Monday, July 31, 2006

Working in London

Thursday, I had to start filming for the TV episode I was cast in. Originally scheduled for afternoon, I got a call from the production team, on Tuesday, asking me to be on location at 10:30AM. Checking the train times online, I found that, to be safe with a healthy cushion of time, I would need to catch the last train of the morning Rush hour, from Bracknell. This would cost more, as I wouldn't get the off-peak discount, but heck, the production company were supposed to be covering my travel expenses. I set my alarm to wake me at 7AM and aimed to make an 8:34 train.
You would think I would go to bed early, the night before, but I didn't. I am so used to staying up late and listening to talk radio. I also found a game of Asteroids on someone's Myspace profile and got hooked playing it. I didn't manage to go to bed, till 3:30AM. I talked myself into resetting my alarm for 7:30AM. I awoke at 6:30AM, looked at the time on my mobile phone and went back to sleep. Might as well get that last hour. When I awoke at 6:30, I actually felt ok, but figured I should have the hour sleep for later. Big mistake. When my alarm went off, I turned it off and just lay there. I felt so tired. Getting out of bed seemed like raising myself from the dead.
The production assistant who had been in contact with me was indecisive about what I should wear. Originally, casual, then she said wear what I wore for my audition, which was a suit, and to bring several ties, including a joke tie, if I had one. I do have one, a South Park tie, which my evil ex-father-in-law gave me. She also suggested bringing jeans and some different shirts, in case the director wanted something different. This was a low budget project where I had to provide my own wardrobe. Maybe one day, I can have wardrobe provided for me. To carry all this, I would bring one of my suitcases. Now, you would think that I would pack the night before and that was my intention. However, when it came down to it, Asteroids seemed like more fun. Why do today, what you can put off till tomorrow?
After prying myself out of bed, I headed for the shower. I like to take a shower in the morning, before getting dressed in clean clothes. Then shave, a quick hot dog breakfast, with cole slaw and potato salad. Brush teeth, get dressed, pack...can't find my South Park tie!!!! Even though I moved four months ago, I still haven't taken everything out of boxes and cases, from the move. My South Park tie isn't with my other ties. Where is it? Finally, I find it along with some other stuff I hadn't remembered was in a case. Finally I am ready to go, but I have only 8 minutes to get there.
Instead of walking a half hour to the train station, as I did the last two times I took the train into London, I had decided to drive and park on the street, two block from the station, on a side street, where there is free parking. When I get there, all the spaces are filled. Now what? The train is due in two minutes and I haven't got a place to park yet. I realized that the next stop is very close and there is a Tesco there, with loads of free parking. If I head straight there, maybe I can get there before the train does. I still need to buy my ticket. I race over there. The station, there, has free parking for people using the train, but all the spaces are filled. So, I park in Tesco and walk, schleping my suitcase, which hangs from a shoulder strap over my left shoulder. Inside the station, I check the screen that displays the next train, hoping the train was running late. It had been and gone already and the next one was due at 9:05AM. It takes just over an hour to get to London Waterloo Station, then I needed to catch a Tube train to the location, near Kentish Town. This would leave me less than a half hour to get from Waterloo to the location. I was cutting it close, with no time to spare. Why didn't I leave my alarm set to 7AM? Onboard the train, I enjoyed the air conditioning and pulled out my script to study my lines again.
On the Tube, I sat across from a very attractive young woman. She had olive complexion, with a hint of freckles. A very interesting nose, which I couldn't place. Medium brown hair. She never made any eye contact. Oh well. At the Tube stop, I ended up walking up 110 steps to get to the surface. On my way back, I learned I could have taken a lift (elevator, for my American readers). By the time I hit the street, it was 10:35AM. Late! Fortunately, the address was very close to the Tube station. As all the doors were locked, I reached for my mobile and dialed the production person I had been told to contact. Just as I tred to dial him, my phone rang. It was my voice mail. While I was on the Tube, another production company was calling me to do a quick shoot later in the afternoon. I jotted down the number to call them back later and tried again to dial the person I wanted for THIS shoot. He answered and said he would come let me in. You can usually buy a few minutes by claiming you had difficulty finding a place, so long as you haven't been there before. He seemed totally not bothered and led me inside to sit with another actor and an actress there for another segment for the same series. I had paperwork to fill out and there were snacks, and water. Then hurry up and wait. It ended up being over an hour before they were ready to shoot my scene, so the few minutes late I was hadn't mattered at all.
The director ended up not even looking at the other clothes I had brought with me, going with the suit I had on. I offered him my ties to chose from. He didn't like the South Park one, because it had some green in it and we were shooting against a green screen. He ended up picking the exact same one I had selected for my audition. I ended up dressed in exactly the same outfit I had auditioned in except different shoes. I could have left the suitcase home and just brought the ties in my small hold all. The shoot went well. I was asked to ad-lib a bit and the crew seemed to like most of what I came up with, bar one line. They would resolve it all in editing. I was finished by 12:30PM and on my own time. Our next day of filming was tentatively scheduled for mid August.
Out on the street I immediately turned my mobile back on, as I had switched it off while on location. I dialed the number the second production company person had left on my voice mail. When she answered, she seemed pleased to hear from me. In her message, she said my email to them had been overlooked, but they wanted me if I could come down for a brief video taping and still photo shoot. I offered to come right away, which seemed to please her. I got directions and set off. The morning shoot had paid £100 plus travel expenses. This little afternoon gig was only paying £10 for what was supposed to be 20 minutes work. As I had my traveexpensesealreadyyd covered, it cost me nothing to get there and as I am desperate for money, I reasoned I might as well pick up the £10, as I had nothing else to do anyway, that day. £10 is like a week's shopping the way I have been eating. At the next location, there were more snacks...crisps and chocolate bars, plus drinks. I had two packets of Walkers Lite crisps (potato chips for my American readers), threereee chocolate bars. Well, the chocolate bars were tiny, miniature ones, sdidn'tidnt have as much as it sounded. Two Cadbury's Dairy Milks, and a Crunch. They were only paying me £10, so this was my lunch.
After that shoot, I decided to go to the Natural History Museum, to kill time and further utilize my paid for Travelcard. I had liveSouthernuthen England for eight years and never visited the Natural History Museum before. I thought I had applied for another shoot the day before and wanted to give them time to contact me, although I couldn't remember who it was for. I figured if I hung around town till past 6PM and hadn't heard by then, I could head home to Bracknell. Back on the Tube, there were two people sitting across from ,me, one male and one female. The female was gorgeous. She was either Indian or Pakistani, I couldn't tell which and the guy next to her looked like a husband or boyfriend. I wish someone would teach me how to tell the difference between Indian and Pakistani women. If they are wearing traditional clothing, I might be able to, but she wore conventional, Western clothes and wore them well. Light beige trousers, with a matching jacket folded over her arms, that set of her light brown skin. Her face was small and round, with dark eyes, a small, delicate version southwesttwest Asian nose, and long, dark, straight hair, tied back, with no finrge (bangs in Americanese). Usually, I don't like it when women have their hair pulled back tightly from their foreheads, but she had a small forehead, so it worked fine for her. She had a tiny piece of jewelrywlery stuck in the skin covering her left side of her nose and one leg crossed over the other, the upper leg's foot shaking leisurely, from side to side, clad in delicate wsandalsndles. Her feel looked lovely, with painted toenails.
The guy I presumed to be her husband/boyfriend looked slovenly, in comparison. I wondered how he had landed her. He shot me a hostile lPerhapsrhpas he had noticed me looking the woman up and down, from head to toe. I feigned indifference an looked to the right, changing my focus to an ugly, butch looking woman to the left of the gorgeous woman in beige. Then the Tube stopped at a station and slovenly got up and left the train. They weren't together! I made eye contact with the woman in beige and gave her the slightest smile. I might have detected the minimalist softening of her expression in response. Did she havesuspicionscion how beautiful I thought she was? After another couple of stops, the Asian princess got up and exited the train. There was a hint of VPL, so she wasn't wearing a thong. I am not that fond of thongs on women, so this didn't bother me in the slightest. This whole encounter reminded me of that James Blunt song, "You're Beautiful," or whatever it's called. Hey, for all I know, that could have been Habiba. Nah, Habiba rides in a hearse. She wouldn't be on the Tube.


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