On the job

I spent most of the day sitting in a perfectly realistic living room. Furniture and lovely ornaments, including some Wedgwood Jasperware pots and ornate antique vases. Big decorative pictures on the walls. Daylight outside the windows. A chandelier. It was only when you look up that the cracks begin to appear. The ceiling is torn to allow the cable for the chandelier, which runs up thirty feet in the air and more to the REAL ceiling. It’s only then that you might start to realise that the daylight outside the windows is burnt in by arrays of halogen bulbs. The walls are just flats. Outside it’s a box in a huge empty space. Inside there’s smoke blowing, heaters burning, cameras and microphones and so many people and all the paraphernalia of a set in full work mode. The other actors and I are milling around, coming in and out, doing this, doing that, talking and walking and sitting and fretting. The work of today will translate to just seconds on screen. I might see three of the many words I spoke make the edit. I might see none. It’s happened before. I’m not going to rule it out. But it’s a good gig for me right now. I’m thrilled to have booked it even if I can’t name it and don’t speculate publicly please. I’m up to my knees in non-disclosure agreements and leaky actors don’t get re-employed.

After the wrap I walked back to my trailer and was startled by the reality of darkness. It was DARK. After all the artificial light, I’ll probably end up with jetlag.

Now I’m in Mike’s Audi, driving across London to Shoreditch to see my best friend. I love how you get a driver for the day you’re on set. All the VIP treatment just for remembering words and doing a voice. Reality again tomorrow for a while. Boo hiss.


Now I’m installed in a booth at Busaba Shoreditch waiting for Minnie. Good on the driver for being okay with changing my drop-off to accommodate my need to see my best friend. If he’d taken me back home it would’ve been too late by the time I got back out here. I owe him one. I’ll have to get him a present for next time I’m on set. He’s a Manchester United fan. I’ll think of something.

This set is very much a community and I’m glad to meet it. Lovely people working together for a common goal. There is some wonderful work going on.

I’ve just resisted the temptation to get some celebratory alcohol, and I’m making do with an Appley minty ginger thing, which is nice enough and won’t make me feel like shit in the morning. Roll in another photo of my drink.

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I’ve learnt a lot today by observing. I want to be on as many sets as possible with people of the caliber I’ve just been on with. There’s so much to learn from watching people who have had loads of screentime. I remember observing an old Trojan years ago for just a couple of days in Bangkok and stealing the way he behaved on set. You always grow through working. This has already been a learning experience for me.

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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