Friday, June 23, 2017

Seeing Red

I've just been recycled in a supermarket TV commercial. Three years ago, I had a big red hand. This time it’s a little red car.

Around March I get shortlisted for a role as a Mum in an Easter campaign by the supermarket. Don’t get the gig. Then a month or so later I am one of just a few select actors asked to audition for what seems to be the same ad. I say, ‘No, I don’t have any food allergies’ and promise to eat anything they give me—except mushrooms. Don’t get the gig (the mushrooms?). Then I get a call saying I’ve been shortlisted for another ad (same company) and don’t have to audition. Nice. Then I get a call saying they don’t want to cast me in that ad, they want to cast me in a different ad (same company). No eating, a bit more money. Nice. Then they ask me to audition. That day. So at 3.30 pm I shoo my Year 8s out the door, jump in the car and drive for 75 minutes to a five minute audition where I am told they have asked for me especially. Nice. But still no guarantee.

However, the job is confirmed and it’s good to get one of those rare-to-the-point-of-extinction ‘You’ve been cast!’ calls from my agent.

A few days later I spend eleven hours on a rooftop car park. At 6.15 am I’m in wardrobe and make-up and after about thirty minutes of meticulous hair-doing I end up with… a pony-tail! And some eye drops. Apparently they don’t want my five-hour-sleep eyes to match the cars in the ad.

The day consists of standing next to little red cars, sitting in little red cars and singing about ‘little red quotes’. (Two of the guys get to drive little red cars, but not me.) My four fellow cast members (an assortment of friendly blokes) can’t quite manage to sing and gesture in time. What we need is a conductor. And someone to say ‘cut’, as we never know when to stop miming our riotous conversations about car insurance. The director is quite a character but most of his attention is on the lead. She has a heap of lines, lots of smiling to do, two wardrobe people keeping her warm between takes, waterbottles on her feet and a much nicer ponytail than mine. Meanwhile, I’m in flimsy little shoes which barely cover my feet and no socks. In the middle of winter. I jog between takes to stay warm. We mime with joy and deliver our ‘testimonies’ with joy and have literally hundreds of stills done. More joy. They are really getting their money’s worth out of us.

Then as the light fades and the stunt drivers steer their little red cars in joyful synchronisation into the sunset, I steer my medium sized white car out of the car park and off home.