This time, however, no one asked, because now there are mobile phones which kindly tell you exactly who is calling you, whatever the time. Also, I was on my own in a room, so there was no one there to ask. Also, I was young at the time, so the idea of somebody phoning me at 10.30 on a weeknight was fairly normal.
This particular phone call, however, was slightly unsettling. It went something like this:
Me Yyyeeeeaaaah, Booyyeeeeeee!Caller Umm….hello?
I’m only joking, I didn’t answer like that. It wasn’t a weekend, so I was more reserved. The conversation actually went like this:
Me Hello maaaaate.Caller Alright man, how’s it goin?
Me Yeah, good you? What you sayin?
Caller Sound man, sound. Um, I’m up at the studio, we’re just working on something, and your name came up…
Me (Trying not to sound too excited) Oh yeah, what’s the story?
Caller Um, well, we’re pitching for an advert…
Me (Trying not to sound too disappointed) Riiiiight…?
Caller (Laughing) It’s for, um [insert name of well-known brand of sawdust-flavoured breakfast cereal – name removed on legal advice]. They want to appeal to young people, apparently, hahaha.
Me Oohhh Kaaayy…..
Caller So, basically, we’re putting together some music for it, and the brief is for, like a – ah, sorry mate, but….they want an Ed Sheeran type.
Me (Laughing) I sseeeeeeee….
Caller So, (laughing), mate, not sayin that you’re like Ed Sheeran at all, just, you’re the only person I could think of that plays acoustic guitar and sings and raps in your act, all together. Or at least you’re the only one I know that does all that.
Me There’s a few others, but….
Caller Yeah, so, we need to put something together pretty quick. We just need a jingle, really, and like I say, I thought of you, I’m sure you could do something pretty funny.
Caller So, what do you think?
Me Well, I appreciate the offer, but mate, I really can’t be involved with this kind of thing, y’know, advertising, it’s really not something I want to get into…
Caller Alright, man, that’s fair enough.
Me But listen, I might know one or two others that could do something like that – dunno if they’d be up for it, but I can ask…?
Caller Thanks man, that might be good – need to move pretty fast on it though, so…
Me Alright. Always happy to help out with anything else, mind, so feel free to ask if you need any help in the future.
Caller Yeah, thanks mate
Me How are things goin down there anyway?
Caller Yeah, we’re good thanks fella, pretty busy at the moment, getting all these ad pitches in, and some film trailers, we could really do with getting one of them.
Me Yeah, fair enough
Caller Alright, well, I better dash, we gotta get this finished.
Me Alright, bud, take it steady.
Caller Cheers mate, bye.
(*Obviously, I didn’t really just say ‘Bye once, like some sort of freak, I said it three or four times with an increasingly hushed tone and in descending cadence, like a normal person.)
I put the phone down, my heart racing. I’d had a brush with the advertising industry. I mean, I like to help my friends, but even suggesting someone else that might do it felt a bit…dirty.
I never even thought to ask how much money it might pay, which was the first question asked by everyone I’ve ever told about it. It could’ve been a lot of money, but I doubt it. It was a pitch, so it would probably be no money unless the pitch was successful. But I really hope it was a lot of money. That thought – and the subsequent realisation that I hadn’t even asked – made me feel quite euphoric. Like having a confrontation that’s been building for a while, and feeling like it was convincingly won.
The whole thing, unappealing enough to begin with, could’ve been a slippery slope. If I’d been involved and then the ad was made, I’d’ve needed a theatrical agent (not in itself a bad thing either) and it might’ve become difficult to say No to the next such offer…
Respect to people who make their living that way (it is good money for actors), but it’s not for me. I did wonder if my friend had heard the songs in which I mention advertising. Judging by the tone of the phonecall, he wasn’t expecting me to be enthusiastic about the project, but maybe didn’t realise that it would make me a giant hypocrite. Which I didn’t fancy.
Anyway, as I say, I’m really not into advertising, and certainly wouldn’t get involved myself…
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