My daughter said to me recently – you get a lot of work! Well, that’s because I apply for a lot of jobs! Some of them also come to me out of the blue, of course, and initially they might not seem that appealing. I recently decided to say yes to something that sounded, on the face of it, to be a bit of a no-hoper. I was doubtful, the money wasn’t good, it was with a client I hadn’t worked with before, but I thought: hey, it might be the best thing I’ve ever done! And I won’t know till I try.
Admittedly, it was very safe for me (it’s not a big risk sitting at home presenting something online). So I thought I’d invest an hour of my time watching the product to see what I thought. In the end I decided not to do it, as it seemed a bit chaotic and the tech didn’t work well. But I wouldn’t have known that unless I’d dipped a toe in.
One colleague said: Why do you DO these things? It’s poor money and not necessarily good for your career – you haven’t got a strategic plan. Well I HAVE got one, loosely – to try new things and see which ones I like or don’t like (within reason: I’m not going to try things I KNOW I won’t like, such as digging ditches or climbing Kilimanjaro – PS: is that a job?) In the last few weeks I have been filming airside at a major airport, with horses and cows on a farm in Essex, at a B&B in Maldon (where the salt comes from), in a studio dressed as a warehouseman, at a secret location doing something for the military, and outside St Paul’s Cathedral in front of the watching crowds. Variety is the spice of life, to quote the saying, and I love doing new things. I have been learning lines, presenting, writing, training executives, handling live audiences and celebrating with colleagues when a film I am in was selected for a festival.
Yes, there’s quite a bit of downtime, but that’s when all the admin gets done: the invoicing, signing contracts, releases and covid declarations – and there’s the family to take care of as well. So my point is, for me, variety is better than vanilla. Some of those jobs turn out to be badly paid and bad, some are badly paid and fantastic, and some are well paid and bad/fantastic – you get the idea. I just keep on learning, keep on moving, trying new things and seeing what I like. If it’s terrible, I just won”t do it again. I’m lucky to have the choice, of course. But that’s what gets me up in the morning – the challenge of the new/different/stimulating. Long may it continue (and less of the bad, more of the fantastic please…)