Posted by: Paul | February 6, 2010

What I’m Not Going To Do Today

I’m not going to post a photo today.

I’ve had second thoughts, and I’m actually quite glad I sat on this for a few days. I have a list labelled “Blog Topics” (which sits alongside my lists of everything else in my life, I am an inveterate list-maker). This particular subject has been on it since Tuesday, and it’s given me the chance to change my mind about it.

But the fact that I’m not going to post the photo in question does not stop me from describing it or talking about the circumstances in which I received it. It’s actually a “headshot” – actor’s publicity photo – and it’s the worst example I have ever seen. I laughed like a drain when I received it the first time, and again when I came across it on Tuesday. As such I thought it might also raise a smile for anyone reading this.

In my third year of University I embarked on an ambitious major project – the adaptation of Bridget Jones’s Diary into a half hour radio play. I advertised the production in PCR (Production & Casting Report), looking specifically for Bridget and Mark as they were the two most important roles and I wanted professionals from London, rather than students or local actors. I was obviously inundated with CVs, especially for Bridget (and headshots even though it was for radio – I would have preferred tapes). I had a great time leafing through all these, mostly jobbing stage actors with the occasional bit part in Casualty, The Bill or London’s Burning. One chap had the holy trinity of all three!

Last week I went through boxes of material from Uni and came across a padded envelope in which I had kept all of these. I thought it might be an interesting excercise to skim through them again, to see if any of them had since “made it”! Thankfully for my casting instincts none has since become a household name.

So when I came across the CV and headshot for one particular young lady again, I had the same reaction and thought about posting the photo immediately. After all, it was so terrible I vainly thought it might become an “internet sensation”. Let’s call her “Nadia”.

Nadia looks – I kid you not – like Bernard Bresslaw in drag. Her headshot makes her look grumpy and frumpy in equal measure. It’s not that she’s unnatractive per se, what made me laugh more was the thought that she thought this dreadful photo of her was the best advert she could come up with. Poor thing.

But these are unkind thoughts, and it’s this which made me change my mind about posting the photo. I was about to do it yesterday, and something made me hold back. I IMDB’d her, and indeed Nadia is still a jobbing actress, under what must be her married name, with bit parts in movies and recent TV series. She is so clearly still trying to make it, that I thought “who am I to make judgements about people?” I don’t think she’s had enough work to go into it full time – she must have a day job – but she’s following her dream, against the odds (see headshot). She’s out there, doing what she loves. I think that is greatly to be admired – especially at the moment. After all, isn’t that what I’m trying to do?

Staring at her IMDB page I felt like a total heel, and rather glad that I didn’t post her photo. It was one of those “how would you like it?” situations and I’m glad not to have perpetuated that kind of feeling in the world. Good luck, Nadia – keep on trying. Knowing what I know about your determination, I’d hire you if I was in the position to do so again.


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