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!