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It was a Wednesday afternoon, around 1ish, that my cell phone rang as I was busy retouching some work.  I glanced over and saw the infamous  “BLOCKED” logo flashing on my phone.  I looked at it for a moment and just thought to myself, “Do I really want to answer this?”  I was in the middle of some serious “crafting” of the image I was working on and didn’t want to get side tracked.  But the annoying escalating ring tone won and I answered it in my usual- I am busy and your bothering me tone- “This is Bryan…”

 

A young female voice spoke, “Hi this is Kate and I am calling to see if you would be interested in being a judge on a reality show?”

 

First thing that went thru my mind was, “What the f#$k?”  Then I thought maybe someone was playing a prank on me.  Then I realized I hadn’t said anything yet… “ Are you serious?” was the only thing I could come up with.

 

She replied, “Yes!”

 

So I said something like, “ I need to know a little more about what kind of show it is and what it is about.”

 

Kate quickly said something to the effect of, “Well I can’t really talk about it with you.”

 

And I quickly said back, “Well then, I can’t give you an answer…”

 

She said she had to ask her boss if it was “OK” to give me some details on the show and she would call me back.  She hung up as I was just staring at my monitor in a bit of a daze. “ How f^&king RANDOM was that!” were the first words out of my mouth as I put down the phone.  I chuckled to myself and shook it off and got back to the task at hand.  Retouching!!!!

 

About twenty minutes later as I was “blending and brushing at 500 percent magnification” the phone rang again.  Now I have to stop and just fill you in on a few things about me…  I “HATE” talking on the phone!  It is just something I don’t like to do. I understand it is a necessity and I do respect it.  So I accept it, but don’t like it!  I like engaging with people “eye to eye” and watching and reading them as they talk or engage with me.  It is just the way I am.  THUS, I also “HATE” Face book and all other sorts of “non- engaging” social media BULLSHIT!  It is just a F^%king waste of my time! You want to get “a hold” of me… then do it! Don’t make me go to some f^%king website to “talk with you” or “see you”…  It is just counter productive in my mind.  Why in the hell didn’t you just call me directly or email me if you have to?  Please can someone answer this for me?  Really!!!

 

Ok…I am done with my little “rant and rave session.”  And, YES, I do feel abit better…

 

Thanks for asking….

 

Anyway…The phone was ringing AGAIN and it was blocked AGAIN!  So I answered it AGAIN!

 

“This is Bryan…”

 

“Hi, Bryan this is Sonja with FogHound Studios in Jo Burg,” a voice said quickly on the other end of the phone. “We are making a reality show about photography and wanted to know if you would be interested in being a judge on the show?”  Now it may have not been “word for word” what Sonja said, but you get the jest of it.

 

I think I said something like, “How did you guys find me?”

 

Sonja said something like, “We have been researching SA photographers and you keep coming up.”

 

“Oh, Ok then… It sounds interesting, so sure I am interested,” was something near to my reply.

 

Sonja then says she want to know if I would fly to Jo Burg and have an “on-camera test” and meeting with everyone.  I said, “Sure.” And that was that.  Later that day I got an email saying they had booked me a flight on Friday morning to fly up and meet them.  I was to bring some changes of clothing and some examples of my work.  Little to say it was hard to get back into the “groove” of retouching after all this…

 

So Friday morning early I get up and make my way to the airport.  It was cold and raining as it was in March.  And this is where it all gets a bit interesting…  We are boarding at the gate and getting on the bus to get to the plane.  There are some people behind me who aren’t happy about something.  Next thing you know, an argument is occurring and then all hell breaks loose!  People are being pushed and yelling and all sorts of shit is going on.  I have NO IDEA what is really happening as I just quickly got onto the bus and got as far away as possible.  Our bus then closes the doors and we are on our way to the plane.  Just for the record I still don’t know what that was all about!  People are very strange at early hours in the morning I have noticed over my years of traveling…

 

Anyway… The bus takes us past this old looking plane.  It has no logos or identification on it at all.  It looked like a cargo plane or something like that as it is just plain white.  I was literally thinking to myself, “Thank God we are not flying on that scrap heap,” when the bus stopped right next to it.  My heart sank and I think I may have said this out loud, “You have to be F%&king kidding me!”  The doors open to the bus and I just kind of stood there. I hop off and am guided to the back of the plane since there are no stairs to get into the front of it.  I am still questioning whether I should just hop back on the bus as this all feels very weird and strange.  As I walk around the planes wings we get to the back of the plane and the engines are on and warming up.  Now this may sound like a good thing, but not really.  As I walk around the wing, I get hit with a F$%king hot wind that almost pushes me down onto the wet ground!  I saw the lady in front of me almost wipe out, as water is being pushed along the ground and thrown into the air all over everyone!  I try and gather myself so I don’t end up on the ground or 20 meters away rolling like tumbleweed in a dust storm!  This is fucked up!!  REALLY!  Then I lookup and see that we are all entering the plane thru the tail…. I instantly get vivid flashes of cows being herded into long metal corrals and the sounds of saw blades are ringing in my ears!!!  “We are all gonna die!” was what I said.  No one could hear me as the engines where so f^$king loud.  But I knew!  As I get near the stairs, I get in the “sweet spot” and the hurricane gale force wind stops instantly!  Everyone in front of me is trying to piece themselves back together as they walk the steps to hell.  The lady’s hair behind me looks like the blow-drier attacked her and she got one-hell-of-a ass kicking!  I turn back around and look up, as it is my turn to step into the one-way death machine destined to oblivion… I ask the stewardess why we didn’t enter from the front of the plane and she just give me a fake-ass smile and asks me to take my seat.  I realize my seat is only a few rows from the back where we all are entering.  I sit down and belt up. As I sit down, I start to think about what all this means or doesn’t mean.  I instantly try to come up with something positive to get my mind off the fact I have voluntarily got on a plane to die! Then it hits me!  In all the airline crash pictures and TV footage I have seen the back end of the plane is usually in one piece!  So at least I am sitting in the “good” part of the death trap…That makes me feel a little better…

 

20 minutes later we are starting to move on the tar mack.  We taxi into position and out of nowhere the pilot f$#king guns it! I seriously didn’t expect that nor did any else as soft yells were drowned out by the extreme whining of the engine above my right ear.  I grip my armrest and look out the window.  I am thinking something like, “ Well, if this is it I hope it is quick and fast…” The glance over at the guy next to me and he is concentrating on the headrest in front of him while white knuckling his armrest as well.

Then it happens… we are air borne!  So far so good…. whew.

 

So after I pull my heart out of my throat and breathed, I decided a little bit of relaxing music was in order.  I pull out the ole ipod and turn it on.  The song that started to play was “way to appropriate” for what was happening!  It was a sign!!!  Another in the long journey I had taken thus far this morning. All telling me to “get the f^%k off this plane!”  But did I listen…. Not a chance in hell boys…. not a chance in hell.  By the way, the song was by White Lies and the track was called “Death”.  And the reoccurring lyrics were “the fear has got a hold on me…” Tell me how strange you would feel?  Honestly…

 

Yeah, I thought so…

 

I will now fast forward for you.  Turbulence.  A warm orange juice. To early for a REAL drink.  Snoring from my left. And two hours of holding a piss because I was afraid at this point I may be sucked out the toilet as we are about to land in Jo Burg.  The landing was so fast and hard I think my spleen hit my spine and I may have lost an inch or two in height, but we were still in one piece!  The guy next to me sleeping loudly got one hell of a shock when we hit!  I just watched him as we landed and he got about a good 6 inches off his chair he was so shocked by the rude awakening…. Funny to watch though…

 

Oh yeah, did I tell you the name of this airline yet?  I now understand completely why they are called, “One-Time Airlines!”  How ironic wouldn’t you say…?

 

Ok, so I we land and pull up next to the gate. Everyone is just in shock and kind of looking dazed and confused as they try and find their things. This is what it must feel like after a terrorist attack, I am sure of it…  I can read the advert now, “Fly One-Time Airlines and train for “worst case scenario” terrorist simulations… terms and conditions apply… not for anyone with heart conditions… young children welcome.”

 

So EVERYONE stands up at the same time and all looks at each other as they rush for the center isle.  I always just sit and watch… The mass public are really not that cleaver…just an observation.  It turns out we all have to leave thru the back of the plane.  Now clearly, at this point I have made up my mind that the front door of the plane just doesn’t open!  It is that simple!  But, lucky for me I was only about 3 rows from the tail exit.  And I was quickly at the front of the line to get out and off the Satan’s toy jet!  As I start to walk down the stairs, it all comes back in a rush of quick cut frames…. The hurricane force winds where back as I saw a guy about eat it as he tried to get out of the engine jet wash!  Holy shit!  Here we go again…  Imagine this.  Imagine standing in front of a 20-foot tall hair dryer and your so-called best friend turns it on high and laughs as you try and not fall down.  This would be a perfect gag for “JackAss”.  This is what was going to happen to everyone on this plane…And we all paid for this!

Well, after the “blow job” I was pretty much ready for whatever the world could throw at me! After all it was only 8am!  I get my luggage, which I do have to say was there and waiting for me.  A first! No wait,  “the One Time” is has happened.  Something had to get better, right?

 

My driver guy is waiting with a sign for me… At least I think it is me, since they ALWAYS spell my fricking name wrong.  Anyway… we figure out it is me and we are on our way to FogHound Studios.  Turns out about half way there, the driver asks me if I know how to get to the location.  Not the best way to instill confidence with me at this point.  I kindly say “NO!” He then pulls over and gets out the map book.  I am sure I was thinking something like this at that very moment, “Oh, for f^%k sakes!

 

A half an hour later.  Three tours past the same Shell Station and we are at the gates to the studios.  I get my stuff and thank the guy for getting me there.  I walk in and I swear I felt like it was 6pm, not 9am… I tell reception who I am and take a seat.  Soon after a crew of 5 or 6 people surround me and all say their names at once.  Making it nearly impossible to remember anyone’s name.  Great!  I look like hell. Feel like death warmed up. And now everyone will think I am dumb as well!  PERFECT!!! What a way to impress everyone!

 

We all go to the boardroom and they ask me how my trip was…. Imagine that!

 

Well I told them everything in detail, just as I told you…  They were laughing and having the best time at my expense… So I think they like me at this point.  I mean it really is pretty funny when you think about it all…NOW anyway.

 

So I go thru and do my “on camera test” and read all my lines as they wanted me to.  I really enjoy this as it has been quite a long time since I had to memorize and say lines.  Takes me back to my old acting days in LA… Those were very cool times.  Hard, but very cool!  So we finish up there.  Everyone is really liking what I have done and me in general.  So I am thinking, “Maybe I have a real chance at getting this.”  Why not, right?

 

I talk with everyone for hours and then it is time for me to head back to the airport.  Turns out one of the guys there offers to drive me back which was very cool of him. At least he knows where the airport is!  Also turns out I came back on British Airlines.  So the plane had some paint and a logo.  Also a flight number and we entered thru the front of the plane to boot!  Got to sit next to some hot chick and they served me good food for free!  Now this is what I am talking about people!!!  F$%king service!!!

The two hours when quickly and so did the conversation with the hottie next to me.  Landed in Cape Town and it was sunny and beautiful.  I turn on my phone and there is a message on my voice mail.  I am walking from the plane to the building when I hear the message.  It goes something like this, “ Hi Bryan.  This is Grant Edmunson.  I saw our screen test and your work.  I want to welcome you to Sharp Shooter!”  A little “Tiger Woods fist pump” and I was grinning from ear to ear!  I called him back straight away and said, “It would be an honor!”

 

And that is how I got the role as lead judge on SharpShooter SA.

 

Stay tuned as I tell you guys about some of the filming of SharpShooter…Oh my…

 

All the best,

Bryan