As a traveller from the UK, I have met many people in Australia who can spend hours chatting about their experiences in this amazing country, whether it be snorkelling amongst the Whitsunday islands, wine tasting in the Barossa Valley or sightseeing in Sydney.
It seems as though many of our experiences are similar. A regular feature on an English “to do list” seems to be the pilgrimage to Melbourne, to enjoy the Neighbours experience.
As much as I try to be an individual, I have to admit this was also one of my priorities, which I happily turned into a reality.
But not content with just the Neighbours night, I decided I had to go one step further.
I needed to appear on the show. Not deterred by not having any acting experience, I quickly signed up when I saw an advert for an extras agency recruiting new applicants. I firmly believed it was meant to be.
So, the time eventually came for my interview. I was pumped. A part of travelling is putting yourself in new situations and I was excited at the prospect of my new career. It went well. Basically, if I was willing to be available for any role then I would be registered. And I was.
Only a few days later, my agent (I still love saying “I have an agent”) gave me a call…
“Andrew, would you like to be in a TV commercial for the Australian government?”
“Er… Yes!” I replied with embarrassing eagerness.
It wasn’t Neighbours but it was a start.
The advert was about safety in the workplace and my job as an extra was to sit in a forklift truck, turn off the engine and walk away.
I tried to cock my head to one side in one of the scenes in an attempt to make myself become more noticeable and, in my opinion, it worked.
In the last scene of the day, the director called me over. Without warning, he hooked me up to a microphone and told me I had a line!
I could not believe it. (I had not had a shave for a few days and maybe this gave me a more authentic factory worker look.)
The scenario involved myself asking Frank, the protagonist, where to put some cardboard boxes.
Having personally had far too much experience at doing just that in factories, this part came naturally.
Then it was time for my line. In my broadest, northern English accent I blurted out, “hey Frank, where do these go?”. I felt it was a solid debut; the director even came up and said I was “a natural”.
We finished after nine takes and I went home in the car discussing the day’s events. I was buzzing.
The moment of truth
Much anticipation followed in the next few weeks as I waited for the advert to appear. Rumours were flying around: I may feature on billboards and TV as well as in magazines and cinemas. Admittedly I started most, if not all, the rumours.
And then it finally appeared –during the adverts in Masterchef.
I held my breath… but suddenly realised the editors had cut my line! I was devastated.
They even left me off screen in the final scene so they did not have to pay me $500 for clearly showing my face!
So although I do currently feature on TV, I cannot help but feel it could have been so much better.
However, it must be said I had a lot of fun filming and will never tire of relaying this story for years to come and, who knows, maybe one day with a bit more luck I will end up with that much sought after line on Ramsay Street.