A short while ago, my modelling agency informed me that they had sent my photo through to a casting director who had asked to see me specifically for an audition. This is known as a “go-see” and they don’t come often so I knew I had to go, even though it was on a Saturday and also for less money than what I would normally audition for. Being a poor writer, I was in severe need of the cash and I also didn’t have too much going on that morning, plus the casting director was pretty close to my home so I decided to give it a bash.
Arriving there, I felt like I had walked into a disaster zone. There were toddlers and infants all over the floor, blocking the door, screaming, crawling and just generally making me miserable. Auditions are never easy and having a literal day care around you doesn’t help much.
I almost turned back to go home and I would have if the security guard hadn’t swindled me out of R20 to park where I had parked for free before. So as you can tell, it wasn’t off to a good start.
Did I mention that I was also there half an hour earlier than the time I had been designated but there were still tons of kids scattered everywhere with no end in sight?
The extremely busy audition that I nearly avoided
Eventually I was called in with three other kids and we all auditioned at the same time. They are basically like little zombies or drunk people and trying to elicit comprehensive answers from them is not easy. I must admit I was heavily surprised at the performance ability of the four year old closest to me. My performance on the other hand comprised of me staring at the little girls as they were asked who believed in Santa. I left feeling hopeless, but four days later, got the email saying I was booked. That was four days before the shoot.
I only mention this because normally you find out if you are confirmed on a job a lot further in advance as they have to do wardrobe calls and cast coordination. The shoot was to take place on the Tuesday and on the Monday afternoon, I still hadn’t heard anything.
Eventually I got a call from wardrobe telling me to bring the outfit I auditioned in as well as a few options. That evening I got a text confirming the shoot time. I knew it was a night shoot but I discovered that it was going to go through the entire night.
In preparation for the shoot, I spent the day resting and left for the Broadacres Spar in Fourways so that I could be there at 7pm. Tables were set up in the parking lot and we ate dinner in the dimly lit open air.
Lugging my clothes around, I was then told to change into the outfit I wore when I auditioned. No one looked at the full bag I brought with and as my car was being used by my mom for the week, I didn’t have anywhere to put it.
Slowly the preparation for the shoot began. We were told to line up for about half an hour, all in a row as the clients walked down, examining each and every one of us. Only once we were approved, we were allowed to go to the set.
Finally at about 9pm we began shooting. We all stood in the Spar, now closed to the outside but lit by studio lights, giving it a sense of false day. We were given baskets, positioned and told to feign shopping – over and over again.
My shopping basket
The first scene was the most difficult because it contained the little ones.
Now for those who don’t know – children are only allowed to be on set for a certain amount of time, and it lessens when it is a night shoot. Meaning that we had till round about 10pm for them to shoot before they had to go to bed; well to go sleep in their parent’s cars and on the floor of the wardrobe tent.
From there, it was up to the adults to perform. This shoot contained not only kids but a large number of older artists as well. They say that some of the more difficult performers to deal with are children and animals. I would like to take the liberty of adding the elderly. Not in an ageist way. Just because they take a little longer to get direction, aren’t as agile as others, do things a lot slower and don’t always understand instructions. I have no problem with older people being cast in adverts, in fact I always feel so happy when a grandparent gets booked because I know that model money will be a blessing more often than not. The truth remains though that they will inevitably take longer to get the final shot. I think this was way they estimated our wrap time to be 6am the following morning.
Still looking sprightly at 10pm
Finally it was my turn to shoot and one of the crew told me that the camera loved me and that I looked amazing whichprovided much needed encouragement.
Slowly time ticked on and we sat outside at 12, 1, 2 in the morning. We were then served “lunch” at 2am and forced to wear bibs over our own clothes so that we wouldn’t mess a toasted sandwich on our wardrobe. This industry is weird and quirky and sometimes you have to do things that are odd and don’t make sense.
It is best not to question or to complain.
A quiet model is the best kind of model. Sort yourself out and make everything right so that you don’t have to bother the crew.
Looking little tired at 1am
At 3am we were starting to do the final scenes. It’s hard to know what’s going on when you are on the set of a large shoot like this. Actually it’s hard to know what’s going on in any shoot.
The grandparents shot for about an hour and we waited for our turn. Finally our scene was up and after exploring what felt like the entire Spar, we were up. The director was quite strong willed and obviously we were all on a schedule with a large cast so I understand his frustration. I performed as best I could because all I could think about at that point was my bed!
Looking miserable at 3am
The final advert is now out and flighting on TV at the moment. It is not at all how I anticipated it would turn out but they did well and it is a rather emotional advert. I do feature a few times which always makes a long and tiring shoot worthwhile because now I get messages from friends and family members saying they have seen me on tv!