I also invigilate exams. It’s unlikely you’ll know that about me. It’s another little way of ticking over. I’m at Imperial College, in the business department. I’m presiding over rooms full of people who understand calculus and have no common sense. Occasionally someone tries to cheat and it’s all people talk about for ages. They do stuff like shove papers full of equations into the bogbrush holder and then go for 20 minute shits thinking that nobody in their right mind will look there.
The wonderful thing about invigilating exams is that you’re in a silent concentrated room for two hours, except when you’re listening to people poo. You have to be alert, but it’s the perfect place to commit things to memory neutrally. If you’re learning lines in an exam room you’re not going to fall into vocal and physical habits or patterns. If I were to suddenly start acting at everybody in the middle of their exam then I wouldn’t get asked back. Today I had a little sheet with everything I needed to learn on a supplementary answer book. By the end of the morning exam I had two scenes committed to memory. Then I took the afternoon off work to record them.
My friend Matt has a camera, a mic, a voice, a reflector, time, patience and a blank wall. That’s all that’s needed to record a self-tape. I went round his and spent a couple of hours recording these scenes that came through late last night. They mostly involved me being smug. It’s a familiar trope. Scientist uses logic to combat emotional scaremongerers who turn out, against the odds, to be right. He then gets eaten. I get to be aloof and superior, and then inject myself with drugs that temporarily give me a God complex. All in a day’s work. We had a good session and then I sent it off to California. Now I have to forget about it until they call.
Once again I’m finding myself thinking how handy it’d be to have a little home set up. I managed fine today thanks to Matt, although the short timeframe cost me 50 quid as I had to drop the afternoon exam to get it done. Nevertheless, if it comes through it’ll be a game changer. Although saying that, does the game ever change? When I booked Bright Young Things all those years ago I thought it was a game changer. There are very dear friends of mine who have done wonderful jobs in the past and are now struggling to find work. A job is a job, at whatever level. We just have to do it as best we can, and move on hoping there’s another one coming. We can all play “Whatever happened to” and name so many actors that were in everything when we were kids who’ve done nothing for ages. Remember when Tarantino reinvented Travolta? Tony Slattery is probably wondering where his Tarantino is. Me? I’m looking for my John McTiernan, the guy who cast Rickman in Die Hard.
Meanwhile I’ll keep plugging and keep smiling. I just had a brilliant session at The Factory. Now I’m heading home to see my glorious flatmate and my lovely cousin outlaw. I get to do stupid fun stuff lots, often for money, and never in my life has a stern faced invigilator been standing near me looking a little strange and mumbling as I try to fill in my paper on differential calculus.