In a day or so I’ll be doing a website shoot. One of those jobs that blurs the line between actor and model. Way back before Guildhall I was with a modelling agent so this is a familiar context. Back then I used to spend money on expensive facials and stuff before auditions. The problem with that is, if you get the job you think you have to get the facial every time you audition. If you don’t get it then you feel you’ve wasted your money – and people ask for a lot of money for a bit of cream. I stopped doing it because I started getting jobs after just rocking up hairy in my boots. I decided it was an unnecessary luxury.

Today, though, I had a facial. And a haircut. And a beard trim. And a manicure. On the client. That’s feature film treatment again. But it’s an unusual circumstance.

My modelling agent back in the nineties taught me something very helpful. It has won me lots of commercials. “You can act darling. The director will be pleased to see you audition. But if the client doesn’t think you’re on brand he’ll block you. Research the brand. Wear their colours. Use their buzzwords casually. If you don’t overdo it then you’ve maximised your chances. Then you just have to do a good audition.” She was right. I’ve ticked over with commercials and corporates over the decades. It’s not the process driven work that feeds my heart, but it can be fun and it butters the crumpets.

This approaching shoot is a website shoot for a company where the business owner is a friend of mine. He’s the “client” and he wants me on board. Saves them booking time off and renting studios for auditions. It makes sense too, using me for this, or I’d have stopped him by now. I’m on brand. Butter for the crumpets ahoy! And because we’re mates and he wants me looking good, so he booked me into a salon and I got all the treatments I had long since deprioritised as “expensive luxury.” Legend.

I have cute cuticles. Manly soft hands. I’ve had a man-facial, which is like a facial but it’s black and it smells of Man Stuff for menmen. My straggly hair is corralled. My beard is no longer “Hungover Gandalf”. And by chance I’ve got an audition tomorrow for a job that will perfectly slot in after Vault is finished. So for free I’ll make a good impression, unless they only wanted me for my wildman beard in which case there’s plenty of time to grow it back. Although if I get the gig then I’ll have to fight the superstition that it was the treatment that clinched it. That could be an expensive pattern to get into. The bill made my eyes water more than any of the smelly things he put on my face. I could’ve gone to my Barber in Camden six times for that. Although he wouldn’t have given me free shortbread.



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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