I’m 50 years old and live in Ilford, in Essex. I worked as a sales representative for around 30 years, and I’m now semi-retired.
I’ve worked as a film and TV extra for the last two years. Drama has always been my first love, and I’ve acted in many amateur dramatic and operatic productions. Nowadays, though, I can’t commit myself fully to rehearsals when I might get an assignment at short notice.
Extras work is a step up from amateur drama, and a step on the way to professional acting. I’m registered with five different casting agencies, and normally get around one job a week. The largest agency, Ray Knight, has got me jobs on Holby City and some other TV series.
I’ve been told that I’m quite a good-looking bloke, and I do get a lot of attention from women, so I thought I might be able to turn that to my advantage – perhaps modelling in Saga magazine!
I only registered with Models Direct, not any other agency. Most of the others charge a lot of money up front, and you either have to provide them with book of photos or pay to have one done.
I think one has to expect it, really.
I waited around nine months. Until my first assignment came through, I’d been feeling a little bit despondent and wondering whether I should renew my membership after a year. Then this job came along like a bolt out of the blue, and now I’m hoping to find more work.
It was a corporate event held in Lisbon, Portugal, for a pharmaceutical company launching a new product to 800 medical professionals.
My assignment took place on the last day of the three-day event. I had to deliver a monologue and then play the role of a nervous patient talking to a GP, who was played by a real doctor. We acted out two scenarios, demonstrating the right and wrong ways to approach patient interviews. It was a light-hearted interlude for the delegates, who’d sat through a lot of heavy lectures.
Learning the lines was a big responsibility, and the most daunting thing about the assignment. I’m used to working with a camera, where you can correct your slip-ups. You feel responsible to the client, and you know that a mistake could ruin the presentation.
On the day, I did make a small mistake in the monologue, but I managed to cover it up. Once we got on to the role-play, everything was fine.
The clients were lovely, always encouraging and reassuring me and making me feel really welcome. The accommodation and travel was perfect – even though there was an hour’s delay on the return flight, there was a chauffeured car waiting to take me home when I arrived, which was really excellent.
Definitely go for it! I was feeling despondent about the fact I hadn’t had any work, and suddenly I had this assignment, which was the best job I’ve ever had with anyone.
You’ve got to stick with Models Direct. There’s someone out there looking for you – it just takes a little bit of time. You never know what’s around the corner!