Dodgy motorPosted: March 17, 2023 Filed under: AUSTRALIA, Self improvement | Tags: revheads, inspo, actor's life, gigs, motor show, presenting, good casting, Lou Pollard gigs, inspirational jobs, cars 3 Comments
When my TV acting work dried up, I worked at corporate presenting even though I had the wrong wardrobe.
I landed a presenting gig and thought I was ready to become an expert. I’d been booked to pontificate on a raised platform at a huge car stand at the annual glitzy Sydney motor show. On the hour for 8 hours, I had to deliver a heavily scripted 20-minute talk on a new zippy car aimed at young singles. In the land of the non ironic mullet wearing petrolhead I had to make the car sound attractive to 20 somethings who were buying their first brand-new car. I was 36, my de facto was sending secret late night texts to a younger woman and I’d been up all night breastfeeding my second child. Did I mention I know nothing about cars? And I don’t want to? And I don’t care about engines.
My first attempt at the talk was for 30 car dealers from around the country. Experts in their field. I forgot the script, couldn’t remember the key selling points, and didn’t know how to use the wipers. I lacked enthusiasm. I don’t own a car, I couldn’t give a rats about a piece of machinery but I had an unemployed partner with a dope addiction and our kids to support. I needed the money. An entertainment agent was paying me $800 for an eight-hour day. I could inhale fumes for 10 days.
On a break, I met a nice dark-haired man in the dressing room. He smiled and said hello.
“What do you do?” he said.
“I’m talking about a new car. What do you do?”
“I drive cars.”
“You race them?” I said.
“You get paid to drive? That’s cool. I love driving manual cars.” And I prattled on about being a secret rev head while he listened patiently. There was an awkward silence, then he handed me a bottle of water. We walked out together and I heard,
“Ladies and gentlemen the champion of motorsports. Marcus Ambrose.”
There were about 300 people waiting for him in a queue.
After six days, a younger guy who knew about cars replaced me on the podium. I’m surprised it took them that long.