Sunday, 22 November 2015

Launching Lost In Chance

I am not famous. Not yet anyway. And I didn't go into acting to get famous. If you don’t believe me, check my twitter and Instagram following. Or check them out anyway: My twitter and instagram handles are both @ChandreBo 

I do, however, have friends that are doing really cool things. And one of my friends wrote a book.

Lize Jacobs and myself at the launch of her book Lost In Chance at Skoobs.

I met Lize Jacobs (click to link to her website) about three years ago when I auditioned for one of the short films she and her brother Henco J were making. I got to know her a bit better when I actually got to be in one of the short films a while later. During this time I’d heard that she had written a book. I'd heard how she’d phoned her friends at weird times asking advice on what clothes a character might wear. Then I heard that the editing and rewriting process would take some time. Later I heard that she was researching the routes she could take to publish her book. And that her book was about Paris.

Shortly after I got back from Paris earlier this year Lize asked if I would read her book for her. Another pair of eyes looking for any mistakes, or suggestions and to write a blurb for her book. I finally used three years of English literature studies practically as I read through the book. 

“Please give me your honest thoughts. Don’t hold back”

I am a rather straightforward person, and I believe that the truth might hurt now, but helps in the long run. Thankfully I was spared a rather awkward email as I really enjoyed the book. And then I was asked to attend the book launch, and to read an excerpt of her book at the book launch.

In the paperback. My blurb for Lost In Chance.

 Last week my husband and I attended the launch of Lost In Chance. A Paris-themed evening at Skoobs: Theater of Books in Monte Casino. And I did a reading of the book, as a ‘celebrity’. There were other people there who are actually well-known, and a beauty queen, but I won't go into that. I'll just have my moment.

As I joke about my status in the South African performance industry, a big part of what made the book launch so wonderful were all the people who got involved in the launch of the book. The sponsorship programs, and the mobile library all made possible by the people who attended the launch on Wednesday evening.

If you are interested in buying Lost In Chance, Click Here or take wonder to Skoobs book shop and pick up a paperback.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Playing Mommy Dearest

I’m not what you would call “maternal”.  Please don’t ask me to hold your baby, because I don’t really know how. In fact, the last time a child was put in my hands (at church no less) I was so startled that I stood awkwardly holding the child at arm's length. It was immediately removed from me as a women proclaimed:

“You need to practice with a doll first”.

As a recently married women my husband and I often get asked when we’re planning on a starting a family.
Not any time soon.

Which made last week particularly interesting. Upon arriving at a casting I was told to “pair up” with a seven year old girl. The casting director spoke to the group at large:

“Ladies, talk to your new daughter. Let them get comfortable with you so that you both give a good performance”. 

The role was for the mother of the little girl. Fortunately the kid I got paired up with was extremely chatty. Upon introducing herself to me she looked me square in the eye and asked quite seriously, as if I knew him personally:

“Do you know what’s happening with Justin Bieber?”

I professed that although I didn’t know him personally I had heard some of his new music.

“No” She was insistent that he was up to no good and was definitely not making new music. This was not up for debate.

“I hear that he’s either taking drugs or he’s in Mexico”

I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond to all of this. Fortunately I didn't need to.

"Do you see that girl there" she asked pointing across the room.

"She's in my school. Last week she had a sugar rush and went sort of loopy. Then she drank a whole one of those" she changed from pointing to the girl to a five liter water bottle. The conversation then changed to another topic. My contribution to the conversation wasn't much more than iterations of "Really", "Is that so" or "Why is that?"

My first fully formed sentence when I got home to my husband?

“I have no idea how to talk to children.”

My words were barely out before I received another email from my agent. I had a casting the very next morning. To play a pregnant woman.

That evening we had friends over. As I unlocked the front door to our home a weird scream traveled through the air of our complex. Not being aware of any kids close to us I was rather confused about the source of the sound.

“Was that a cat?”

“No ChandrĂ©. That was a baby. You are CLEARLY ready for motherhood.”

Monday, 2 November 2015

My lips are sealed.

I have been quite for a while, for three reasons: I’ve been working hard on academics and house hunting, it has been really quiet industry-wise of late and lastly, the contract I was working I’m not allowed to talk about. Or post about on social media.

When I did a two week shoot for a coke advert 2 years ago the first thing I did after collecting my luggage at the airport (well, I went to the wrong carousel and then had to find it by the baggage handlers) was sign a non-disclosure agreement. Threatening to be prosecuted by the State of Oregon if I posted (or my family and friends posted) anything about the shoot on any form of social media. And they were monitoring us. One of the stuntmen got into a lot of trouble when putting a photo on facebook. I had to sign a non-disclosure again two days into the shoot. Just in case. I’m not sure in case of what, but it had to be done. Coke was terrified Pepsi would catch wind of what was going on. And on my second shoot I wasn’t going to be arguing with anyone. What was different about that shoot to the work I’m doing now is that I could post about the advert once it had aired.

I’ve worked two contracts this year I can’t post about. It’s sort of like being a slightly less glamorous Disney princess. Maintaining the illusion is key. So no photos of yourself in half of your costume, no backstage pics. And if someone manages to photograph you mid costume change you got into trouble. During rehearsals a friend took a photo of me doing a handstand which I sent to my husband. Our director thought I had posted it online:

“My husband had such a good laugh at that photo of me”

“Did you post it on facebook?” He had gone suddenly pale as he hadn’t specifically briefed me on the company’s protocols.

“It’s not my first gig. I know how this works. Nothing online.”

His relief was palpable.

It would be really great to post about all the weird things and conversations we have about the show. About the strange service entrances we use for shows, the unlighted paths we’ve had to walk at night and sneezing in our costumes before performing. What I can talk about more is the amazing people I get to work with. Cast mates and directors. My wrangler who keeps my costume safe and looks after me when I’m in character and who has literally saved my life. She has kept me from falling down stairs and protected me from over-zealous kids and parents.

As a performer there are things I would love to be able to share. And there are things I just can’t. The performance is more important. As performers we have to believe in the illusion we are creating for people we are entertaining. If we can’t believe in that, we don’t belong on that stage.