different products, none of which I'd ever heard of. No Walkers. No McCoys. Not even Asda SmartPrice. Damn. Looks like this acting lark is going to be dragged out for a while yet.

Once I'd signed my life away, I was asked to make my way to the shoot which was a couple of minutes down the road. Not a problem. I've left buildings before and walked down the road all on my own. I've been doing it for years almost glitch free so today should be no exception. But of course, it was. I got to the main door downstairs only to find that the door wouldn't open. I searched for a magic green button located nearby that would let me out. Nothing. I desperately flicked a lightswitch numerous times. desperately hoping that it was a door-opener in disguise. Still nothing. I pushed and pulled to the point where I was dangerously close to losing my fee to cover the cost of a new door. Finally, a man who obviously worked there appeared on the other side of the door, took one look at me flailing around like a fly in a bottle and let me out. Good start.

The rest of the shoot was actually turned out to be fairly painless. I was very quickly briefed on the products, told what to say and that was it.  Although it was being shot on a very busy high street full of very normal people who obviously hadn't seen a camera before. Firstly we had to contend with the man who seemed to deliberately turn up his very frantic jazz everytime action was called. And there was also the poor man who, while trying to buy a coffee, was shouted at by the director because he couldn't take his eyes away from the camera lens. A group of foreign students also watched and looked utterly dismayed as they were rewarded with the sight of me hitching my skirt up as I came very close to feeding my radio mic through my knickers. After that I think word spread around London pretty quickly and we were barely bothered again.

But despite the general public and the fact that I was improvising about things I'd never heard of before, it was all done very quickly. In fact, rather worryingly, in the two jobs I've done this year, I've spent about 30 minutes on set. Best put that BAFTA Fellowship on hold, folks...

1 comment:

  1. On the positive side, I'm sure the Director was pleased that he had such a competent artist to work with, enabling him to whizz through the shoot. Time is money and it's things like that which will earn you a good rep and get you rehired.

    Onwards and upwards!