Friday, December 21, 2012

Princess of Tides

Location: Sandringham & South Melbourne
Date: December 2012

Not being what you'd call a 'boat person' I don't expect to do a TV commercial on a sea going vessel. But here I am on a luxury cabin cruiser, just off Sandringham, filming an ad for a boat show. And although the shoot is what you might call 'Economy Class' compared with the 'A Deck' Slater & Gordon TVC (my one minute audition is filmed on an i-phone, I’m met by a crew of three on location and lunch is a salad roll at the kiosk), it's a day's paid acting work and I'm not complaining! Plus, I get to spend a lovely afternoon in the sunshine!

Being directed by three people at once is probably not what I’d call ideal but my new onscreen spouse and I go with the flow (like that little pun, do you?) and do numerous takes, including a whole new script written on board the cruiser. I start out saying my line a particular way, change it several times to suit the 'directors' and then when I go back to doing it the way I did the first time, the agency guy says 'Perfect!' (Hubby and I have a little chuckle about it later.)

This outdoor adventure is followed by the decidedly indoor enterprise of recording two radio commercials for the same campaign in the coolest (in both senses of the word!) studio I have ever seen. Even the toilets at this place are funky. And it's great experience! (The radio ad I mean, not using the toilets.)

Anyway, the boat show commercials will air in a few weeks, not too far behind my previous effort, which finally made it onto the small screen a few weeks ago, or so I’m told. (I haven’t actually seen it.) It might look I've been busy but in reality the period between shoots is over six months. Hopefully it will also look like I have sea legs. Ah, the world of TV is but an illusion…

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Owling

Location: Eastern suburbs
Date: September 2012

It's not too often that you get to work with someone who is calmly juggling breastfeeding and directing. But with the director's family all involved in the film, (daughter has a role, husband is producing, parents' house is used for several locations, mother and friends play bit parts) it seems to be perfectly natural.

This nice little paid role comes my way thanks to my showreel, on a casting website. Don't even have to audition, which is a bonus! Instead of playing yet another 'mum', in this film I am the daughter of a woman who's drinking too much. My character has her own problems too, though. Anyway, I get a bit typsy, see a real doctor (I'm tempted to say between takes, 'by the way, I've got this nasty...'), have 'counselling' and get 'picked up' at a gym.

The film was commissioned by a health organisation to promote the 'Owl' Program (Older, Wiser Lifestyles ) and it's all about older people and medication and alcohol. Of course, that meant significant amounts of aging make-up. Significant amounts.

On location there are planes and barking dogs to deal with, a chiming clock and a little girl who plonks herself right next to me when we are just about to shoot a scene in a busy hospital!

Around the same time I do an audition for a 'corporate ad' for a home renovations firm, (they tell me I 'nail it'--pun not intended--but I don't get the part, which just goes to show) and have my scene in another short film rescheduled due to the lead role having to be recast (an injured actress!) Looking forward to that one as I get to play an irate patient! I plan on channelling the frustration I am currently feeling as I wait for my pay to arrive for the ad that I did over three months ago! Grh!

Anyway, that's two professional acting roles this year and it's only September. Oh my. If this keeps up, I'll have to change the name of my blog.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Commercial Law

One thing about the film & TV industry is the way one adapts to intimacy with strangers. As I wait to shoot my one line in a TV commercial for a law firm, the sound guy fiddles around my torso attaching a mic, the wardrobe lady stylishly arranges a silk scarf around my neck and the make-up assistant touches up my lipstick. The huge crew hustle about me and I'm just hoping I can avoid tripping over these big fat white hospital style booties that I'm wearing over my shoes (to protect the white studio floor!) and say my one line convincingly (they are paying me a lot of money, after all!).

It all starts with an audition (my third this year) and after initially trying not to get my hopes up too much when I hear I'm on a 'very tight short list', I'm pretty pleased to get the part. Then it all becomes a little chaotic with last minute emails and text messages and a call sheet that never comes, and as a result I get my call time wrong and turn up extremely late, which is mortifying. Thankfully, they are relieved that I'm not dead and the show can go on, therefore they don't go nuts at me, even though I sort of deserve it.

I have to say my line about 30 times. The director takes the pressure off by saying it doesn't matter how many takes we do, bless his home-made mohawk. But it's still tricky at times and I realise when I watch one of the other actors that it's much easier to 'get' what the director is wanting when you're not the one standing in front of the camera! Two days later, when I'm trying to get to sleep, I think, 'Oh, that's how I should have done it!' I do the line again later in close up, and I also get shot from the back, gazing up at some light. Then at the end of the day when all of the other actors are wrapped, I have to wave my hand through a beam of light. I have no idea what I'm doing. It's a bit arty farty for a law firm ad, but WTH? But it's still not over. I come back a few days later for 'stills'. The photographer takes about 50 shots. Surely one will do? Nope. Another 50 shots. I feel like Miranda Kerr without the dimple. And the incredible good looks. And Orlando. But I'm sure she doesn't run out of things to do with her hands like I do.

Anyway, the commercial should hit the small screen pretty soon and the fact that I have a line might suggest that I've actually gotten somewhere in the three years that I've been doing this. But as my very first 'gig' was a speaking role, it's more likely that I've just been going around in circles!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


March 2012

Yes, it's been a while. But don't blame me.

Despite my standout performance as a 'featured extra' in the CUB internet ad, which gave me wide exposure on TV during the footy one night (a friend actually recognised me! Fame at last!), it has been a long time between drinks.

Eight months after my last sip (a call-back for a weight loss product ad), I finally get another call from my agent and the next morning I'm at a casting agents' office, exclaiming 'Still down!' as part of a two minute audition for a supermarket commercial. I don't get the part. Obviously not ecstatic enough. I'll work on it.

I did play a small role in an independent feature film called Monster Pies late last year, though.

It's a non-speaking speaking role. I mean, I would talk if I could. I play a 'brain injured mum'. 'You'd be good at that,' says my daughter. My audition for the incommunicative mother of a gay young man, I mean, young gay man, takes place in the tiny kitchen of the director / writer / producer / make-up artist / costume designer / props person. (No, the crew aren't flatmates; it's all one person). Then it's a one day shoot in a nursing home in Altona which I actually really enjoy. It's dramatically challenging and I don't have to learn any lines!

Anyway, my new agent doesn't normally handle extra work (excuse me, but 'featured extra' work is a different thing altogether) so I've been missing it, to tell the truth. But she eventually informs me of a 'Go-See' for an ABC mini series about Kerry Packer. And cricket. My favourite game. Yep. (Am I un-Australian if I don't know the rules?) Anyway, I go along, hoping it's not a replay of that Phryne Fisher debacle. You remember. Two hours standing in line to do what could have been done online. I mean everything's there on the casting website: photos, measurements, biography. So I don't really see the point of going to a Go-See, see. Unless it's about seeing us all in 3D. (I hear it's the latest thing) Fortunately this is most efficiently run and a comparatively exhilerating experience. No queue. In and out in a matter of minutes. Lovely. The series is set in the 1970s (been there both in real life and on film) so I wear a skivvy and some beads and do the page boy thing with my hair. Can't hurt. If I was a man I would have stuck on some sidies. Now it's just a matter of waiting to see if the Go-See is a goer.