If you missed Part 1 then you won't know that I've managed to get myself flown out to LA to film a presentation pilot for a TV show and that you join me as pre-production begins.
So after two days of writing and rehearsing Saturday arrived and it was, as they say, showtime. Or in my case the time to not look jet-lagged and blow peoples minds.
The whole premise for the pilot is that it's shot in the real world, so I found myself at a beautiful racetrack just outside of LA talking to jockeys, trainers, owners and punters as I attempted one of the biggest scale tricks I've ever done. What was it I hear you cry? Well I can't tell you... yet. I know, I'm such a tease.
So there I was, cameras rolling, sun shining and in front of me a proper crew, a director, a makeup artist and someone to fetch lunch for me. It was all a bit bizarre, all that for little old me. Shucks. It was one of those moments where you pinch yourself and can't believe all this is actually happening. You work for years to get something, and when it does it suddenly seems unreal, and also you suddenly find yourself looking at what's next. For me it was all about making this as good as it could be and hoping that it goes to series, so I can continue to live the dream I had as a small boy.
For years I've been doing the Edinburgh Festival, a place where I do all the work and am a massive control freak over everything, from set to lighting, sound to poster design. I now found myself in the position where it was time to give up some control and play the role of the performer, the person that all this is here for. Being British that ego enlargement doesn't come easy; I'm far too polite for it all. There was terribly awkward moment when I offered someone else the front seat in a car. I'm used to being stuck in the middle at the back because I barely take up one seat. But there I was in the front, with three burly blokes in the back. I felt bad. But also I had legroom and it was only a 10-minute journey. I could get used to that I suppose.
I had to put myself in the mindset of 'talent.' I'm no different to anyone else working on the show, but I was central to it all happening so I'll admit to one starry moment. There I was with a huge green screen behind me, a HD camera shooting in super slow-mo ahead of me, my producer holding a fan to blow wind, as I attempted to look sexy (my sexy face it turns out is very similar to my 'what's that strange smell?' face), doing my best Beyonce, all in a car park. In my mind for that brief moment I was king of showbiz; at least until some dude drove past, wound down his window, and shouted that I looked like a dick. That my friends, is showbiz.
So as quickly as it all started I found myself back on the airline of the year Air New Zealand. I strutted from their beautiful lounge to the plane in a small attempt to feel showbiz for one last time, and plonked myself into Business Premier cabin alongside some proper celebs on their way back from The Golden Globes. Some beautiful wine and a top notch meal later, I pressed a button to convert my seat into a bed, got under the thick duvet, drifted towards sleep and, as Carrie so often says in Sex and the City, then I got to thinking.
Why do I perform? Why do I do this? It's not to be a star, it's not to be famous, those are the strange by-products of what I really want to do, which is to entertain, to amaze, to get people to question the world around them and to make them think that they love Cox. Am I a star yet? Of course not, but perhaps, I'm one step closer to getting to live the dream.
To be continued...
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