IMAG0869I’m heading home on a bus and there are some proper gobshite kids at the back. As ever, you try to learn what’s normal by listening. I’m the only person up here apart from them. It surprises me that they are using the phrase “a Corbyn” to describe an attractive older man. I never saw that coming. I never saw anything attractive about him outside of his humanity. Also they describe May as “a fucked spliff.” I’m not even sure what they mean by that. Skinny and no fun? Still, it’s the youth vote that has pushed to this hung parliament. 

I’m curious to see where this all goes. May warned us of a coalition with terrorists and now it seems she’s got one. When she warned us I assumed she meant the opposition. But she’s getting into bed with some very odd bedfellows.

I understand that though. I’ve got into bed with some very odd types over the years. I want to be able to continue to work and earn.

Right now I’m making theatre to train landlords to be a bit less shit. I’m doing it for a fraction of what I should be paid for this work. This is the sort of thing that, until I forced myself to write this daily blog, I’d have kept quiet.

I inherited a concern, based on other people’s bias. “If I let people know I do this sort of thing, they won’t think I can do more legitimate stuff.” And there’s some truth in that prejudice-fear. I’ve heard a casting director describe a perfectly good actor friend as “a free actor” because they did a job for no money precisely in order to be seen by casting directors like my friend. It upset me to hear her, as I felt for him. He did the job for free so she could see him, and she dismissed him because he did it for free.

There are so many actors, but we all see the same ones work the same sort of roles over and over. You can only do the job if you’ve done the job that you can only get if you’ve done it etc.

This works both ways and I’ve seen it fall to my advantage. Sprite worked with me multiple years, and gave me beautiful summers while other people asked how they could get involved. I was lucky to be a regular. I’ve worked as a “Hugo” for Heineken three times before. (It’s my middle name but that’s a coincidence. It’s a confidence thing. They trust me because I trust myself, so they use me.)  And now I have measurable precedent of success. If we haven’t been seen to do something successfully before, “the money” is concerned we can’t do it. How do we break the barriers?

Having never having had an agent that can open doors, I’m stuck doing what I can find: corporate work: “the money”. I’d sooner be involved in a long form process with a director, mining a great piece of text. I’d also sooner be using my long gathered sense of humanity to pop up on telly and tell the truth. But that’s all down to agent and contacts. I think my new manager, Iona, might be able to shatter some of those old concerns as she appears to be marvelous.

Meantime I’m okay as long as I can eat. Corporate work is “honest”, and it’ll help me be kind to people very different to myself. I can make it fun and interesting by now. Of course I’d prefer to be doing something with more depth, more joy, more challenge. And ditto the guys I’m working with, but there’s an understanding and a camaraderie. For the next few days I’m teaching people what a training acronym means, and trying to make it sound like the stuff normal people care about. It’s harder than you’d think. But there’s joy somewhere.

Meanwhile I’m looking at an everyman part for some young film makers that rang me   today from Ealing. I have to remember that I’m constantly in a position where people want me to ply my craft for cash, even if it’s not the BBC yet like most of my mates, dammit. It’s a student film. Usually my deciding factor is the script, followed by the budget. If both are not taking the piss i might have something lined up for early summer. Which is looking like my first year for a decade without a summer Shakespeare… 😦

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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