[L to R: Chloe, Bee, me and Josh]
I popped into the offices of Agency 888 on Mary Street in Brisbane. Chloe was on the phone talking to talents. Luckily Bee, the manager, was between interviews. Later, voice over technician Josh stepped out of the recording studio to have a chat.
I love these guys. Led by Managing Director Gary Hopes, Agency 888 is headquartered in Brisbane with affiliate offices on the Sunshine Coast.
888 put me on their books when I first arrived in Australia. They sent me to do television commercials (Instant Scratch-Its, Queensland Health, KM Smith), photoshoots (Treasury Casino, different Queensland government agencies), extra work (San Andreas) and several role-playing jobs for Queensland Law Society and Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy.
One of my favourite early jobs was being a hand model for a KM Smith tv commercial. They paid me to get a manicure, and I got to rock up to a swanky film location on the Brisbane river and say, “Hi guys, I’m The Hands!”
But seriously, the first thing you notice when you arrive at a set is the cost. It is expensive to make a tv commercial.
From first light, people are directing, assistant directing, casting, doing wardrobe, make-up, filming (using heavy cameras rolling around on pulleys, with weights for leverage). Account managers liaise with the client, people set up the lights, fix the props, hold the clapperboard, get coffee, and that’s just what I see while I’m there.
What do I take away from that? Concentrate, listen and try to understand quickly what they want to achieve. Time means money, and being efficient means more chances of getting called back.
Someone once asked me, “Do you ever get the giggles when they ask you to act? After all, it’s not something you usually do.”
Nope. It’s great work. When I do it, I take it seriously.
888 sent me to so many places, each job was a mini-adventure. Two years ago I did a casting at Warner Brothers on the Gold Coast. A few days later I was driving in the middle of the night to be somewhere at 4.30am, playing a doctor in evacuation scenes for the San Andreas movie. On some long, dark road, I suddenly saw fields covered in massive, brightly-lit marquees. Men holding torches waved me over to where I needed to park.
On the set, San Francisco cops, firemen and paramedics were walking around, along with hundreds of civilians looking dishevelled, bloodied and covered in dust. A California earthquake was happening on the Gold Coast! And yes, I did see The Rock, but only from a distance.
I did a lovely job recently but can’t name it until it runs next year. It was at the studios of photographer Jesse Smith. It’s a spacious, uncluttered, split-level building in Albion with high, whitewashed besser block walls and nice equipment. A fabulous, creative space!
The make-up (Sharon), hair (Tania) and wardrobe (Julie) gurus really sorted me out. I’ll post later with the end of that story.
(Here’s that post: Advertising campaign for biofuels in Queensland)
Thank you Agency 888 for another great job. Have a wonderful break and I’ll see you soon 🙂