Supporting Artiste


9th December 2015

Method Acting and Emaciated

Today I started on a new WWII drama and it went off to a shall we say “interesting” start. Firstly I had been to a wrap party the night before and may or may not have had a few whiskeys. I had to be on this beachside resort in England for 5am which creates enough fatigue on the best of times, let alone somewhat hanging. From there, everything started to go down hill.

When I’d done the costume fit prior, I casually mentioned the implementation for thermals to which I was scolded:

Absolutely NO thermals! Costumes are worn so have to skin bare for holes in them.”

A fair and valid point. Also considering my costume consisted of multiple warm layers I was quite happy with the fact that I wouldn’t need thermals. So you can imagine my frustration when I arrived in the fitting room to be told:

There’s been some costume adjustments, have you brought thermals with you?

Annoyed was not the word.

I was too tired to argue and obliged. Only being given my trousers, boots, and under shirt from my costume. Looking longingly at the long, thick trench coat still on the rails. The next kicker we were told we’d missed breakfast due to the costume/make up process and swiftly whisked to set in the sardine tin of a transport van.

Our set for the day was literally a beach where we simply marched up it. Being told that we’re tired, beaten and emaciated was frankly laughable as we were literally method acting at this point. Especially as we’d all had very little protection from the November sea breeze slowly freezing my extremities I was also feeling very fragile at this point and frankly just wanted to find a quiet hole to curl up and die in. The costume girls had redeemed their name greatly and were promptly on hand to dish out fluffy blankets after every take which was very much appreciated.

Lunch was called to a sigh of relief and we were told it was a working lunch. So, get food in a tray, eat up and get back on as soon as you can. SImple right? NOPE! Whilst the front of the queue was arms-reach away we were rushed back on sprouting rants about cloud coverage and the such and food was promised to be delivered down. Again, fair enough.

So after a few more takes a van pulled up with our lunch. With 7 portions of the fish option. For 20 people. And only plastic knifes. My friend JJ managed to get a knife into a carrot in a crude stabbing fashion up to his lips before we were, yet again, told to leave them in the van and rushed back onto set.

Yet again, a few more takes with fatigue and annoyance at the bad attitude of the 3rd AD and runner. Especially when the van drove off with what little food we’d been offered. I considered myself quite lucky being rough as hell as I don’t think I could quite stomach food right at that point. But still sheer lack of manners of the crew were grinding on me, and the rest of my peers more so, despite our protests.

The only bit of reassurance that we were seen as human beings is the shocked response by the 1st AD when he heard that we hadn’t been fed all day to which he profusely apologized and promised he’d get us fed from a nearby shop. Which didn’t happen but it was nice for him to show some compassion.

Luckily we finished by 3pm as the days were getting dark and we were more than happy to get into some clothes with sleeves. We’ve got a few more dates booked in for this production and I hope to whatever deity maybe up there that today was not a premonition of things to come.

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