I have decided to own a trailer.
It is not a luxury and no, I’m not being an idealistic so and so; I am not feeling like a diva and I’m not posing either – even though posing will be a byproduct of this acquisition.
Non-actors, imagine this scenario… You’re on set at 7:45am for an 8am call time. Normal.
You live in Iju and location is Ibeju Lekki, so you have to wake up at 4:30am in order to beat the traffic on Third Mainland Bridge. Normal. (Isn’t this Lasgidi, the land of big dreams?).
You’ve been in costume and makeup, but at 11:50am you are yet to shoot a thing because the generator is acting up and they have gone to hire another. Now that you’re all ready, one “Irreh” (Noun for Irresponsible human) has snuck away to “quickly go to the bank nearby” in Ajah and he/she hasn’t returned.
So the director shoots other scenes.
At 2pm you’re still waiting around because the lead actor, an A-lister, has to be in Abuja tomorrow, so “they want to wrap up his/her scenes ‘quickly’” – but we all know there is no such thing as quickly in film. It takes as long as it takes.
At 3.55pm you ask the Production Manager if you can go home, since you’re not shooting anymore (you wish!) and you want to beat the Mainland traffic, but he/she asks you to hold on because you have one scene with the Lead in this location. “Let’s just finish up the scene so Lead can go, then we will just focus on you”, he says. There is already a sense that you won’t go home tonight. You are sticky, sweaty and you STILL haven’t worked.
All this time, (7:45am to 4:30pm), you have been sitting around in Mother Nature’s armpit, with creepy crawlies all over the place and nowhere to rest while you wait. You have not shot ‘Jack’! You are tired, sleepy and there’s a nagging headache from lack of sleep (or even [proper] food).
Finally, at 4:30pm they hurry you up, the AD bellowing, “We’re losing daylight”. You are tired, thirsty, hungry and there’s a nagging headache on your left temple from lack of sleep but the show must go on.
You get on set and give your best, but your mood was messed up and you’re hard on yourself. Deep down, you blame all the things that fought your concentration and complain, “in Hollywood, they have trailers!”
Imagine you arrived in your own air-conditioned trailer, with a little bed and a fridge containing your favourite things. You would be in a comfortable place, getting ready for your scene, waiting for whenever it was your turn.
Now, we all get the point.
Preparation for actors isn’t about the material alone.
In the absence of the fancy trailer, here are some things to take along to any location. Whether recorded or rehearsed, you want to be the performer who prepares.
- Water: It is important to stay hydrated. You never know how long you’ll be out for and what kind of producers you’ll be working with. I’ll tell you this for free; not everyone feels the same about welfare.
- Food: Same as above. If you are a picky eater, dieting or like to nibble in between meals, then pack a meal from home or stock up on little snacks, chocolate or fruit for some good old brain food. Most sets serve only swallow and rice. O, for the days of grilled steak with mashed potatoes and stir-fry vegetables. Hehe!
- Towel: A face towel will also suffice when a makeup artist attempts to dab your face with the same face towel as that sweaty person. If you’re in a stage rehearsal or performance, you’ll know when you need it.
- Pillow: Yes… Because you never know how long you’ll be away from your comfort zone. A friend of mine even travels with bed sheets if she has to sleep in a hotel.
- Mosquito Repellent: I cannot overemphasize how so very important this is. Be it in form of lotion, spray or coil, do your skin a favour and be protected.
- Hygiene Instruments: Including, but not limited to Toothbrush/paste, Deodorant and Mints, because you’re not self cleaning animals and you want to stay fresh for your fellow creatives.
- Face wipes and Tissue paper: I refuse to discuss how many times actors and actresses have done a no.2 in the bush!! *sigh!
- Moisturizer and Sunscreen: Because save yourself…
- Change of clothes: Because you never know.
Do you agree?
What would you add to the list?
Let me know your thoughts or an experience where having one of the items listed (could have or) made a difference.
Written by Omoye Uzamere (Performer, Creative Nut, Foodie!)