How Dancing Is Good For Your Soul
So back in December last year my acting agent (Roni from Steiner Talent Management) contacted me to see if I would at all be interested in auditioning for a new Kellogg's TV commercial as he thought it would suit me. Upon receiving the email, I rang him to have a chat about it. By the way he delivered the news to me, it was almost as though he had hesitated or thought twice about asking me. He wasn't that sure if it would be of interest to me and once I knew what it was, I also for the most part, agreed with him.
The brief was as follows:
"Hmm" I thought to myself. So it wasn't the usual type of audition where I go in to a casting agent and audition in front of them as they record one (two if lucky) takes and then you walk out inevitably feeling like you've botched it all up. No, this was the self-test type of audition, where you have to film and record it yourself, critique yourself and submit what you believe is your best version. These are the things of complete meltdown!
For those unfamiliar with acting or auditions, in my opinion, self-test/self-taped auditions are incredibly difficult. Each of us are our own worst critics. How on Earth could I possibly decide on which of my takes would be best and moreso, how many would it take? It's not uncommon for actors to spend literally hours on end doing take-after-take for a single scene, each time tweaking and slightly changing the delivery, performance, eyelines and position. This audition though, required me to be quite vulnerable, it would require the letting go of all inhibitions, apprehensions and fears and to just be free by enjoying the moment and the process of creating it. I knew doing too many takes was not possible because of the energy that would be involved. Besides, when doing too many takes you run the very real risk of the performance becoming flat, unflattering and inauthentic. This said, I committed myself to 3 and only 3 takes.
The music I had to audition to was the upbeat Can't Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake and here is the final audition tape that I submitted:
Once it was done, I sent it off and forgot about it. Christmas and New Year came and left, I traveled overseas and by all accounts, this audition and TV commercial was for the most part, now just a memory. If the only thing I had achieved from it was to have this fun, cheery and light-hearted audition video as a memory, then I was still happy with that, as I had showed a few people and all of them had a smile on their face and felt upbeat as they watched it, which is great. The last thing I ever expected to hear upon my return to Australia was that I had successfully landed the gig in this commercial - amazing! Evidently my dancing skills were clearly better than my videography skills, who would've ever guessed?!
Mid January came and I was to film my scene at the newly-renovated Woolworths in Geelong, VERY early in the morning. After staying in Geelong overnight, I awoke tiredly, but excitedly as being on set is what we actors love. By the time I had arrived on set, or in this case on location, the buzz in the air extracted every last ounce of fatigue I had; either that of the make-up that was applied to my face at 5:30am! Either way, the make-up was masking the fatigue so it was a win all around.
I met the crew, producers and director. I would be performing/dancing in the cereal aisle of the supermarket, however this cereal aisle had been 'slightly' (term used loosely) modified to look like the most perfect great wall of Kellogg's you've ever seen. One of the producers told me that they absolutely loved my audition tape so much so, that it was passed around the office for others to see and every single person had the same reaction; joy! What an incredibly nice thing to hear and an amazing bit of feedback to counter an otherwise hesitant and deliberated mindset I had regarding the audition tape and what was required of me.
For the commercial, there would be several different actors dancing and tapping their tummy to the beat in different scenes and locations. This morning was all just for me. It's both daunting and incredibly humbling to know that every single person there that morning, at that time of the morning, was there just to film me. Dancing in front of complete strangers, whilst you're being photographed, watched and recorded is probably enough to send most people cowering and running, but I felt it was my duty to give them an unbelievable performance, not only because they were all present for me, but also because I now had to live up to the audition tape I made that was responsible for me landing this gig in the first place. No pressure at all right?
The music I would be dancing to was brand new, made and recorded by a local Melbourne music producer. To me, it sounded like something Bruno Mars would release. It was fun, upbeat and greatly helped my 5:30am sweat-session in the cereal aisle of Woolworths supermarket in Geelong.
So I danced, I tapped my tummy, I had the sweat wiped off my head and I danced some more. And that was it, it was a wrap. I received the obligatory round of applause that actors usually receive when their filming scenes are complete and the footage was 'in the can' (a film industry reference for when required footage has been achieved and taken but is not yet released for broadcast, sale of viewing).
There would be 2 versions of the commercial made, a 15 second one and a longer 30 second one. They would go on air across Australian free-to-air stations as well as Pay-TV and online across social media from March 2019 onwards. It just so happens that it's now March and yes, both commercials are now live and showing.
Here's the 30 second version of Kellogg's Fibre Fit 2.0, see if you can spot my groove!
And here below is the shorter 15 second version:
So there you have it. A moment of complete trepidation, apprehensiveness and nervousness over something that I initially wasn't entirely convinced I wanted to do, but did in the comfort and privacy of my own home, is now live, available and broadcast across the entire country for everyone and anyone to see!
So what have I learnt from all of this?
“You look ridiculous if you dance. You look ridiculous if you don't dance. So you might as well dance.” ― Gertrude Stein
Creative Agency = Akkomplice
Kenny Hill (Creative Director); Natalie Taylor (Agency Producer); Nicole Torrington (Project Management); The Producers (Production Company); Mitch Kennedy (Director/DOP); Tanya Spencer (Producer); The Post Lounge (Post Production); Ack Kinmonth (Music); Mindshare (Media)