Apr 7, 2016

crazy summer : KY baby

I got cast in an acting role in a French commercial in January. I audition involved holding a baby doll, and acting surprised (but delighted) that the French babies were singing 'La vie en rose.'

When I got there they said, 'you and Amanda are going to be in the taxi.' I figured we'd be walking from the taxi into the hospital doors. Then someone asked, 'are you a dad?' I'm not, but there was a midwife on staff to tell me how to hold a baby. With one hand, one KY jelly covered hand.

I had to hold a baby, both of us covered in KY Jelly, at an unnatural angle in front of the camera, whilst also holding the prosthetic umbilical in place i.e. it would be easier if I had three hands. "You look like you're pushing the baby away from you", the director said.
At one point the midwife in charge of safety on the set stopped the shoot, because she was worried that the baby's shoulder would be dislocated due to the unnatural angle at which she was being held. The baby was pretty chill (although this was the first time's in my life that I'd held a baby, so what would I know?) Even when they were spraying sweat into the baby's eyes she wasn't crying. Eurghh, the script required her to cry; at one point I just had to hold her in front of the camera waiting for that the happen :( One of the crew members said, 'well this can't be more traumatic that being born...'

During the break I said to Amanda, 'who's baby is this?!??!' Amanda's make up was quite realistic, she looked very hot, as in bothered. Amanda had to hold the baby's bum, I had one hand on the umbilical (was was made of rubber, slathered in KY), the other hand trying to locked around the baby's shoulder, the way the midwife had shown me. The baby was actually amazing thru all of this. I enjoyed working with the baby.

The director was outwardly happy with how it turned out. He asked for a round of applause for everyone, and walked across the parking lot to fist-bump my KY-coated fist. I went to wash the KY off — it was caked so think that it took five minutes. When I was walking back from the set, the director was in front of me. 'He was nervous, and there was nothing I could say...', and not in the compassionate way that those words could be read, he was just pissed. I was gutted; that half hour trying not to hurt the baby had been so stressful, hearing him say that made blood boil.

As I left the film set, I ran into the midwife. 'Don't let this put you off fatherhood,' she said.
I ended up going to a beach, sitting on the sand, trying to calm down. Then as I drove home over the Harbour Bridge, this was playing:

I bought two litres of OOB liquorice ice cream for dinner. In the parking lot anacquaintance was singing Scribe's 'not many, if any' to her kids. I couldn't sleep that night, I was so wired.

The next day I said to my brother, 'don't send a bachelor to do a dad's job.'

I emailed my agent about it, who didn't reply. Fuck the tv and film industry.

Whenever I tell this story, people say, 'did you drop the baby!?' In the break for the 'potential shoulder dislocation', the baby was lying down, in the back of the minivan between Amanda and I. And I held my hand over her heart.

Here's the ad:

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