Thursday, 21 March 2013

Unreality TV

Being contacted by a TV company should be exciting. I should feel a little flutter in my stomach that once I’ve checked on the internet isn’t an incurable disease, gets me wonderfully excited. However, you only need to spend a few weeks in the acting industry to know that 9 times out of 10, disappointment is usually lurking around the corner. 

So, you can imagine my overwhelming levels of doubt when I received a message from a production company that I’ve had absolutely no contact with before. Contacting a company is one thing but when they’re coming to you, it’s safe to say that you’re not going to be having contracts loaded with six-figure sums and years of work flung your way. And I wasn’t wrong. This particular production company was asking if I would like to take part in a new show for their channel. There was no mention of where this channel was shown but I’ve never heard of it so I’m guessing it’s buried in the depths of Sky channels where only those with a lot of patience or an eager index finger go. 

My interest had all but departed but they’d cleverly opened with a vaguely flattering line (“I bet you say that to all the actresses. Oh, you do? I see.”) so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and read on. However, by the second paragraph it became apparent that this was not going to be the role that had Culture sections of newspapers queuing up to interview me. In fact, I doubt even my parents would bother pretending to be interested in thi- oh, hang on… they want my family to be involved in this too? Interesting. I mean, we’ve all had to deal with the sudden rise of casting calls asking for real families to be part of adverts but at least they’re being paid. It’s one thing asking your loved ones to be on TV for a bit of extra cash but it’s another thing entirely to ask them to give up their free time for, well, free.

I thought the fact that they wanted my family and I to work for nothing was the worst they could ask me but, of course, there was more. Not only did they want to subject my family to the expenses only rubbish that I put up with on a daily basis but they also wanted to use their home to film in. Again, for no money. Anyone who has ever filmed in someone’s home will know that at least one calamity will happen at some point during the shoot. I’ve been in people’s houses where doors have been broken, pictures have been knocked off walls and red food colouring has been splattered across a cream carpet. I’ve watched the ends of boom mics being dragged against walls, leaving distressing grey marks like inky slugs and I’ve seen crews use every single power point to charge every bit of equipment that has ever been invented. But hey, at least we’d get our faces on a channel that no one will ever watch, eh? 

Thanks, but no thanks, I told them. No reply. However, it seems that they spent the next few days in a state of disbelief that I turned down their wonderful offer. “She was clearly confused when we first contacted her as I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to be on our channel with a viewership of 4, especially when we’re not paying.” So they fired off message number two which was worded almost identically to the first. I like to imagine that they’re eagerly watching their inbox, waiting for my reply. However, the sad reality is that they’ve probably found someone to do it and some family somewhere is desperately cleaning their house and saying a fond farewell to all the precious items that they’ve safely kept in their home for generations. I wish them luck and decent insurance cover.

No comments:

Post a Comment