Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

18.9.18

The casting session, part one: Copywriter crashes the set.

A casting session for a bit-part actor in a television commercial is being held at Rodney Jay Films, a converted warehouse which encompasses an open-ended film studio. The studio is used to park the crew's vehicles when shooting is not taking place. It has white walls which curve around to the floor to avoid shadows and create a seamless background during film shoots. This is known as a cyc (cyclorama) background.

Lighting cables snake around odd bits of furniture and chairs. In one corner of the cyc, a table is scattered with scripts, unwashed cups and a plate of cold, tired toasted sandwiches.

Rodney Jay is sitting at the table with a cigarette stuck in his mouth when a red sports car drives blithely into the studio through the barn door, parks too close to the cyc wall, and its rapier-like nose impales the set with a splintering crash of plywood.


PAUL (COPYWRITER WITH AGENCY BLAKE BROWNING BURNS; GETS OUT OF THE CAR AND SLAMS THE DOOR): Where did that fucking wall come from? I didn't even see it.

RODNEY JAY (SHAKES HIS HEAD SADLY AS IF IN SILENT AGREEMENT WITH MOST OF THE INDUSTRY ABOUT THE STUPIDITY OF ADVERTISING COPYWRITERS): Don't worry, Paul. It's like an optical illusion. You have to park further away from the wall than you think. We'll fix it. I'll call the carpenter. Don't worry about it.

PAUL: Just put it on the bill, Rodney.

RODNEY (SLIGHTLY SARCASTIC): Along with dinner at the Flower Drum, the five lunches we had last week and our 'location search' trip to Alice Springs. Is there actually any money left to make an ad?

PAUL: (LAUGHS): There's always money left, Rodney.

RODNEY: You wouldn't be saying that if it was your own money, Paul.

PAUL: But it's not, Rodney. And if it was, I wouldn't be using you.

RODNEY (A BLANK STARE FOR THREE SECONDS WHILE HE TRIES TO WORK OUT IF IT WAS AN INSULT OR A COMPLIMENT): Is that an insult or a compliment, Paul?

PAUL: I'm not sure myself, Rodney. Because I still haven't decided whether I like you or not. Even after five lunches.

RODNEY: Sounds like something my wife said once.

PAUL: See, that proves it.

RODNEY: Proves what?

PAUL: That you're a Jekyll and Hyde character? That your wife and I are indecisive? I don't know. And why are we having this conversation?

RODNEY: Because you drove through my fucking studio wall, that's why.

PAUL: Well if you're going to have an optical illusion for a car park it serves you right. I told you to put it on the bill.

RODNEY: And by the way, if you didn't drive such a low pointy car you could probably see out of it better.

PAUL: Are you calling me short now?

RODNEY: No, I'm calling you a wanker for driving a sports car. Nothing to do with your height.

PAUL: I like sports cars. What is it about people thinking people who drive sportscars are wankers? Or worse?

RODNEY: It's just a vague unfair generalisation that happens to be completely true in your case.

PAUL: Well, guess what, Rodney. My other car is a Volvo. Would I suddenly stop being a wanker if I drove in here in my Volvo instead? Or would you call me some other stupid name?

RODNEY: Not sure. Try it and see. Just don't drive it through the scenery. And why have you got both a sportscar and a Volvo? Why don't you split the difference and drive a Lexus?

PAUL: I had a Toyota Avalon once. That was similar. But I always wondered why they named it after an airport. Or a singer.

RODNEY: Or a Bryan Ferry song.

TO BE CONTINUED

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