Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scrubbing Up Again

Date: August 2010
Job: Offspring
Location: Preston

Okay! Back in scrubs. I got my fix. I walked the hospital corridor. I feel better now.

This week I was on set again with Dishy Dr Don. I got to walk past him. No saving babies' lives together today (see The Mouths of Babes, June) but that's okay. Such is the unpredictable life of a professional extra.

There are seven of us 'background artistes' playing hospital staff and patients. There's a young man taking photos of himself in scrubs who tells me everything he's been up to lately and shows me a photo of his baby nephew, who is apparently a lady killer, in the first five minutes of meeting him and without invitation.

Anyway, I'm eventually summoned and told to wait three beats then walk down the hallway with the orderly, past Dr Proudman (Asher Keddie). Wait so many beats then return with the nurse. I have to mime chatting, walk more slowly, act natural, stop at the water cooler, stop at the door, walk off when the lead says 'two minutes', be more animated. 'Don't just stand there like an ironing board,' says the AD. Okay, but you just told me to be natural and I'm remembering the time I got told to 'tone it down' (Surviving Amateurs, June). I ain't arguing with her, though. Earlier, when she was giving us our places, one extra asked if he could go to the toilet. She kicked him off the set! (Well, he was warned!) But now I'm worried she thinks I'm stupid. I am so busy concentrating on being animated I forget the instructions.

I'm 'wrapped' but get to have lunch before I leave. Most of the other extras get to stay on for another four hours. Not to worry. I got my fix.

Trouble is, how long can I last before I give in again, say yes to the call from the agent (whenever that might be) and, throwing caution to the wind, take another day off work? How long before the lure of being seen on the screen theatens my wellbeing, my job, my very soul?

For now I resolve to stay strong. I will only take jobs on my days off. I will focus on the roles I have in two student films. But like a true addict I'm probably kidding myself.