Okay, I'm not an actor. I don't really claim to be one, but I do have an account on backstage.com. Nobody has ever used it to contact me for my services as a memory man (they find the strangest, most obscure ways to get in touch with me, as a rule), but it's worth it alone for the contact I got from a student film, back in February. They asked me if I'd like to audition for the part of Eugene, father of a young wizard who wants to break with family tradition and study agriculture instead.
I look like the kind of person they imagined Eugene to be, apparently. Also, I'm under five foot nine, which was a requirement for the production due to low ceilings. I suspect they contacted everybody on backstage.com who fitted the height and age range they were looking for.
I was quite delighted by the idea, and immediately got to work recording my performance of the script they sent me! Since the scene involved collecting washing from the line, I went out to Poundland and bought a washing line and pack of clothes pegs, roped in my brother (a rather better actor than me) to play the part of 16-year-old Duffy, strung the line between the bannister and bookcase at opposite ends of my living room, and got to work with some serious acting!
Firstly, here's the script, in case you think I'm interpreting it wrongly:
In the previous scene, Duffy told his parents that he wants to follow a career in agriculture instead of one in magic (which is the family tradition). Only the mother, Clementine, shows a reaction to these news (since she strongly disagrees with this decision). Eugene, on the other hand, does not like confrontation, leaving the serious talk for his wife.
Duffy eventually leaves this space, wanting to be alone. Clementine tells Eugene to go to their son and reason with him. He obeys to this order, goes to Duffy’s room to ask for his help to pick up the washing that is outside. The scene starts right after this.
EXT. COTTAGE - GARDEN - DAY
Duffy and Eugene unpeg washing from the line outside. Robes. Bed Sheets. Stuffed and dead animals. Scrolls. Etc. Duffy picks a tattered old wizard hat off the washing line.
EUGENEI -- I hope you know what's coming your way. Oh, boy.
DUFFYPermanent groundings. Overloaded with chores.
EUGENEPermanent groundings. Overloaded with chor -- See, yes, exactly.
DUFFYI thought we were only meant to hand wash all of the old clothing?
EUGENEEarly bedtimes. No pocket money.
DUFFYThe stitching had already started to tear. Now, look at it.
EUGENEI get it -- you -- how it doesn't seem a big deal right now...
DUFFYIt's too delicate for our janky old machine. That's the problem.
EUGENEBut, being apart of a community like ours, your uncles, aunties, cousins. You're meant to be the one setting an example for, for -- forget about the washing!
DUFFYIf you make sure to spot treat it, then maybe you can salvage another couple years -- in a clean-esque and hygienic-esque way.
EUGENEHow the ones with it in their blood are the only ones who can truly excel. Duffy, did you hear what I said?
Duffy wiggles his finger through a hole in the hat.
DUFFYColour faded. That smell! And all these holes, like a rat chewed right through –
He snatches it from out of Duffy's hand. Tosses it in the laundry basket.
EUGENEWhat you have is a birthright, passed down by generations. You have magic--
DUFFYRunning through your veins.
EUGENEJust, freeze! Please. To be a wizard it's like...
DUFFYAm I supposed to stay frozen while you search for a metaphor?
DUFFYDad, no! I'm not -- I can't turn back now. Look, I'll always have my wand. To walk away from this. That isn't what this is.
EUGENEIf you don't go down a certain path... not something you can come back from... you won't... this family... old fashioned... without doing exactly what they want, they might turn their back on you.
Silence. Rain starts to fall.
Duffy grabs the laundry basket and dashes in. Eugene whips the bed sheet off the washing line and lifts it over his head as he runs in. Eugene trips as the bedsheet drops down over his eyes, blocking his vision.
And here's the video! This was my favourite take, mainly because of a minor mishap at the end...
I really thought the bookcase was solid enough that that couldn't happen, even if I got the sheet tangled up. Here's a take without all the damage...
The students picked someone else for the part. I thought the finished work would have been posted online by now, they must have finished for the summer and gone onto whatever film students do after they graduate, but it doesn't seem to be. I think we've given more than enough spoiler space to stop my audition tapes ruining the story for any potential viewers, so here you go! Admire my performance skills!