sometimes failure is a relief.

I was on hold all weekend to shoot a national commercial.

A really, really bad commercial for an unnamed fast food seafood chain.

In this commercial, there are two women. One is extolling the virtues of the fast food chain's Super Family Deal to the other, with the emphasis on fried things included in meal.  Stupid but straightforward.

So I get paired up with another actress, a talented smart gal and friend of many years. We go in together.

Director:  Okay, I want you to get REALLY excited about this, especially the [fried things].  I've been telling ladies all day: it's like you're really excited, because there's a really great shoe sale! It's that exciting.

Me and Other Capable Actress Friend: (...shoes?)  oh, okay. Sure. 

We do the scene. We get really excited about the fried things.  REALLY excited.

Director: Good. But, I mean, you're telling her: Hey! They have these really GREAT shoes!  Or... you know, something you'd get really excited about. (he thinks for a moment) Like purses or something.  Great purses over here! Don't buy this purse, there are these BETTER purses and these are Prada! or whatever.

Me and Other Capable Actress Friend: More enthusiasm, no problem. Got it.

We do the scene again, this time reaching what I find to be a pretty ridiculous, borderline satirical level of joy at the prospect of getting a good deal on fried things.

Director: Okay. Better.  But you really want to tell her - hey!  Don't get these shoes!  There are these really great shoes you should know about!  Or the purses, think about purses!  Or... or... I don't know, great clothes, or like, makeup---

Me: or, say, LEGAL JOURNALS.

Female casting director: (involuntary snort of laughter)

(Director stares at me, baffled. Because 'legal journals' wasn't really the best comeback, FINE, but I at least made my point and I was kind of over having my intelligence insulted by a man hawking FRIED CRISPYNIBBLETBARNACLES)

Director: ...uh. yeah.

(a beat)

Director: oh you mean like those little moleskin journals. Oh, okay, yeah.

(I did not make my point.)

We do the scene again, calling to mind a world where no one has fried anything for seven years and the long wait is over, to be celebrated with days of feasting, games and possibly a large effigy of fried nibblet barnacles, which we will all eat and then smear each other with the oil thereof.

THAT is how we did the scene. 
He seemed mildly satisfied.

...Later I was paired with another friend.  When it came to the line about the fried things she closed her eyes in bliss and sang the name of the fried food.  The director looooooved it.

I hope she booked it (she earned it), and I also hope that director eats a dick.  Not booking that job was one welcome failure.


Heidi said...

That is, in a word, gross. Not you, you are charming and delightful. That director is gross.

Alex said...

This is my favorite story I've heard in a long time. Nice one, Campbell!

Sarah said...

What they said.

Thanks for the laugh, and I actually think "legal journals" was a perfectly good comeback after being subjected to such profound ass-hattery.

Laurel said...

As someone who frequently thinks of hilarious comebacks about 45 minutes too late, this story made my day!