August 27th, 2020
Guitarist in a BandToday at two o'clock I was still in my pyjamas and dressing gown, having spent the entire morning playing Minecraft, perpetually getting to a good spot then dying, chasing after by lost resources and finding something new to get distracted by, thousands of blocks from my home cave in the mountains. I was spurred to get of the sofa by a video call with Eve and Dan discussing housing and finding our new place. Which reminds me, I need to go and collect the keys for Will's new place tomorrow, for his arrival on Sunday. Upstairs at half past two I checked my emails and saw a message from a one E__ P__ from ___ asking if I'd be able to send in a selctape for _____ the ___, a biopic/documentary they're making with Reelz USA about the band _____ _____. I applied a couple of days ago for a different role, but she asked to see me for ___ ___, the guitarist. My first selftape, and they need it by tomorrow. Actions stations! Quick shower, checking my American accents, which have been unused since 909 last summer. I can't do it, I told myself, bloody American, why does he have to be bloody American? Out of the shower and wrapped in a towel watching videos of ___ ___ giving interviews, performing live, doing guitar solos, can I do this? Reread the instructions sent through from ___, improvise around the following scenarios - a to-camera monologue and rocking out to a solo. My first selftape and they want me to improvise, play/mime the guitar, and all in one night. Crikey. Can I do this? American accent? Can I? I've got to. I email E___ P___, just checking do you want a New Jersey accent like the band have. Confirmation that I'm doing it, now I've really got to. Double check. New York! Why be specific about New Jersey if you're not a hundred percent sure! Doesn't matter, shows intent. She replies, there'll be no sound crew on set so doesn't matter, whatever will help the director see me best. Okay. So could drop America. Feel a bit better now. I can wear my red leather jacket and- Ryan have you got any aviator style glasses? He does. Cheers! Got to set up the room downstairs. I'm rushing, it's exciting. Shuffle the sofa over, which is easier now we've rolled up the big rug, get the lights out. Will probably film it on my phone it's just easier. Guitar! I'll borrow one of Charlies, won't ask... I'll just have to return it before he gets back in a few hours. Extension lead from the other room, phone in holder in Charlie's ring-light. What now? Cover the computer and miscellaneous electronics under the table, shuffle some things out of shot on the shelves. Why is the angle wonky? The phone holder doesn't sit perfectly at a right-angle, why not? Camera instead? Upstairs for my camera. Back down. Tripod. Back up for that. Down. The connector bit to join the two. Back up for that where is it? Down. Up. Down again. Switch the phone holder for my camera, looks terrible in anything other than full sun, play with the ISO for a bit but not worth the grain. Attach the phone holder onto my camera so I can film at 90 degrees for a vertical shot. The seemingly unending amount of fiddling that comes with putting together the most rudimentary of film sets makes me think of the credits on any major (or minor) film, the amount of time and money and simply people that it takes to put something together is quite mind-boggling. Okay I might be ready. First up, slate. Hi, I'm Benedict. Maybe I shouldn't say Hi. Hello? Nothing? I can edit it out (I left it in). Hi, I'm Benedict Esdale. I'm 6'4" - probably closer to 6'5" but 4 sounds better, the upper bands of tall human before you tip into short giant - and I'm based in North London. (for now, in a month it'll be South). Then close up front, which I guess is already done by the intro, so side, back. Look back at it. My hair looks awful from behind because I've put crap loads of stuff in it to stop it being floppy as hell. Then, move the whole setup back for the full body shots, front, side, back. Look them over, posture could be better. Reshoot. Reshoot again. It's like I've forgotten how to stand like a normal person. What do normal people do with their arms when they're standing? Now onto the hard part. Scenario 2: Miming guitar to the solos of ___ ___ playing live in 1984 at a _____ ______ concert attended by thousands of pretty crazy rock fans. The result could be described as underwhelming, I tried going for it. It didn't really work. No time to fuss though, they'll have a sense of what I'm like, then it's on them. Scenario 1 goes a lot better, improvising a sort of thank you speech, shocked and awed by the positive response from the crowd. Mix it up with the sofa, do some filler acting. Doesn't actually look too bad in the end. Then the reverse speed run of getting things back to their rightful places. Guitar to Charlie's room, sunglasses to Ryan, sofas back in their usual place, lights put away, cameras bagged, tripods folded, footage downloaded, quick edit and WeTransferred away. Not bad for an afternoon's work. Back to the sofa. Nobody would know. Text mum, just did my first selftape! Probably won't get it. Reality amongst the stars. Charlie and Ollie's arrival prompted the second get of the sofa escapade, feeding Mars, feeding myself with some delicious spicy grilled chicken and rice, splendid. And so to bed, where I, once again, spent too long watching videos on YouTube having told myself I would do some writing, and then feeling awful the next morning having ingest more than my daily quota of blue light. A list of my most common typos: slef. myslef. msyelf. yourslef. My greatest superpower is getting distracted.
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