Friday, 28 September 2012

Can't they see I'm just right for Romeo?

Another commercial audition today. I was “Wizened old man in petrol station.” I wizened about as best I could while refraining from whizzing. These days I sometimes feel my entire acting range is shuffling before the camera, sniffling, grunting and scratching my head.

This is what old men are supposed to do, you see. I’ve been up for “Weatherbeaten old boy”, “Grizzled old storekeeper”, “Eccentric bushy-eyebrowed old guy”, “Wispy-haired old professor”. I can be eccentric, I can feel that weather on my face, I can really capture the essence of bushy-eyebrowedness. Inside. Yep. I can stoop. I can shuffle. I can even snuffle. My tut-tutting has won awards. Except it’s not what I am.

Up to about four years ago I was still doing quirky dads, neurotic vicars and mad academics. There was variety. I was once up for a “loveable and knowledgeable Cheese Judge”. I’m not sure how loveable I am, I don’t know that much, but I am a great judge of cheese. As Stanislavsky said, “It’s all to do with Truth, especially when it comes to Camembert.”

The trouble is all these commercials are written by guys about 32 years old. Faced with anyone over 50 their eyes glaze over and all they see is a blurry mass of wrinkles and a stoop. I don’t live in a Home (Mrs K might disagree), I don’t wave my stick at teenagers and I don’t mutter to myself (except when “Downton Abbey” is on).

You see, the real me is a fresh-faced, boyish, nubile young Adonis. It’s just a matter of persuading these casting directors….


  1. This is a very interest post, especially the bushy eyebrows - inside.
    I agree. I find many new casting directors of today have no clue how to manage an audition process. They don't have the interpersonal skills and sensitivity to bring an actor to give their best at an audition. They haven't an eye for who's good for a role. They know little about acting skills. They will simply sit on a chair and say: "Hi. Slate. Act. Stop. We'll let you know.", 'thank you' and 'bye' are never included.
    I totally understand your point here.

  2. Thanks, Jay. One of the tricky things about being an actor is the disconnect between how you see yourself and how others do. Especially in commercials & a lot of film work, it's the immediate impression you make. Old = grey hair & wrinkles, middle-aged mum = woolly cardigan and sensible shoes. I guess we have to live with it to carry on working! Have as much fun as you can....