It was actually a little embarrassing arriving at security and announcing “our daughter’s here to make a TV ad“. I said it a bit apologetically I suppose, not because I’m not proud of her of course, but for fear of being judged. And we’re not pushy parents, really we’re not. Plus we’d kept her off school on her first day back and I was half expecting that lunatic Blunkett to send a SWAT team after us.
Suitably tagged with our electronic passes, we boarded the ferry and were shown to the club class lounge which had been reserved for the production crew. We were then introduced to the Director, Andy, who took the trouble to shake all our hands, and then to the other actors who would be Alice’s parents for the day. Her mother was beautiful, tall, dark haired and tanned, just like her real mother, obviously. Well, except for the dark hair. Her father was the spitting-image of Daniel Day Lewis. I started to feel inferior.
Next we met Kris, make up lady to the stars (Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Busted, East Enders, Emmerdale…..), who sat Alice down and did her thing. I discovered that she came from Luton too so we chatted about parents, districts, schools and EasyJet, as you do.
Just then, Shona the producer dashed in. “Tony, do you want a part since you’re here? We need a shadow for the background in the scene we’re shooting in the bar“. “Yeah, why not” I replied. “Count me in“. Just replace me as a father with a bloody sex-symbol model and use me as a shadow. That’s cool. I signed a release form (yes, you even have to give them the rights to use your shadow) and off I went to join the action in the aft saloon bar. No make up needed of course.
I don’t think I ever realised just how tedious it is being a film extra.
Director: “Very good everybody, can we just do that once again. Shadow, I’ll shout ‘One and Action’, you move on ‘One’ this time. Lachlan, you’re on your honeymoon, look into her eyes, the atmosphere is charged with sexual tension“.
Lachlan: “But this seat’s too low, I’m looking up at her“.
Director: “Christ, get Lachlan a cushion somebody“.
Over and over. Must have been ten takes. I have to hand it to him, keeping the sexual tension going that long.
Next scene was in the ferry cabins where Alice had to play the big sister to wee Jake. This part of the shoot was nothing short of a miracle. I mean, have you seen the size of those ferry cabins? They had to accommodate a fully grown actress, two child stars, 2 lights, a super 16mm camera on a giant tripod, a focus puller, the grip and the clapper loader. Oh, and a teddy bear. Whatever happened to “never work with children and animals“. Especially when trying to film in a cupboard. But, they did it, in only five takes.
Later, Danielle (of Leith TV and Leith FM) arrived and was introduced to Ben, her boyfriend for the afternoon. They had to shoot a scene in a lift first. I sang “Love in an elevator, Lovin’ it up when I’m goin’ down” but I don’t think Danielle had ever heard of Aerosmith. From there they moved into the cinema for a scene but it was filmed behind closed doors. Guess we’ll have to wait to see the ad for that bit.
Before we knew it, a quarter to five had arrived, so we grabbed our things, said our goodbyes and jumped ship just before it left for The Shetlands. As we wandered down the walkway from the ship, Alice suddenly stopped. “Dad, Dad! We didn’t get the money!” I explained to her what an invoice is.