"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Monday, 28 December 2015

Canberra Stories #4: Emergency

It's been a LONG time between these posts, but after a trip I took to Canberra in July, I had a few interesting stories that I felt had to be shared.

Last time, I talked about coming across some money and having to go through an ordeal to give it back. I mentioned at the end that it led to a new story that was highly embarrassing, but you know what? I just can't bring myself to tell it. It involves food poisoning and bodily fluids, and a difficult attempt to not make a disgusting mess in an already-dirty public bathroom. For now, that story will remain a secret.

My final story came on the last night of the trip. The Improvention festivities had ended and there was a closing night party. I' m not at all the party type - I don't drink and I try desperately hard to get to bed before midnight each night. But this night, I just decided that I didn't want the festivities to end. It was 5am when I finally realised that the only people left there were the ones that had to pack up. So, selfishly, I decided it was time for me to leave as well.

The room where the party had been held was on the second story of a building in the Canberra CBD. When you exit the room, you step onto a tiled balcony. Going to the left or right would bring you to stairs that lead to the street below. On the left, the street on which was my hostel, just 200 meters away. On the right, Canberra's casino. Standing on this balcony having a cigarette were two men - one was Nick, the mastermind of the whole festival. The other was a non-performer friend of his named Jeff. I was saying goodbye to them when suddenly, we heard shouting and banging coming from in front of the casino.

Through a series of trees, the three of us could just see a white taxi and two large youths from whom all the noise was coming. They seemed to be yelling at the driver and vandalising his car. Being 5am, it was safe to assume they were either drunk or high. With barely even a flinch, Jeff finished the puff of his cigarette and said "Better call 000." So I got out my phone and punched in the number - the emergency number for Australia.

I'd never had to call 000 before, but I knew enough to know that whoever picked up the phone would ask me which emergency service I wanted. What I wasn't prepared for was "Emergency services, which city are you in?"
'Um, Canberra CBD,' I said. 'I've-'
*click!* The phone started ringing again.
'Hello, do you need police, fire or ambulance?' Came a second voice. There we go.
'Police thanks,' I said. Now was no time to forget my manners. The call was transferred again and a third voice appeared.
'Police, what's your emergency?'
'Hi, I'm witnessing an assault,' I said.
'Where are you at the moment?'
'I'm looking down on the street in front of the casino. There's two youths attacking a taxi driver.'
'What do they look like?'
'Well they're far away... They're tall, they're wearing jeans and t-shirts, one yellow and one pink, they're - what's that? Oh, I'm with two other guys, they say the attackers are Polynesian.'
'What's the condition of the taxi driver?'
'I can't tell. He's hidden.'
'What are the youths yelling?'
'Nothing anymore. They just walked off down a path next to the casino.'
'Can you speak to the taxi driver?'
'Ah man, he just drove off.'
'Okay, did you actually witness this assault?'
'Yeah!' I said, a little offended. I was trying to help and he was questioning my credibility. First Die Hard and now this... It's a wonder anyone gets saved at all.

As I talked to the man on the phone, I watched three police cars screech to a halt in the spot where the taxi had just been. They must have dispatched the cars silently while I detailed the situation. Maybe they had triangulated my location using my phone. Maybe the taxi driver had tripped an alarm. Either way, I let the man on the phone know that the cops had arrived.
'Okay can you make yourself known to the police on the scene. Describe everything you can to them.'
'Will do, have a good night,' I said.

I turned to Nick and Jeff.
'They want us to make ourselves known to police,' I said.
'Their faces dropped and they both murmured something that sounded more or less like "Nah, the police have it now".
"What?" I thought incredulously. "This is your chance to do your civic duty! How could you just not be bothered?"
As I turned to head down there by myself, I realised that these two men seemed like the kind of people who could easily have more than just cigarettes on them.They might just have been worried they'd be caught. Or they just might not have cared. Either way the cops were already leaving, so I didn't have time to work it out.

I jogged downstairs and chase after the last car that I'd seen going down that same pathway as the youths. It disappeared around the corner and I thought I'd missed my chance. But a few seconds later I saw headlights reappear and a car turning to come back the other way. Since it was so dark and the headlights were shining right on me, I couldn't tell if this car was the same car as the one that had disappeared. I stepped out of its path and waited until it got close enough to see the familiar blue-and-white checkered patter of a police car. Then I waved it down. I realised how suspicious it must look - a young man on his own in a dark alley at 5am, wearing a leather jacket and walking right in front of a police car. And the harsh demeanour of the very tall, muscly, bald-headed cop that greeted me from the passenger seat confirmed it. I addressed it by putting on one of my cutest smiles.

'Hello sir, I was the guy who placed the call to 000,' I said.
'Did you witness the assault?' the cop asked, his demeanour softening just a bit.
'Yeah I did.'
'Okay, if you just want to wait for us in the lobby of the casino there, we'll finish sweeping the area, then we'll come and get a statement from you.'
I followed the officer's instructions, passing through a revolving door to arrive in a nicely-lit marble room with a desk on the far end and a water-feature on the wall to my left. I took a seat on the low retaining wall that enclosed the water feature and busied myself on my phone.

A few minutes passed and the revolving door came to life.my head snapped up from my The Simpsons Tapped Out game and I expected to see Baldie enter the room. Instead, a scruffy homeless man came in and walked in my direction. I could smell him as soon as he came through the door.
'Hello, do you have any money?' he asked in a gravelly voice. I gave him a few coins from my wallet, for which he thanked me. Then he walked to a spot further along the wall, reached into his pocket, pulled out a handful of cigarette butts and placed them in a pile on the wall, sitting down next to them. He stuck his hand in the water and started fishing around.
'Ah fuck, they've already cleaned out the coins,' he lamented. And I can't go and ask them for money because they banned me from this place for life.'
'Oh, that's a shame,' I replied flatly.
'Oh hang on,' said the man.I think that's an earring! I could take that, right?' he asked. It's not stealing...'
'I don't know mate,' I replied. I genuinely didn't know the answer. The casino could very well consider anything thrown in their fountain to be their property, but I didn't like the idea of telling a homeless man not to claim discarded goods.
'I want your opinion,' he pressed. 'You don't think it's stealing, right?'
'Honestly mate, I don't own the fountain so I don't know.
'But I want YOUR opinion!'
Fine, if that's what you really want...
'Alright, if it were my fountain, I'd probably consider it stealing,' I said. I didn't bother explaining that I probably wouldn't care if he stole a used earring from me. I just wanted to get him off my back.
'Yeah, that's fair enough,' the man replied. 'Have a good night.' He turned and walked back out the door and I was left feeling pretty bad about myself.

A few more minutes passed and the revolving door once again came to life. This time a cop did walk through. Not the same security guard-type with the high-vis vest as before, but rather someone more my size, wearing the standard navy blue uniform and a warm, friendly grin. He saw me looking and I stood up to greet him.
'G'day,' I said.
'Hello,' he replied.
I kept looking at him and he seemed like he could tell he was missing something.
'Are you here for me?' I offered. The look on his face turned to confusion.
'I don't think so, why are you here?'
'I witnessed an assault and another cop asked me to wait here so he could get a statement from me.'
'Oh! Well if I'm here, I may as well get your statement,' he said. He took out a notepad and pen and started asking a set of detailed questions. Things like did the attackers have any distinguishing marks, what type of shoes were they wearing, hair colour, eye colour etc. I tried to help as much as I could, but like I mentioned, my vantage point hadn't been that great. The officer was just at the end of his questions and was taking down my phone number for future statements, when we faintly heard what could have been a woman's hysterical wailing. The officer looked up with wide eyes.
'Did you hear that?' he asked.
'Yeah I think so...' I said. The screaming returned, but much louder and closer. We both sprung into action.

The cop put one hand on his gun, turned and bolted back out the revolving door. I followed closely behind him. I'm not sure why - what could I have done to help the situation, thrown my shoe at it? But I guess I didn't feel right just hanging back when there was trouble going down. If there was anything I could contribute, I would.

As it turned out, the screaming came from a destitute woman who was being arrested. All the cops in the area had reconvened in front of the casino and one of them was placing the screaming woman in the back of a paddy wagon. The officer who had been speaking to me relaxed and chuckled as he turned back to me.
'It looks like they've got it under control. Is there anything else about the assault you can recall?'
'No, that's it.'
'Well thanks for your help. We'll call you again tomorrow if we need any more information.'

I walked off back to my hostel and passed the thug cop with whom I originally spoke. I told him someone else had been by to take my statement.
'Yeah sorry. We got busy,' he replied uncaringly.
Right then. Appreciate the help.
I stumbled the 500m back and entered my room as quietly as possible. Then I fell asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

Friday, 25 December 2015

So You're Reading This On Christmas...

You may be feeling lonely or upset without anyone to spend the day with. If you weren't, you certainly are now. There may be a valid reason why you're not with friends or family. You may be separated geographically or emotionally, or you may be - like most of the people that I suspect read this blog - homeless.

So if you are feeling lonely and need assistance on making the most of today, we here at the think tank have put together a handy three-step guide. Merry Christmas.

1: Watch feaux-Christmas movies
We all know that Die Hard is the greatest Christmas movie of all time. But did you know that there are a host of other popular films that are set around Christmas? Why not fire yourself up to watch Rocky take on the Russian behemoth Drago in Rocky IV? How about a bit of pre-racism Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon? You could relive the performances of Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito in the worst Batman film of all time, Batman Returns. Or revisit the worst James Bond of all time (George Lazenby) in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

If you want to go less subtle, you could watch Love Actually or The Holiday. But without anyone to watch it with, it may just make you feel more lonely. Maybe 1984's Gremlins might be better for you. Or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, in which you get to see Michelle Monaghan topless. Although if you just want to watch nudity, there are much better films for that. If you Google it, I'm sure you can find some with a Christmas theme as well.

2: Celebrate Festivus
What began as a humorous protest to the commercialisation of Christmas can now be your own personal "screw you" to the holiday altogether. Telephone your friends and family to tell them what's grieved you about them in the past year. If there's one thing that people like to hear on Christmas, it's how they've failed to appease you.

Find an aluminium pole and stand it up in your living room. Stare at it for an hour and think about all the stupid things the people you know are doing right now. Those jokes inside the Christmas crackers have never been funny. The paper crowns are stupid and uncomfortable. And what's with the crappy little plastic doohickey? Christmas crackers suck. And now, thanks to your hilarious and relevant protest, so does the rest of Christmas.

Conduct "Feats of strength", in which you attempt to lug a 60" TV up and down a flight of stairs. If you don't have stairs, placing it on a high shelf will be adequate. The festivities will only end once the TV has been dropped and smashed.

3: Fake an actual Christmas miracle
History has proven that religious nuts will clamp onto anything that "proves" the existence of God. Have some fun with them by splashing some coffee on a notebook in a way that resembles the image of Jesus. Walk into a church limping and coughing, listen for a while, then jump up and exclaim "Praise God, I'm healed!" The congregation won't question a thing.

If you really want to take it up a notch, get up at 1am on Christmas morning and start cutting religious symbols into corn fields. Or dress up in a robe and put on a long brown wig and interrupt the broadcast of a national morning show. Don't forget to bring your smoke-bombs - if there's one thing Jesus was known for, it's cheap theatrics.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Things You Can Do for $20 Or Less

My friend Dimi and I were driving to a friend's party. It was being held at a pub just outside of town where a band he likes was playing. The place was a popular spot for clubbing, which neither of us were even the least bit excited about. Dimi started this conversation on the drive...

"Why couldn't he have just held it at his house?"
"Yeah, that would have been better."
"It's $20 entry! I can name a hundred other things I could do with that money."
"Go on then."
"Hahaha... seriously?"
"Yeah, I want to see if you can do it. I'll help you out."
We took it in turns and listed them off...

  1. $20 worth of petrol
  2. Have a decent meal
  3. Have McDonalds
  4. Buy alcohol
  5. Buy coffee
  6. Give $20 to a friend as a gift
  7. A Myer gift card
  8. Go to the video arcade
  9. Laser skirmish (we both said it at the same time and made that noise that bros make when when they realise how in sync they are)
  10. Bowling
  11. Go karts
  12. Paintball
  13. Go to the movies
  14. Buy/rent a DVD
  15. Pay for your music you pirate
  16. Stay in some really nasty accommodation
  17. Go for a walk (then we decided that free things shouldn't count, so we changed it to hire a bike and go for a ride)
  18. Go to a soccer match
  19. Register a domain name
  20. Go to the doctor (public healthcare, bitches!)
  21. Go to a karaoke bar
  22. See a show at the Fringe Festival
  23. Donate it
  24. Go to the zoo
  25. Subscribe to a pornographic website (if you were that way inclined)
  26. Have one session in a gym
  27. Take a passport photo
  28. Invest in a company
  29. Buy in to a pub poker game
  30. Play in an 8-ball tournament
  31. Have Foxtel for 10 days
  32. Place a small-to-medium-sized ornament on your coffee table
  33. Strip club
  34. Hide it in the woods and organise a treasure hunt
  35. Fold it into a swan
  36. Use it as a bookmark
  37. Deposit it into the bank
  38. Visit a museum
  39. Go to a trampoline house
  40. Attempt an escape room
  41. Stick it on the end of a fishing rod and prank passers-by
  42. Use it to snort cocaine
  43. Use it to snort paprika
  44. Watch a pay-per-view fight
  45. Get Netflix for two months in the lowest pay bracket
  46. Visit a silent disco
  47. Buy an app for your phone
  48. Glue it to the wall
  49. Bet on some sort of sporting event
  50. Buy a football club membership for your pet
  51. Subscribe to AFL Fantasy Coach
  52. Flash it around to show all your friends how loaded you are
  53. Hire a stranger at a seedy bar to kill your boss
  54. Light it on fire and then run from the cops
  55. Have your fortune told
  56. Go speed-dating
  57. Go on a date while on speed
  58. Send a package overseas
  59. Do your washing in a hotel laundry
  60. Have a picnic
  61. Park in a parking building for about three hours
  62. Go golfing
  63. Hire a golf buggy
  64. Hire a homeless guy to be your caddy
  65. A nice round of mini-golf
  66. Buy an old(ish) video game
  67. Buy donuts on The Simpsons Tapped Out
  68. Pay back the money you owe that guy
  69. So much chocolate
  70. Go to the casino and put it all on black
  71. Place a bit with a mate
  72. Insure yourself on a one-night trip to Sydney
  73. Pokemon Go is coming...
  74. Replace your printer ink cartridges
  75. Go somewhere else to print your stuff
  76. Replace your shoelaces
  77. Purchase cold & flu medication
  78. With creative accounting, you could make that $40 (that's how it works right?)
  79. Dress up for Halloween
  80. Stay in a caravan park
  81. Design a t-shirt with your favourite brand of ink toner on it
  82. Take up archery
  83. Take up painting
  84. Take a (blank) class
  85. Glue something to something else
  86. Try a 3-card monty
  87. Make a wish in a wishing fountain
  88. Change it to coins and throw them at passers-by
  89. Sit down and work out how many unique combinations of coins and notes you can make from $20 (367)
  90. Put gold flakes on your pizza
  91. Fill a sock with coins and cause some damage.
  92. Decorate your work cubicle for Christmas
  93. You can get like 100 ping pong balls for that price
  94. Replace one spark plug in your car
  95. Accidentally let go of it and chase it up the street
  96. Bury it for future civilisations to find and worship
  97. Get yourself a spray tan
  98. Do people still play Farmville?
  99. Get a nice photo developed at K Mart
By this stage we were well and truly at the venue. We handed our $20 notes to the girl at the door and as we walked in, I said "...Or we could just celebrate our friend's birthday."

Friday, 18 December 2015

Star Wars Spoilers

Never before have so many people warned their friends not to spoil a movie for them before they get to see it. We seem to have collectively decided that for once, we won't scroll through forums and YouTube videos, practically trying to see the film before it comes out.

But there are some things you need to know about this new Star Wars film. Some key plot points that - if you're not prepared for - could seriously mess with your head. For your safety, here are some spoilers for the latest installment of Star Wars (in cinemas now).

  • After her marriage to Han loses its spark, Princess Leia attempts to find more excitement by registering with Cougarlife.com.
  • Luke Skywalker becomes suspicious of his wife after the fifth baby that she claims was "conceived by the force".
  • Storm Trooper Finn is ecstatic when he meets Lando Calrissian and discovers that he's not the only black person in the galaxy.
  • Leia breaks out the gold and white bikini, but the rest of the galaxy insists that it's actually black and blue.
  • A mysterious stranger starts asking questions about a "Christmas Special". He's quickly executed.
  • R2D2 and C3PO get impressive new upgrades.

  • Chewbacca marries a banthaa and together they have a beautiful little Ewok.
  • Now that the path to immortality has been discovered, word gets out and suddenly everyone starts reappearing as ghosts. It loses its appeal and people start longing for the days when dead people stayed dead.
  • Han trades in his rusty old Millennium Falcon for a shiny new USS Enterprise.
  • Confusion arises over the exact meaning of the term "Holo-vid and Chill".
  • Taylor Swift writes a song about The Force and subsequently has the phrase trademarked. 
  • Due to Imperial budget cuts, the new "Death Star" has to be downgraded to a "Pain Comet".
  • A Storm Trooper is arrested for impersonating a superior officer.

  • The Force is grumpy from being woken.
  • Someone finally informs Han that a parsec is a unit of distance, not time.
  • Yoda can be overheard saying "The original movies, better they were."
  • C3PO announces he's gay. No one bats an eyelid. 
  • The new Jedi council has a lengthy discussion on trade tariffs to ensure that none of this ever happens again.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Is It Sexist: AFL 9s

I've said many times in the past that the current movement for gender equality would be a lot further ahead if we could all come to an agreement on what that actually means. I come across situations all the time that some people say are sexist, others say are natural and others still say are nothing but witch-hunts. I've come across one of these situations in a game called AFL 9s.

AFL 9s is a social version of the game of Aussie Rules Football. It requires 9 people per side, at least three of them need to be girls and the game is non-contact. If the ball touches the ground, it's a turnover and only a designated forward can kick a goal.

The main marketing push that the AFL is going for with this game is that "It's the game for everyone." The underlying message is that women and children can play without worrying about their safety among the big, fit, rough men who also play. The rules are specifically designed to include them,

I joined this game as an umpire so I could keep myself match-fit during the off-season. But it's taken me a very long time to get used to it. For the first few weeks, the game-day manager was approaching me at the end of each half and saying things like "That marking contest in front of the goals between the guy and the girl - I would have called that contact on the guy. He got too close to the girl when he caught that."
"Well there was no actual contact, so I let it go..." I'd reply.
"Yeah, but you've got to let the girl have it. If it was guy-on-guy you'd let it go but with those ones you should give it to the girl."

I'll be umpiring the grand final tomorrow night, and I still haven't gotten the hang of policing a different set of rules for the women as I do for the men. Thankfully, the GDM has given up on telling me to be more lenient on the girls, so it's not really an issue. But what do you think? Is it sexist to wrap the girls up in cotton wool to protect them from the big bad boys? Or should the girls be held to the same standards?

One other thing I haven't mentioned yet - If a girl kicks a goal, it's worth 9 points instead of the usual 6. That means if there's a girl on one team who's athletically gifted, her team suddenly has a pretty decent advantage. Children get the same benefit, but as my competition only has one child (who's only played twice), it's not something I have to worry about.

Is AFL 9s sexist?

Friday, 11 December 2015

Oh Come On, Another One?

Just over a month ago, I was contacted by the office of the Young Achiever of the Year Awards at Channel 9. They claimed that my profile on LinkedIn looked impressive and that they'd like me to nominate for their award this year. They started a nomination form for me under the category "Career Kickstarter Award".

Now at the time I thought it was ridiculous. I was expecting there to be a catch, like I'd have to pay a fee to nominate. Yes, I'm proud of my work. Yes, I put a lot of time and effort into it. But to actually give me an award for it? I haven't actually achieved anything tangible. Anything I've achieved in my work life falls under the abstract category of personal fulfillment. I looked up the winners of last year's awards, and the recipient of the Career Kickstarter award had managed to start his own business that sells ethically-approved fashion. Me? I once came first in a musical comedy competition that had four entrants.

The questions I had to answer had me thinking for days.

Outline the nominee's career to date.

I've had so many jobs that I literally can't remember them all. I ended up copying and pasting my career summary from LinkedIn.

Outline how the nominee has shown initiative in kickstarting their career.

How do you describe taking initiative?
"So I applied for this job... and I ended up getting it! Impressive, right?"
I've been described as taking initiative before, but I don't really know what I do that's anything special.

Describe how the nominee has shown energy and integrity in their chosen career.

Again... How do you describe that?
"I've shown energy by... being energetic."
"I've got lot's of integrity. One time my boss trusted me to lock up the store. I didn't steal a single thing."
I show integrity because that's normal for a decent human being. You want me to brag that I haven't stabbed any co-workers in the back?

Outline achievements that show commitment to the nominee's personal and career development.

Here we go... the achievements part. I listed everything I could think of. I won an award at the end of a 12-week radio course... I received accreditation for umpiring... I've put that little importance on qualifications that I genuinely forgot until now that I have a certificate III in retail tourism. This answer was short.

What would be the ideal kickstart needed to take the nominee's career to the next level?

Actually, that's an interesting question. What would I need to get to the next level? I could take it literally and talk about my umpiring. I'm trying to get to the next level there. So the only thing I need to get to the next level is to just get better at umpiring. I wasn't entirely sure they'd like that as an answer. I ended up mentioning that I wanted to write a book and that I wanted to get in touch with publishers to pitch it.

Write a 100 summary of your achievements for use with the media, judging and promotional material.

In other words, they want me to do their job for them.

So by the time I thought of answers for those questions, picked the photos I wanted to submit with the nomination and got the the details of my references, it took me about a month to actually click "submit". I was expecting to be taken to a page that would ask for my credit card details but no, it just said "Thanks for your nomination. We will begin the judging process on December 4th."

December 4th rolled around and the deadline passed. Then, on the afternoon of the 4th, I got this email:

Are you serious?? What do these guys keep seeing in me?! I don't know what I do that impresses people like this. So I decided to reply back to Kristi and ask her directly.

By the end of the day, I had this reply.

That was almost profoundly unhelpful. Nobody's impressed by stage management. I sighed, put my phone down and logged onto my computer. Looks like I have more work to do.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Question of the Month: December

Each month, a whole bunch of us answer a question. It's a game called Question of the Month. It's pretty simple, you should join in.

I realised this morning that a great question for this month would have been "What do you want for Christmas?" But I've never been good at being topical. So instead, the question is this:

"Which one social convention would you get rid of?"

You know, those things that society tells you you have to do that you just don't think you should? If you had the power to change one of those things, what would it be?

Ever since I hit puberty, I've hated wearing suits, business-shirts and ties. As in properly hated it. Whenever I'm in a button-up shirt, I feel suffocated, defeated, depressed, like I'm trying to be someone I'm not. I feel like I'm trying to fit in with a group of people whose respect for you is affected by the price of the clothes you're wearing. 

Everyone's always disappointed when I try to turn up to a wedding or a 21st in my normal clothes and I've never understood that. If I'm there to celebrate a milestone with a friend, what does it matter what I wear?

In job interviews, you get an instant fail if you turn up in anything other than a button-up shirt. That's so sad! What I wear has no bearing on how well I'll do at a job. Why should I wear something that makes me uncomfortable and self-conscious?

The standard response I get to that question is something along the lines of "It shows you care about your presentation," "Don't you want to take pride in your appearance?" or "You have to make an effort for the people you care about." Those people won't accept that I look so much better in jeans and a (generally white) t-shirt.

Which guy would you rather associate with? This ugly loser...

Or this confident young stud?


Some people insist that a suit is more respectable and that anyone wearing one should be taken more seriously. Whether they acknowledge it or not, that's how they feel. I think it's disgusting and they should change immediately.

If you want to join the bloghop, sign up below. An email is sent out with the question for each month and it's also posted on the QotM page found at the top of this blog. The next one comes on Monday January 4. Have fun!

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Reason I Was In Sydney for One Night

So in the middle of October, I received a mass email from my agents calling for anyone who might be interested in performing kids theater interstate. A company called Brainstorm was offering a series of eight-month contracts to tour primary schools around the country and perform plays about bullying and drugs. I'd done that kind of thing before and loved it, so I expressed my interest. But I sent the email with no real expectations. Even if I was picked to do this job out of the hundreds of people nationwide who would likely apply, I still couldn't leave what I'd built up in Adelaide. I'd been told that I was about to start training as an SANFL umpire, I couldn't afford to put that on hold now. I was also hosting two pub trivia nights a week at venues that I loved, and making some great coin in other areas of work as well. I decided to treat it as an exercise in being rejected.

weeks passed and I forgot about it. Then as October came to a close one of the agents, Carina, gave me a call.
'Are you able to put together a resume for us? Brainstorm would like to see one.'
Hm, okay. I guess I could do that. But my level of experience was embarrassing. I remember when a friend helped me to write an actor's CV and encouraged me to embellish it a little to fill out the page.
"Mine's three pages long," she pressed. "You should at least have one."
Carina sent me a template to use and I filled it out as best I could. Then I forgot about it. Well, that is until the 10th of November when I got another call...

'It's Carina. Brainstorm would like to see an audition piece from you. They're asking you to come to Sydney, but I've told them that's a little bit much. To fly there at your own expense for a first audition isn't worth it. So they've said they'll accept a screen test. They've sent us a monologue and we'd like to film you performing it. When are you free?'
My excitement at this point was overshadowed by my fear. Suddenly I was in a position where two parties had put a lot of faith in me and I would have to disappoint one of them. My umpiring coaches had spent a lot of time giving me advice when I needed it and shown enough faith in me to put my name forward to the SANFL after just two years in the system. On the other hand, this was an opportunity for some very serious work with my agents. I clearly knew before I applied that if I got the job I'd have to leave Adelaide. So if I pulled out claiming that I didn't want to leave, I felt the waste of their time would deter them from trying as hard to get me work in the future. Unsure of what the near future would hold, I set a time to film my screen test.

Carina was very impressed with my test. That made my proud, but I also had to laugh a little. I was kind of hoping my test would suck and the choice would be taken out of my hands. But I'd also learned two things.
1- There would likely be a component of singing required. Something that I enjoy doing but certainly can't do to a professional level.
2- I wasn't actually training with the SANFL. What I'd been submitted to was a summer training program run by the SANFL to scout for their next recruits. Still impressive, but definitely not the same. I'd gone from having to choose between two things I loved to possibly losing them both.

Two weeks passed and I got a voice mail from the other agent, Nick.
'Michael, I need to discuss something with you, call me back when you can.'
I was hoping it was about Brainstorm. Now that I knew I wasn't actually in the SANFL, that made my choice a whole lot easier. But in the end, it wasn't.
'Michael, I wonder if you'd be available to manage a stage show on Friday December 4th?'
'Oh. Yeah... Yeah I can do that.'
'Fantastic, you're a big help. I'll send through the details. Thanks Michael.'
I'd been told that if I was required for a second audition, I'd have to fly out to Sydney on December 1st. It was about the 25th at this point, and I didn't think I'd gotten the callback.

That changed two days later.
'Hi Michael, it's Nick here. I've gotten a call from Brainstorm. They'd like to have you over. Now you haven't been in this position before, so there's a few things you need to know. The fact that they've asked you to a second audition means that they're thinking very seriously about you, You'll have to tell them pretty much on the spot whether you're willing to move to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane for eight months. Is that something you can do?'
I thought so but I wan't entirely sure. I felt like I should stop and think a bit more about the consequences of dropping everything and leaving. But on the other hand, there's no way I could reasonably predict what the consequences are. I might have to take one of those leaps of faith you hear so much about. After some initial hesitation, I gave him the answer he needed.
'Fantastic. I'll book in your audition time, are you okay to organise flights?'
'Yep, I can do that.' I'd worked out that if I fly over on Monday when I didn't have work, I could perform my audition on Tuesday morning and fly back in the afternoon in time to fulfill my umpiring duties on Tuesday night. Now that I've gotten this far, I'm very keen for it to work out. My parents are against the idea. They think that I'd be throwing away everything I've worked for. But I've made my decision and I'm eager to take on such an exciting new challenge.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This Page

Any part of this blog may be reproduced or distributed, providing credit is given to the original author.