So I get this phone call and a chipper young man asks me if I am a fly fisher. Uh huh, I say and he proceeds to tell me that I'm being contacted because I signed up to be an extra for the TV series Portlandia a few years ago and in the questionnaire I mentioned I fly fish. I'm not calling about Portlandia, but rather a commercial that's casting and needs a fly fisher. I agree to an audition in a couple of days and then get an email that tells me where to report and to come dressed and "with gear." A feeble attempt at humor, it goes on to say that they can't promise any fish.
Three days later I'm sitting in a basement office with a dozen other folks waiting to be auditioned for the same commercial. Most are 20 something women for the roles as bridesmaids. A few 30-40 something men dressed casually but some no doubt with a change of clothes for the business traveler parts. And then this older dude dressed in waders, carrying a fly rod and looking like he made a wrong turn and ended up on a sound stage instead of a river.
Everyone in the room, save the chipper young man who called and is acting the role of secretary, photographer, greeter, organizer...everyone else in the room is consumed by their smart phones. Nobody speaks. I finally get another guy in the room to smile at me because he sees the ridiculousness of my predicament and realizes that I must be warm and there is nobody else in the room for the fly fisher role but me. But he soon gets comfortable with his head buried into his small screen. So on the click and slide, and push with their fingers, never looking up, never realizing who is with them and seemingly consumed by their devices.
I've heard about this. How social media is really anit-social media. How people actually believe that we are living in a much more connected time but in reality we are alone while together.
Now this commercial is for a large hotel chain and it obviously will center on all the types of people that depend on said organization to make their events, pastimes, lifetimes function smoothly.
Funny thing is that older fly fishers are being featured a good deal these days in advertisements. Especially medical ads. I sit at home and laugh when one of these commercials graces my TV screen.
They usually get it all wrong. Only rarely does the older gent look realistic, know what he's dong,, and knows how to hold or otherwise manipulate the equipment. A recent ad for Oregon health care actually featured an excellent fly caster. No pressure here. I doubt I'll get the call back. But if I do, it'll be a chance to bring some more authenticity to the production values. I hate that it's non-union, but the pay is good.
I'm sure this little flirtation with the image factory is all but done. Time for the real fishing to begin.