I’ve always loved acting.
At school, Drama was one of my favourite lessons and I followed it all the way up to A-Level. Whilst it’s never been a career choice for me, the fun and camaraderie is something I still love being a part of. When I first saw a tweet from one of my favourite YouTube content creators TomSka, who was looking for extras for his next sketch, it’s safe to say my interest was piqued.
So alright, I’ll concede it’s not an experience likely to earn me an Oscar nomination for my portrayal of “man at bar,” but then YouTube as a community doesn’t bother itself with mainstream acceptance despite how huge it has become.
It has its own awards, its own heroes and its own moral compass (as I wrote this I just pictured the Vlogbrothers so there’s that). This doesn’t stop the process being any less professional, though. The advert may have been done over that 140 character limited fiend Twitter, but once I had expressed an interest I got a pre-prepared info-package with time, location, and how to get there. I was also told that whether I was used or not, the shoot was going to go ahead with near military precision.
You might be wondering what the video I’m hopefully appearing in is about. Well, I can tell you only this: I love it.
Before I go too far, you (the reader) might be wondering what the video I’m hopefully appearing in is about. Well, I can tell you only this: I love it. Side note – I’m holding onto this in an attempt to keep people reading. If you’re still reading, I’m doing alright.
On arrival at the shoot location, a pub in south-west London, I’m greeted by Krystal, the producer and my first point of contact.
Tom is already there helping Ciaran O’Brien (in charge of filming countless YouTubers) set up the camera and make sure everything is right in the location. The main technical difficulty is over timing. The sketch takes place at night and since the pub would be absolutely crammed full of regulars once it opens at 11 we’re actually shooting at about nine in the morning. The fact that all the shots will look like they were captured in daytime is discussed but it doesn’t hold things back as Krystal reminds the gang they have a schedule to stick to. This isn’t the only filming they will get done today.
Tom greets everyone as they come in and, being YouTube obsessives, we’re all relatively shy to begin with.
I recognise a few faces from other videos too, which briefly throws me. I don’t get all that star struck with your run-of-the-mill celebs but as many Vloggers have talked about, you have a weird relationship with the people you let into your room via your laptop screen.
All this leads to a strange atmosphere at first, but we all make some bad jokes and one or two people laugh and suddenly it’s time to film. The first shot sees Mrs Johnson (I love it!), the horse-human hybrid featured at the end of a few TomSka sketches, standing at the bar being approached by Dan (Daniel J Layton). In the background, extras were needed. My moment had arrived.
In the background, extras were needed. My moment had arrived.
It’s likely to be a fairly brief and soft focus moment, I’m told, but the best was yet to come. Beer had to be grabbed elsewhere and brought to the pub since its licensing laws meant we were drink-less, but in all honesty we all found ten in the morning a little too early to start drinking.
Even the smell of booze at that time was extremely off putting, but I was doing my best to be cool and professional. I waited for the camera to roll, looked left and looked right (improvised, just saying – available for future shoots), and suddenly.. pineapples. No, suddenly it was over, and on to the next scene which, as I had figuratively blown my load by volunteering for the first, I couldn’t be in.
Without giving too much of the plot away, a scene in a toilet cubicle and a dance sequence (Yes, I ‘danced’ apparently) followed and just as quickly as my career as a comedy sketch extra had started, it was over.
Tom went from being Mrs Johnson back to being Tom again, which was a far less revealing outfit for him and much easier to stare at without worrying where to look. We then had about an hour before the team had to move on to another filming location, so we sat and chatted and, despite the hero worship YouTube celebs are subject to, everyone was down to earth and lovely. On that note, I’d like to thank everyone who was there for being so welcoming to me (as they were to everyone) and I hope that the good atmosphere comes across in the final video.
This whole experience made me wonder if I’ll get another chance to do something like this and one day, if I don’t push my luck, maybe I’ll even have some lines.