Winning the lead role in our grade two production of Rockin’ Robin changed my life. I’d tasted the sweet nectar of acting success and I’ve been thirsty ever since.
Dehydrated, it would seem, because thirteen years later twenty year old me was impersonating a vegetable at a local Tafe course; a cert one in acting that promised great things and provided the names of people who had gone on to star in Woolworths commercials.
Our first task was to get up and channel said inner vege. I had nothing by the time it was my go so I just got up and kind of spun around for a while and then stopped and said that I was a tomato that had been blended into Dolmio sauce. There were a few confused claps and I bowed and simulated mopping up the spillage on the way back to my seat.
Difficult as it is to imagine, my name wasn’t plastered on billboards six months later, despite some truly gripping performances; possibly because a movie with a vegetable as lead character isn’t very marketable. I retract that – Brando made a career out of it. Andonyafahgetit – It’s like a streetcar named desire ran him over http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4Z4c6-_iek&feature=related
As far as I know, Meryl Streep didn’t get her big break sitting around in her undies reading a paper that sells free pot plants and used baby clothes, but then, there really is no American equivalent to the Quokka, and in this oft-derided publication I saw my ticket out of Maida Vale wedged, unassumingly, in the section titled “Miscellaneous” with “actors wanted for local tv series” underneath.
A quick clarification: I do not click yes on those flashing ‘you are the tenth million visitor’ signs. I knew it was probably a channel 31 gig with me playing an extra, (or a very experienced tomato), but either way it would allow my raw talent exposure to a wider audience and hopefully the attention of a big-name producer/director who liked to watch the world’s crappiest channel in the middle of the day.
Because it’s always lonely at the top, I recruited a few friends. Both lacked my illustrious background in the field, but could do a very convincing impersonation of a fridge if they stood still enough. It would be beneath me to drag one of my fearless companions into this tale of shame and degradation, but riddle me this: a member of my family, a gender y anomaly. Name starts with m, then i i k, is he my brother? I’ll never say.
Deluded and hopeful, we set off for the Canningvale studio. I could tell it was a studio because they’d installed a set out front that precisely captured the Canningvale spirit; dead grass, a rusty gate and two burnt out cars in the front yard. I’d arrived.
The authenticity continued on into the house, with a (pre-dramatic weight loss) Peter Jackson type welcoming us in and plonking himself down on to a casting couch/potato chip graveyard. If you’d tipped it over you could probably have got about another 200g pack, which, judging by his impressive girth, would not have lasted long, but I reassured myself that this was how Howard Hughes had lived out his final days and prepared myself for my debut performance.
I was playing a real live human being!!! One that lived on a faraway galaxy, but a human, nonetheless, and my task was to shoot down enemy spaceships, with a small additional caveat – it had to be with my mind. Yes. I buckled up my seatbelt on the USS Enterprise, furrowed my brow and let fly some pshht pshht noises which, in hindsight, sounded more like a dog urinating on a fire hydrant than intergalactic warfare.
The force wasn’t with me or my companions, and we were sent home with a “don’t call us we’ll call you” look which, as I’ve learnt from many job interviews, is just don’t call us. Ever.
With no job, no prospects and a severely battered ego, I enrolled in uni to pursue a far more feasible career, and voila me 2012, rolling in the dosh, critically acclaimed with books flying off the shelf like a poltergeist’s birthday party.
I should have been an accountant.
The Channel 31 production was never aired. Somewhere out there is a “director” starting every second sentence with you will not BELIEVE what I got these people to do. Touché my friend, touché.