Well. I had a lovely day today on set. We were in a beautiful old school at half term. My brother’s old school. Last time I went there was when the parents were still alive, before the world got emotionally complicated. The names of the houses had a special significance. They were places of legend. Places where the older boys did the mysterious things that big boys do.
There I was, in the chapel. I found out what big boys do.
It turns out that big boys get a million WhatsApp messages from disgruntled actors who have been given no information and are losing faith in the job you’ve booked for them. The problem is it’s not my job to give them this information, and yet nobody else is. I just booked them. I called them off the record the other day and tried to put their minds at rest. But one of them said “it’s been decades since I’ve worked with such a bunch of muppets.” Another one forwarded me the most unprofessional email I’ve ever seen sent to a booked actor, with a release form attached, sent from the office, connected to me. Everybody has had one of these… I was filming something else and had to be on point. I had to disconnect. It was making me too angry. It makes me so livid thinking about it still. It’s a miracle of goodwill that half of my actors haven’t walked off the job after being on pencil for weeks and then getting that sort of sorry excuse for communication.
Given time I could maybe teach the person how to book actors – especially actors working at this rate. Even agency extras are better handled. They have to be, by contract. It’s a wonder my guys can put up with the communication level and tone I’ve witnessed. My rate for the day on set today was ten times theirs. Admittedly it’s for a week where if they need me I have to drop everything. But still… I feel responsible.
I went to the office after work, exasperated. “I’m just no good at writing emails,” is the response I get from the person whose job is mostly to write emails.
I’ll calm down soon, but not if my actors don’t show at the run through because they haven’t been briefed properly. Or at all.
Oh it makes me spit.
What a lovely day on set though. I should’ve just left my phone in the trailer. Lots of actors around me all of whom have been around the block a few times. “I’d forgotten that this is a way I can make money and enjoy it too,” says a man with two restaurants. “I’m thinking of easing back on this to focus on my daughter, you only get those years once,” says another. We’ve all been in it a while. I’m one of the youngest!
I travel home in a taxi with a lovely fellow. Lives in Ham, but isn’t. He came all the way to Manchester a couple of weeks ago only to be told he wasn’t needed. “Still get paid though”, he says. Fair. “Usually after a day like this I feel elated. As it is I just feel flat,” he confides. “I don’t know what it is. Too many people I suppose.”
Fair enough. There’s must have been 150 people in that room. The camera was interested in fewer than ten of us, and really in only two. The extras must have been living in some huge tent somewhere as we were ushered in coats through the rain by helpful young men and women with tempest torn brollies.
It was a good day but I’m exhausted from focus split. Tomorrow the mill. Sunday the fruits…
Here’s a picture of my lovely kitchen. In a glorious stroke of fate the cleaning lady came today. I’m off to bed in nice clean sheets.