In production you're sometimes put in pretty random positions. My first ever day on my first ever shoot was in 2003, and I was bouncing Keith from The Office upside-down on a bungee cord, and trying to get him in shot whilst he did a hiccup. Since then I've needed to turn camels into dinosaurs and memorably figured out how to put an iceberg on Dubai Creek.
One of my first random requests was when I was helping out on a short film, a cute little graduation piece at the London Film School, called Kritzi the Little Goat. It's about a man stuck working in a boring office, dreaming of living in the Swiss Alps sorting out goat problems.
Hmm. It made sense at the time anyway.
So my job was to find a goat, and that goat needed to be in our studio in Covent Garden next Tuesday. I sat in front of my computer, hands hovering over the keyboard, Google blinking away at me as I sit there staring, trying to figure out that perennial problem that we’ve all faced over the years – where can I find a goat in London that I can borrow next week?
And how do I phrase that to the goat owner?
Eventually I discover a new world in London, a goat utopia if you will, known as city farms. London at the time had 6 of them, and I found their websites and found that yes, some of them had goats. Goat rental wasn't on their website so I gave them a call, a quick rundown of the script, and asked how I might be able to get their goat. One kindly agreed.
Tuesday came around, and after various negotiations, Violet the Little Goat arrives on set. She looks around, poops everywhere and bleats. Yup, she's definitely a goat so that box is ticked. The handler then says that Violet needs some milk, from a bottle, and we can't start filming without that.
Director looks at me, I shrug and run out of the door and head to Boots to find a baby bottle that's goat-appropriate. I'm sure that's listed on the side somewhere.
Then one of my most delightfully random moments in life happens, as I bump into my old primary school friend Arianna outside Covent Garden station, and I'm in a hurry, despite this being our first time meeting in about five years… resulting in, and I quote…
“Wow, Arianna, great to see you… um, sorry I have to go and buy a milk bottle for a goat, I'll explain another time, bye” and off I went, an understandably mystified Arianna fading off into the distance.
Finally the filming happened, and Violet the Little Goat performed perfectly. And in the credits, I'm just above her as “Office Man #1” – which is, to date, my acting peak.