Kissing a stranger: my first day on a film set
This year I did something I have never done before. I auditioned for a part in a feature film. The casting people asked me to make a self-tape monologue audition video, which I filmed on my phone on a cold Sunday in June, hit send and hoped for the best. I didn’t get the part I auditioned for but was asked to be an extra in a pivotal scene. A fantasy scene.
So today, I showed up at Roseville Cinema, a classic suburban old school cinema and shot a scene on a closed set. I went to high school less than a kilometre away. When I was twelve, I sat in the back row of this very cinema and had my first kiss with a boy named Daniel. Can’t remember his surname but he was very sweet.
Shortly after I arrived on location, the director and a producer approached me to say they’d like me to be a featured extra. The brief was that I would be part of a couple, making out on a first date at the movies.
‘Oh! So who’s my co-star?’ I asked.
‘You can choose,’ said the producer, gesturing to a room full of extras.
Oh my. This was much worse than choosing your handball team in primary school. I spent the next hour rubbernecking the room, sussing out the talent, so to speak, but I couldn’t see Hugh Jackman anywhere. The extras were such a diverse bunch but no stand-out kissers that I could see.
Eventually, we were all called onto the set and we filed into the cinema.
‘OK, you two!’ called the director, pointing to me and the guy who just happened to be standing next to me. Looks like I had chosen my co-star without knowing it. We shuffled forward.
I went on to play this role in a movie scene and I have never laughed so hard. Paul is a young, up-and-coming actor who lives out west. He showed me some of his previous acting work on his phone – a scene in Rake and a police punch-up re-enactment on A Current Affair. He has more experience than I have so Paul was the perfect first-time on-screen kiss for this rookie.
The couple before us shot a full-on proper nude scene. A tall black dude and a voluptuous tattooed woman with long black hair and dark lips had free reign to make out and get naked. It was super-hot, said the sound guy.
We were called next.
Paul and I sat in the front row of the cinema and I decided to take control of this situation.
‘So, Mister Director,’ I said. ‘You said that this scene would be a collaboration between you and us.’
‘Uh huh,’ he said.
‘Paul and I have had a chat and we think this should be a fully dressed fun pash, rather than anything that resembles a porno. Are you good with that?’
‘OK, let’s rehearse and see what you’ve got,’ he said.
So Paul from out west sat down next to me and while the crew fiddle-faddled with gear and other extras took their seats, he cracked jokes.
‘I want one of those modesty covers for my manhood,’ he said as he stretched out his arm across the back of my seat, just the way Daniel did back in 1985. Paul showed me pictures of his girlfriend and I showed him photos of my partner.
‘Hot!’ we both said, about the other’s love interest.
We talked about movies. ‘The next 007 actor is going to be black!’ said Paul.
‘When they asked Angelina Jolie to be a Bond Girl, she said “no thanks, but I’ll play Bond,”’ I said and we both laughed.
Then everything went quiet, and someone shouted ‘ALL QUIET ON SET!’
This was it. My heart pounded and I started to giggle. This acting caper is funny and weird but all very professional at the same time.
I had planned to put my make up on in the car but I sailed through green lights the whole way to the set so I had no time and not one scrap of makeup on when the camera rolled in a dimly lit cinema. That’s good because I look great in the dark. This was my first movie and I looked like one of those go-bare no make-up campaigns. #hoorah
‘Rolling!’ said someone. Thinking this meant we had to start our scene, I kind of dived into Paul, the guy I met about an hour ago and kissed his neck. I had given him one of my toothpaste chewy tablets which blow your head off but sharpen your breath. I started kissing Paul long before the director had said ‘ACTION!’ Shocker. At least he had minty breath.
The whole scene was done and dusted in three goes: one rehearsal and two takes. I didn’t think about the cameras or the lights and the crew. I had my eyes shut a lot of the time. It was just me and Paul having a smooch at the movies and giggling at each other. Would have been ace if he had shaved.
On the second take, Paul gently whispered to me, ‘Wait for them to say action.’
So I waited. I giggled and smiled the whole way through the scene just as we had planned. All giggles and no porn.
The second take went on and on so we had to get creative. There was an armrest between us so I wound up kneeling on the floor before Paul which gave him far too much power on this first date for my liking, so I grabbed him by the shirt front and dragged him onto the floor.
Not your average Wednesday morning.
‘And CUT!’ shouted someone and everyone clapped.
Bloodshot Heart will be released in 2019. #bloodshotheart
Lucy Bloom’s next book Get the Girls Out, which may or may not include this episode in her life, will be out in April 2019 (HarperCollins).
When she’s not auditioning for feature films, Lucy is an international keynote speaker, author and consultant.