Monday, 22 July 2013


I wrote last week about Eva-Jane's filming of a short film for the Virgin Media Shorts competition.  Well, the film is online, and it's now time to vote!!

If the video fails to load, click here to watch on the VMS website.(But scroll down first to continue reading..)

The guys and gals at PurpleCoat were wonderful; they really made Eva-Jane feel special, and she had a simply great day.  We've got absolutely no problems therefore in supporting them in the competition.  Should they not be picked immediately for the top 12 films, (well, there are over 840 other entries...) the 13th place is chosen by public vote. That's where you, dear reader, come in.

To vote, you need to use Twitter; simply tweet The Big Day #VMShortsVote and that's it.  You must say the name of the film followed by the hashtag.  You can also use the "Tweet" button below the video on the Virgin Media Shorts website which will do it for you. Feel free to add your comments! Don't use the "Share" option inside the video window, as that doesn't include the hashtag, so will not count!

That page also has share buttons for all the popular social media sites, so please share it all over, but it's only Tweets that count as votes, so if you don't have twitter, and don't want to sign up to it, at least find out which of your family and friends do have it, and encourage them to vote.  Please!

As an aside ... the film opens with her sat on a Sofa.  It's only a couple of miles from another sofa that she was filmed on 18 months ago. Maybe we should be looking for roles that feature only Mancunian sofas...

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Virgin Media Shorts

What a rush!

Exactly a week ago, we received an email out of the blue from "a Liverpool based theatre and film company", offering Eva-Jane a "lead role" in a film they are entering in the Virgin Media Shorts competition.  It was unpaid, but filming locally, so next to no travel involved, and they seemed a little desperate, so we decided we'd go for it.  The agency seemed to think it was a good idea too. "No time to audition!" Gulp..

It was a bit touch-and-go getting the licence arranged, but thanks to the instantaneous nature of email, a supportive school, some presumably polite persuasion, and a dash up to Swinton with some original photos and paperwork, it was sorted out by Friday morning.  Many thanks to Sue @ City of Salford for being so accommodating.

So.. Today it was filming.

It was great fun.  The film follows the story of a little girl making her own mark on her big sister's Big Day.  We had some great feedback on her acting ability (modesty forces me to omit it, but it was good) and everybody seemed to love her.  Now we are desperately looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Many thanks to Karl, Tom, Dan, Sarah (Oh god, I hope that was her name; I'm dreadful with names...) and everybody else involved for making it a great experience, and we wish them best of luck in the competition.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Silence is broken..

It could be anywhere, but it's London, really!

After a few weeks of silence, we get a call from the agents asking if Eva-Jane was up for an audition in London, the next day!  A commercial, for insulation, of all things...   Well, we decided it was worth trying for.

The audition was at 6.20pm... so some mad timetable checking, and if we get the 3.15pm train down, we can make it.  School let me have her an little early, so we have time to change before dashing to the station.

See, Carnaby Street.
14.30 Collect dd from school early...

14.40 Quick change, wash and scrub..
14.50 Jump in car and head to Manchester
15.00 Park up and dash into station
15.05 Collect tickets and dive into train
15.15 Train leaves...
....two hours of chatter and eating of junk food...
17.25 Arrive London
17.30 Buy oyster card
17.35 get on tube train
17.40 get off tube train. and walk down Oxford St. Pay £13 for an "I love London" teddy bear.
17.55 arrive around corner from audition
Change shoes, remove coat, brush hair, practice lines...
18.12 Go in, 8 mins early...

It sounded like she did well, but who knows with commercials..

Boris Bikes! Now do you believe me?
18.30 Back outside again..
18.40 packed tube, have to wait for second train
18.55 arrive Euston
..decide no chance of finding a seat on the 19.01 train..
19.13 the 19.20 is announced as boarding; cue HUGE movement of people.
We manage to find a pair of seats, facing backwards with no window to speak of.
19.20 train leaves
... Tiddler falls asleep on my lap.
21.28 arrive Manchester
21.35 get in car
21.40 back home.


7 hours; she saw about 30 mins of crowded Soho streets! But we came back with a teddy. And broke my thermos flask

Oh and today she wasn't well; took her to the docs, and they suspect she has Scarlet Fever! As does a school friend we bumped into there.. That'll explain the falling asleep..

Update:  We heard nothing after this, so we presume she didn't get the part.  Shame...  And it wasn't Scarlet Fever, but an "uspecified" infection that behaves the same.  Riiiiiight..

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Thick and Fast

Well; it's been a fun packed couple of months since the last posting. I really ought to update more often.So, a quick run-down...

Eva-Jane got her next LAMDA award; Merit this time.  There was some concern from the school, since it seemed that everybody had been marked down a bit this time, but since the actual reports had apparently gone missing between the examiner and London, nobody was able to know what exactly was the cause.

Nice news .. She was picked out of Spotlight back in April to audition for a BBC drama!  Short notice and it being in London cased some dilemma, but we were given the option of self-taping a bit of improv, so we tried our best.  We heard no more, so I assume she didn't get the part, however we got all giddy for a bit, and it shows she's got the looks that at least somebody likes.  I do worry though that the tape let her down; she does so much better in person.  Next time, I think we'll have to bite the bullet and go where we're needed.

Then earlier this month, we were asked to record a tape for a voiceover.  That was fun, and we thought she did really well, plus we all enjoyed it, but again, no feedback.  I guess that's the way it goes though - you only hear back if they want you.

Then a couple of days later, another audition, for a commercial, necessitating an after-school dash into Manchester where they had her hoping like a frog!

Good news on that one though, they pencilled her in for the part!  Nine days to get a licence, so it was a bit of a mad scramble to get all the paperwork together: School were fantastic; they are always very supportive, but getting a letter out of the doctors ... "argh!"   It was suggested to us once that the reason that really nice doctors have really awkward reception staff is to fend off all the patients for them, otherwise they'd be overrun!  Anyway, it took three days but we finally obtained the letter and I hand-delivered everything to the local authority.  Just in time to get an email from the agency the next day saying that she wasn't needed after all.  Sigh ....  Oh the joys of castings ...

But, we're still looking forward to the next opportunity.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Hey Ho, Swashbucklers Go!

It was colder than it looked!  Outside MediaCityUK.. again!
Yesterday was another fun day.  A morning in the audience for a new CBeebies show, Swashbucklers.  It was an early start - we met up at 8.15am outside and they were in for four hours.  This left time for another group of kids to do the afternoon session!

We can't divulge much about the show at this stage (mainly because dad wasn't allowed in!) but it sounds like good fun, with much madness and mayhem.  Apparently the audience feature prominently, and she did have to learn the theme song, so we're looking forward to seeing it on TV.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Back to the Beeb

So we lean back just like this do we?
Well it was deja vu all over again.

At least we had two days notice, this time, rather than a phone call "can you come tonight?"

So, Wednesday night we had a mad dash after school over to Media City for another audition.   It was set for 4:15, and with not getting back from school until about 3:45, it was a very quick change out of uniform, and straight out to the car!  It's fortunate it's only a five minute trip!

So, after a bit of a dilemma over car parking charges (they are not cheap!) we walked into the foyer at Bridge House, and it was empty ..  Slight panic.. had I got the wrong day?  But the young lady at the desk seemed to know about us, and had a visitor badge already filled out with Eva-Jane's name, so that was OK. However.. where was everybody?

"Oh they've just gone up.  Don't worry, I'll call up."

I'd been given two times, and picked the earlier one, because Eva-Jane had Beavers to go to later on.  We actually arrived about five minutes early, however, it seems the times had been changed, given the absence of the group I thought we were in.  Anyway, after she checked the lists, it turned out they had us down for 5.15.  So, at least it wasn't the other way around ...!

What this meant was we had an hour to fill.  In an empty foyer with seating by the windows, and a large round thing with padded seating in the middle.

.....which played a different sound clip every time you sat on it!

Oh we had fun!   Zingzillas, Tree Fu Tom,  Horrible Histories, Octonauts, I can remember them all, but none grates as much as "I'm Furious!  Furious!   Furious!" over and over ...

But two buttons didn't work,
Eventually other kids started arriving, and they too had just as much fun with it, and they were all playing together really well. I think this helped later, as I was told that they had been a great bunch of kids, "we were a bit worried after the first lot." Oops!

About six years later, we were finally all asked to go upstairs.  At least, I presume we were - Eva-Jane had needed the toilet, and when we came out, the foyer was bare!  Everybody had gone!

We raced around the corner and found them just going through the security gates, so tagged onto the end of the line.  Oh the shame - first ones there but last in the queue!

It took three lifts worth to get every body up to the sixth floor.. And fancy lifts they were too - none of your "up or down" call buttons and hope the next lift that arrives really is heading in the right direction - no, press the number of the floor you want, and it tells you which lift to go to!  Cool!

Once upstairs, it was a simple bit of form filling, then they whisked the kids off to play.  Us parents were left to our own devices.  I spent a fair bit of time playing Angry Birds on the phone, until the "5% battery left" warning made me stop... I did get a bit of a chat with Billy, one of the Executive Producers on the show, which was good.  Very nice chap, and I hope we get a chance to meet again.

The kids were a good half hour late coming out of the audition room, which I hope is a good sign. Everybody seemed pleased with them, and I got some very positive comments about Eva-Jane particularly.  She got herself a free copy of the CBeebies Weekly magazine with an art set on the front, which pleased her immensely, and a McDonalds on the way home, which she also enjoyed!

They are seeing, in Billy's words, "hundreds of kids", so I'm not on tenterhooks waiting for the phone call, but I have this little tingle of hope.

We were, in the end, at MediaCity for three hours.  As such, we missed Beavers, but it was good experience, and she had a great time.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

A dash to the post

We had our first agency-led audition last week.  That was fun - I got a phone call at half past ten in the morning, "can she go tonight?"  For a bit before 5pm right in the centre of Manchester!

Short notice, or what! Especially as Tiddler was in school until 3:30, and factoring in rush hour traffic, it gave me about 20 minutes of her at home to get changed out of school uniform and run through the lines we'd been sent.

It was for a commercial, of course.  Who else works at such short timescales.  And the lines?  Not language I'd expect of a 5 year old!  Not rude, I should say, just... odd...   I don't know what the scriptwriters were on, but one phrase they used I'd never heard before, and nor had google, which says a lot.

Another spanner in the works was having to drop Big Brother off at college on the way for his evening class.  It's only a short distance away, but left me in an awkward place for getting to the audition, given the traffic.  I tried heading up Deansgate, but got caught out by the new arrangements up near Victoria - straight on now goes direct into a car park!  I considered just parking up and walking from there, but £6.50 minimum charge?!  It took a three-point turn to get out, and I wasn't the only one to make the mistake - the two in front and two behind me did the same!

Anyway, we fought our way around the Inner Ring Road, and ended up parking in the Arndale multi-storey.  £4 for two hours - still feels a lot, but not quite so bad.   We found the lift, pressed the "down" button, and eventually a lift arrived.  "5^" the indicator said.  "Lift going up" the automation said.  So we waited for the next one.  The light went out, the doors closed, and the lift went down!  Gah!

I hate driving in rush hour when I'm on a time limit!  I hate lifts that lie to you.

So we rush down the stairs instead, dash through the Upper Mall and out onto High Street, and quickly across to the dance studios where the auditions were taking place.  And more stairs to climb!  Anyway, we get there just about on time, I think.

Then the calm... a nice wait in a room full of anxious little girls, fretting parents, and noisy siblings, while seen kids left and new ones arrived!  Eva-Jane immediately made a friend, of course, (Hi Xanthe!) and they spent the waiting time playing noughts-and-crosses on her mother's iPhone.

It was interesting to note how much, or how little, preparation some parents had done - at least one child was still in school uniform.  Come on...

Eventually she was called, ("Is it my turn?" "No you're next." ... "Is it me now?") and I like to think she made a good impression.

The trip home was a good deal calmer...   A call in at McDonalds as a treat for doing well, and we were home in plenty of time for bedtime!

I've got fingers crossed, but I'm not pacing anxiously waiting for the phone call - they were seeing a lot of kids there, and I've spotted notices of auditions for what looks like the same thing elsewhere in the country. I'd be fun if they pick her, and she'd love it if her friends see her on the telly, but we're not deluded enough to think she's got it in the bag just yet!

Thanks to TSA for sending us, and here's hoping for the next one !