In a moment of quiet, knowing I won’t have a pick-up for a while, I walk over to meet an actor I’ve booked that I’ve never met before. I’m considering using him for another job in a week or two. He’s pretty obvious, in his costume, surrounded by people in high vis with lights.
I go up and greet him by his name. “I’m Al,” I say and extend my hand. He looks at it. Looks back to me. “Yes?” he asks, face neutral, defensive.
“I thought I’d come over and shake you by the hand.” He looks down at it again. His hand remains deliberately completely still. It’s a studied insult. He looks back to me “Why?” he responds, and is that hostility already in his eyes? My my, I think it is. I look at him for a while, right into those eyes, curious. Eventually: “Because I recruited you for this job and I wanted to get a sense of what you’re like.” And the veil goes over the darkness.
“OH! Hello,” he effuses, and a smileish thing switches on and he’s shaking my hand too late, too late, far far too late, I’ve already seen him now. But I’m smiling, and jolly.
It’s not a long conversation. He apologises at the end of it. With a dismissive gesture I throw away the idea of him needing to apologise. “It’s fine,” I laugh, and it is – for my pride, but not for my faith in him to fill this role.
He won’t be getting a call. The job I’m looking to fill needs someone with charm. I don’t care how cold or tired he was, if that’s his default talking to a stranger behaviour then it doesn’t matter how polite he is once he knows there might be some work at the end of it, it’s not work he’ll be good at. My instinct is my guide and in two words he eloquently talked himself out of a job. I’m sad about it. But somebody else will be glad of the work.
Outside of going and talking to some of the actors I booked, I have just sat in a car. Flashes of activity when the team get back to me and I have to race to another venue, but mostly just waiting. The day came and went, the rain came down, the sun came back. I waited. The sun went down. I waited still, and then some more. Waiting waiting waiting. Now it’s dark and I’m waiting outside the building where I did Christmas Carol. I think I’ll be up early tomorrow and it’s almost nine so I decided to start writing so I can just fall flat on my face when I get home tonight.
I’ve been fortunate to be driving a very pleasant man around town. We get on, although his brain is evidently flooded. I’m hoping we won’t be at it too much longer but I’ve got a feeling it’ll go until midnight. When I get home I’ll likely have an immediate bath, a glass of red wine, draw a line through a potential actor’s name in the notepad on my desk, and fall flat on my face again…