Annoying self tape

I had to roll myself along a blank white wall pretending to kiss somebody who wasn’t there, who then didn’t say anything because there was nobody either there or off camera or on zoom to read the words they were meant to say as I didn’t have time to organise it. I had to react to what they didn’t say as if they’d said it, and then I had to swear a bit. It’s one of those self tapes that you suspect won’t go your way before you send it. The part will go to somebody with an actress girlfriend who is then a bit miffed they didn’t get the girlfriend part. Hey ho. I had no choice but to do it like I did it. “You’d be better off kissing Mao”.

There’s only a few hours where the light can catch my face through the scaffolding outside the window here in Brighton. The camera shop was out of LEDs – “They come from China”. I had nobody to read opposite. I’m not the guy who likes turning tricks. I’m the guy who likes to react. I had nothing to react to. “Fuck it. Send it anyway.” That’s the way of the self tape. So I did.

On the plus side, I now have a decent tripod to keep in my car. That’s been a long time coming. Fifty quid it cost me, but no amount of gaffer was going to make it possible for me to record the thing with even a scrap of the shitty shape I eventually managed to hack together. I needed to get a full length tripod for my phone. I’m lucky in that I could finally afford the investment and get one.

They even wanted me to send a full length shot of me, head to toe. This is in Lou’s flat. It’s not a castle here, and it’s full of fabric and esoteric knick knacks. Now – thanks to the tripod – they have their full length recording of me standing there surrounded by her books and by her beautiful eclectic yogic posters and quotes, looking a bit discombobulated after doing the rest of the ident bent at a ridiculously obscure angle so I could step back straight into the full length shot they wanted.

I guess everybody is just trying to work out how to assess the shape of actors they don’t know without them being able to come into the room. Man this would be so much less faff if I was already universally recognised, dammit.

Last night I dreamt I was standing in a circle like the ones we grew used to at Guildhall, but instead of it being just my friends from back then, the circle was populated with allies of mine from throughout this long and strange career. Many of them have achieved some kind of international recognition for acting or writing or producing and some are too busy to have been able to hang with me lately. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up with them through work sometime. It was nice to see them all at once in a dream. It was an interrupted dream, hence remembered, and covering so many people with the speed that only dreams have. And it helped me remember how we are always just one job away, those of us that are left. There were friends from Guildhall, friends from university, friends from school, from drama school auditions, from shows in churches when we were kids, from early tours, from summer Shakespeare, Frost Fayre, Christmas shows, catering jobs, adverts, corporates, role plays, Coney, games, events, drunken joyful parties, sober ones, holidays… Hey you lot. All still in there. All still plugging. And now I think about it, there were some of you that got out of the industry successfully too. Well done. I could never do that.

Patience. Slowly. Slowly.

My audition today – at least the part had a name. Sometimes recently I’ve sent tapes for parts that are just job descriptions and numbers. This is not what I signed up for, and as often as not they prefer a personality bypass for the role anyway which means there’s no point my reading for it. But I’m always happy to be working. I love my work. It’s why I’ve tried so hard to sabotage it over the years. Some redundant idea that I should be suffering in my work, not just having a brilliant time every time they let me do it.

Frankly, I’m glad I’ve managed to stay happy in this broken game over decades. I’m looking forward to the work picking up again now. My beautiful agent is making it possible for me to send audition tapes at a time where there’s sod all going on and all the actors are starving. Bring it on.

I looked at pretty flowers on a hill.

Sorry. That was a Braindump.

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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