DJ Shadow Nobody Speak
Talking of links, I thought I’d improve my chances of getting my murder mystery videos up the ranking by linking to a video I did (or rather, was a part of) FOUR YEARS AGO.
I mention it here because it has the sort of viewing figures I’d like to get (I’m still a bit short). This has heading on for 40million views (and people are still commenting on it, although that maybe because Killer Mike is very much in the news at the moment, quite rightly speaking for the Black Lives Matter cause).
It ‘stars’ (that’s how we’re billed in the credits) myself and Igor Tsyshkeych (although the name on his emails to me is Ihor Ciszkewycz – and he told me it is pronounced Ee-hor, like a donkey. He didn’t teach me how to pronounce his surname(s). Perhaps, like me, he has a real name and a stage name).
Out of the blue
I got the job completely out of the blue (I’d pretty much given up on the job of acting yet maintain an agent. He calls me sometimes, but only in the summer when most actors are on holiday).
I was on my way to Bloomsbury when I got the call.
In fact, I was on my way to an audition for a TV advert (Costa Coffee). They wanted a guitarist to do a ‘mash-up’ whilst serving coffee. I had no idea what a mash-up was (and I still picture a chef in the uniform of a cheap restaurant). I told my agent I can’t play guitar.
He said he’d not fully read the brief. ‘Can you play at all?’ he asked. ‘And do you have one?’
I said I could play three chords (he said plenty of bands had made it big with three chords). I said I needed a good 40 seconds or so BETWEEN those chords and only then if my tongue is hanging out and I push through the pain barrier on my fingers. I told him I had a guitar in my loft and he said I should get it down and practice. Having spoken to the casting agent, he assured me I ‘Didn’t need to play guitar’ for the ad.
So when I got a call from his assistant about a ‘Music audition’, I told them I was on my way. ‘No’, they said, ‘That’s the guitar mash-up ad. This is for a rap video. You need to be in West London tomorrow.’
Tomorrow was Thursday.
I got to the mash-up ad to find a load of long haired, some fat, some skinny, guitar freaks hanging out. They each had a case with gorgeous electric guitars which, they boasted, had travelled with them ‘all over the world’.
I waited an hour, during which I learned what a mash-up was and that it involved far more than three chords.
Four of us were called in at the same time. Three had electric guitars, one didn’t.
I told the casting director I couldn’t play the guitar. One of the others said he could teach me. I explained my agent had said I don’t need to play the guitar.
‘You don’t need to play the guitar,’ she said. ‘But you DO need to play the electric guitar.’
She agreed I should go first and that I could mime. ‘You never know, you may be just what the director is looking for.’
So I had to MIME playing an electric guitar to the sound of a mash-up IN FRONT of the rest of the band.
I didn’t get the job.
The audition for the rap video, on the other hand, went really well.
I had to learn the opening verse of a rap lyric. It was fast and furious. I just about got there (they didn’t send it to me until midnight) and the two young casting directors gave positive vibes. They asked the usual; ‘Do I have a passport and am I free to travel on Saturday?’
‘Yes.’ They told me I would probably hear if I’ve got the job tomorrow and, if so, a car would come for me at 5am on Saturday morning.
The director and producer were already in Kiev. The crew had been booked, the location was booked. They had rather left the actors to the last minute.
I did get the job and a car did come for me. I spent three frantic days trying to learn my lines in Kiev and then, come the Wednesday, we shot it. We had to be on set for 7am and I didn’t finish until 2am the following morning.
I had no idea exactly what was expected. They told me I needn’t worry about the first verse as Igor was doing that. I had to learn the second verse and the remainder of the song.
They spent TWO HOURS shooting Igor’s first verse. Then the camera was turned on me.