Sunday, 29 March 2015

Clamped Wheels in Bikini Weather

Our seasons started to change this week. For the first time this year I needed a jacket when I left the house. I started wearing long pants and closed shoes. And as I snuggled in bed on cool Tuesday evening I received an email for a casting for a shampoo add. So as I left my flat with my shiny clean hair on Wednesday morning, jacket in tow, I did not expect that I was required to wear a bikini for the casting. Especially as nothing was mentioned in the casting.

As a South African, this is not swimsuit weather.

As I walked into the building I was the second to arrive. And as the model and I sat in silence waiting for our turn the casting director asked if we had our bikinis on….

“Its ok, we have some scarves here, and we can improvise”

I had been through a similar situation before and didn’t feel like a second round.

“I live about ten minutes drive away. I’ll quickly go fetch mine"

Thankfully I was there early enough for this to be an option. So I drove home, grabbed a bikini and drive back again. As I looked for a parking spot I noticed a hardware store across the street. I needed to buy a few nails and bits and pieces to secure cabling in our flat so I decided I would park there, audition, and buy what I needed upon my return. Bikini castings do not generally require any greatly skilled performance. They tend to be more about the bikini.

I walked into the building as if on cue as the 5 of us were called in to do the casting.

Myself and the first girl to arrive where bikini clad, and the others were making plans with the eclectic collection of scarves provided by the casting agent. And as we stood, bikini and otherwise clad, it felt as if the casting was never going to start. The casting director was not having a good day. In the space that I had been away a car had been stolen, so the casting director was trying to help, but not much can be done in such a situation. The memory card on the camera was full, and someone had not pitched up to help out with our casting. The casting director's day was getting worse. 

Distractions aside, we eventually did our bikini casting, and I ran into the hardware store to get what I needed. After a semi successful purchase I walked over to my car. Imagine my surprise when my wheel was clamped. Bag in hand I looked at my clamped wheel. Upon which the owner started yelling at me.

“This is private property. You can’t just stop here.”

The staff jumped in in an attempt to save me from some of the wrath by explaining to the owner that I had been in the store and had purchased items from them. He was not satiated.

“I saw you go off to the audition. Its R250 to unclamp your wheel”

“Yes. And I also needed items from your hardware store. So I went in to audition and then came to your store”

I wanted to add that perhaps if he was nicer to his customers I might not be the only person in the store. Instead I went with

“As I was a patron to the store, I assumed it wouldn’t be a problem” and as the parking belonged to shopping centre in which the store was situated. Although I could see semantics wasn’t going to win me any points.

The continued yelling just confirmed what I thought. The store assistants attempted to jump in and help again. Clearly there weren’t any other patrons in the store.

And in spite of all the yelling I held my ground relatively well, not showing that I was intimidated. The owner eventually relinquished and settled:

“If you put R50 in the charity box I’ll unclamp your wheel”

I didn’t think I can handle all that much more of the bullying, so I settled for a fifth for what he was originally hassling me for I left with my head held high.

As I drove back I thought to myself that if the poor girl whose car was stolen had stopped where I had stopped, literally across the street from where she had been, her wheel might have been clamped and her car wouldn’t have been stolen. Or if the owner wasn’t busy harassing patrons he might have noticed that a car was stolen right under his nose.  Or if I hadn't gone back to fetch my bikini it might have been mine.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Fitting The Parts

Post-audition biker-girl selfie!
My first week back home from honeymoon passed by quietly. Too quietly. As I busied myself with the laundry and trying to find the floor in our new home I soon realized that the housewife thing was not for me. Thankfully by my first weekend back home I had received emails for auditions and castings. I had something – aside from my dissertation and piles of housework – to do!
In the space of a week I auditioned for a nurse, a biker chick and a beer girl. The following week saw another three castings and auditions. Ranging from pretty dresses to jeans and leather boots to looking like I was so sick I was knocking on death’s door. At one of the auditions I arrived at a friend had seen me approaching:
“I saw that blonde hair walking in and I wondered if you were under it”. At this specific audition we saw the director in rounds of ten. You went in, did your lines with the director, and if he liked what he saw you waited. At the end of your round of ten those who were deemed worthy came in again and were recorded to be shown to the client.
I was number 11. I knew my lines, but in the scene there were 3 characters namely X, Y and Z and a therapist. I walked in, took my place and started as my line was the first line in the scene. The director read the next line of text which belonged to the therapist. I knew two more characters would speak before it was my line. The director looked at me expectantly. I looked at him blankly. 
“Do you know all the lines?”
“I know the lines for the female character.”
“I want you to know all the lines, and I’ll read the therapist. That way we can have a better back and forth
“I’m really sorry. I didn’t know.”
As I walked out of the casting room and frantically looked for a script the director followed me out and announced that everybody needed to know all the lines for characters X,Y and Z. Not just one.
By the time that number 12 had auditioned I knew the lines. I was waiting by the door as number 12 left:
“Are you sure you know all the lines already” the director asked after spotting me at the door.
“Then let’s do it”
And it went smoothly. I was asked to stay to be recorded. I entered the audition room for the third time.
“Third time’s a charm!” I chirped as I walked in for my call back.
“Exactly like you did it last time”
As I finished the director looked at me seriously.
"I'm happy with what you did. Now it all depends on the client. If you look the way that they want you to look”

And it turns out that I didn’t look the right way. But its all part of what we do. And even though I didn’t get the part, its comforting to know that the director was happy with my work. And that I’m back in front of casting directors doing what I do.

Monday, 9 March 2015

And We Were Wed!

I know I have been quiet for a while, but hopefully my wedding will stand as a good excuse! I took on the part that I will be playing for the rest of my life. Although the thought of being a ‘wife’ still feels foreign to me, I get to be there for everything with my partner. And I know he will stand through all the different roles with me.

On the last day of January I married my best friend. Despite a sunny summer morning afternoon clouds threatened our outdoor ceremony, but the weather held. We were married under oak trees in a garden surrounded by family and friends. A part of me thought I was going to be nervous walking down the aisle. A part of me thought I would feel like I was playing a role for a stage play or a film. But none of those things happened. As I walked barefoot through the garden towards my almost-husband I was beaming. It felt like the most natural thing in the world. 

My Mom kept on saying while we were planning the wedding that it was like another production. As I have directed a few it would be no different than putting on a stage show so there was no need to be nervous. But it didn’t feel like that at all.

I was all smiles and laughter.

Now I’m tanned, back from honeymoon and head I’ve been thrown head first into auditions!