Monday, 24 February 2014

"Slightly Over-Weight"

I'm not skinny. I'm not fat either. I am fit, and I have muscles. In fact, I'm on my Weigh-Less goal weight. But I have a goal weight, and I dieted down to get there. And I'm rather sensitive about that.

Body image is never an easy thing for any woman and most of us would rather be called an entire slew of other derogatory terms before being called fat. It's not right, but we are products of our society.And as an actress and a dancer weight has always been a tough topic. No matter how thick skinned I've grown a comment about my weight, or being the 'biggest' girl at a dance audition is enough to send me into renewed efforts at the gym, or to double my daily green tea intake.

And so on Sunday evening I received an email from my agent who, bless his heart has never commented on my weight, to audition for a film. I read the character description he suggested for me and agreed entirely. It's the type of character I want to play and that my agent and I had discussed, she's going to be fun to do, she's comedic.... And then the moment of the character description that changed it all:

"Slightly over-weight"

A small part of me died in that moment.

Now I know (or at the very least hold on to blind hope) that those three words are not why my agent suggested that particular character. She is everything we had discussed that I wanted to do and playing her would be so much fun. Except for those three words.

The morning before the audition a friend made me laugh:
“Well if that’s the case you’re going to get to eat a lot of doughnuts before you start shooting.”
I felt a lot better after that. And in my frumpy skirt, and the shirt I had that resembled a blouse the closest (the characters wardrobe of choice) I went off to my ‘fat-girl’ audition.
After the audition I happened to walk out with the casting agent, who informed me that most of the actresses coming in for the part were all commenting about the ‘slightly over-weight’ clause. He responded that perhaps that would settle for ‘a little chubby’. It really wasn’t about the weight.

“I think it’s more the type of energy for the character, more than the look” I ventured.


And as the casting agent and the women feeding me lines had both laughed during my audition I’m praying for the best.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Starting with a bust and a BANG!

My mom had asked me earlier the day before I received the email: Did I know if I was still going to have my morning a week lecturing job this year. I was expecting the college where I teach drama and film not to reopen its doors again this year after the tumultuous year we had last year. An hour after my mother posed the question I received the electronic reply. The college was closed, and my safety net job, that literally kept petrol in my car was gone. During the quiet weeks the last two years the lecturing job not only sustained me financially, but also gave me something to focus on other than my Masters. I found out that I would by jumping without my safety net this year a few days before leaving for Europe. But as I was already receiving emails for auditions when I returned to South Africa from my fantastic new agent while I was in Milan I was somewhat quelled in my fears for the new year.

I landed in warm Johannesburg on a Monday afternoon with full on Bronchitis, and on Tuesday morning I left for my first casting for the year. On Wednesday morning propped up with couch syrup, antibiotics and pain medication I had another casting for my old favourite, Coke-a-Cola. 

After waiting for a few minutes the casting director I had handed my form into called me from the wall where I was standing and waiting.

“Come wait over here”

Two other blonde girls were already waiting there, and shortly afterwards 2 guys joined us. One of the guys was an acquaintance, and the two of us pondered our fate as we waited in our segregated area. We weren’t told why, but I assumed we fulfilled something that they were looking for specifically. We were then all thrown into the next batch of 20 hopefuls to audition for what is always too few slots. The‘select 5’ did the group audition first while the others watched, and then we waited while the same scene was acted out three more times. After everyone had had their chance the numbers were called out for those that had made it through the first round. I sighed relief as my 306 was called. All of our little group of five had made it through the first round. And we then acted out the same scene, this time in smaller groups.

And, as always, the wait to hear if I have work sets in. But this year I go for auditions while I’m waiting and that makes all the difference. And now that I don't have that job in the background I have no choice but to commit entirely to the jump.