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Archive for the ‘1’ Category
Half Term is over having played its normal havoc with work. My worry this year is whether the jobs – including the flicker of corporate work that has amazingly crept back during January, be smothered by all the incessant reporting about the fragility of our emergence from recession and a possible imminent return not helped by the higher than expected inflation figures. Not reassuring. As soon as the economic doom and gloom hits the papers, the phone stops ringing. For now things are holding their own – just.
Suzie Kennedy did her Stella Artois commercial in the South of France – staying in The Carlton no less. There have been a couple of what were normal corporate jobs – Gill Penny as Posh being a mystery shopper in Swindon and Brad and Angelina – Sam Brown and Lina Sands – presiding over an awards ceremony for British Gas in Manchester. Sky used three sports stars for a new quiz show using, after much deliberation, Arsene Wenger (Marcus St. Claire he is quite the flavour of the year so far) Freddie Flintoff (Jon Burton) and Michael Schumacher (Karl Lasnier) back into the limelight. Plus holding until 3p.m. on the filming day in Pinewood – Johnnie Wilkinson Mathew Donnachie – whom they did not use but paid (or should I say) will pay a holding fee. I think they did that in case one of the 3 didn’t make it there or maybe in case they didn’t like the look of one of them. The show is presented by James Corden and all was fine and fun.
This week we have our first Lady Gaga lookalike booking for Ami James on Thursday – popularity of celebrities takes a long time to filter down and become a booking. I think to date we have 19 prospective Lady G’s and we know of 3 tributes – who do seem to be busy.
We have a job today for a new Lookalike couple Kate as Katy Perry and Chris as Russell Brand being used as a publicity stunt for Harvey Nicholls in Edinburgh – she will be wearing the sushi dress which the client is organising, thank goodness. Hopefully they may take the pressure off Brad and Angelina Lookalikes mainly because there is really only one Brad in the country that people want to book – Sam Brown – and he is racing from Liverpool to Vietnam to Quatar to London – and that was all last week. Sam has been on our books for years but the action has really hotted up during the past year recession or no recession. Good for him, tricky for his agents. Brad and Angelina have really stepped into Posh and Beckhams shoes recently. We also had hopes for Cheryl and Ashley Cole – but there you go not looking too hopeful as of today. Then there was Katie Price and Peter Andre. Have now got a great Peter and now we need Alex Reid – must be lots of those about – where are you. Email us your picture please.
So we are out of recession – its official – and yes we have seen a slight improvement with a few ‘back to the old days’ corporate jobs.
Yes we have actually gone the distance on some jobs while others – as is the way of the Lookeylikey world – hit the dust. The historical characters at the Natural History Museum for VW was done on Saturday. Hopefully (haven’t heard as yet) Tina Rath as Queen Victoria, Alan Flyng as Henry VIII, Bryan Richards as Shakespeare, Gary Barber as Einstein, Ian Beyts as Churchill and…. lucky guests the wonderful Steve Nallon very kindly filling in for Caroline Bernstein who was double booked as Lady Thatcher. We are on track for a good chunk of our Royal Family opening a new TK Maxx in Windsor tomorrow – more about that next week when it is safely under our belt.
The Katie Prices did not happen – postponed is the word so we are hopeful. The two Nike commercials were finally done – not without a struggle. Arsene Wenger – Marcus St. Clair ended up in Crystal Palace Sports Centre rather than The Emirates Stadium, Arsenal training ground in Hertfordshire or Old Trafford. They not only used Marcus as a ‘double’ for Arsene they then hired his suit for the man himself to wear when they shot him. Jeannette Charles finally did her part knighting a very famous Manchester United footballer in Manchester but the man himself turned out to be a lookalike only and not provided by us. Funny world. Will it ever be shown? We are still not sure if it is just for the European market and not the UK – Jeannette didn’t manage to find out despite spending nearly 3 days in the North. We don’t think that Jeannette has ever done a commercial for this country – loads for elsewhere in the world – so this could be a first.
We had a very last minute and tricky shoot for the Daily Mail following on the heels of the Jules Coll Irish SuBo sensation whose story was snapped up by The Mirror and then the whole world – amazing really exciting. The Mail wanted as many reality TV Lookalikes as we could find then and there. Tricky for us because the majority don’t get used very often even at the height of their fame and then disappear from us. In the end they shot another SuBo Julia Hutchinson as Jules Coll was still held under a Closer Magazine exclusivity clause, Mylene Klass – Clariza, Kirby as Alexandra Burke, Halima Moin as Cheryl Cole, Chris Ealdon as Joe McElderry and Sasha Gordon as Leona Lewis. We were still struggling with Gareth Gates and Nasty Nick. Whew – glad they went with 6 people – still has not appeared but we all keep looking. Watch out.
In the end John Brolly could not fit in with any re-enactment of the Chilcot Enquiry being a drama teacher in Cornwall is a commitment he takes seriously and his time off did not fit in with theirs, which was sad because John is a real enthusiast and more than ready to work although the opportunities for Blair at the moment as rather few and far between. On the whole its been a good start to the year – can’t believe I am saying that.(fingers crossed).
Well its mid January and we are still waiting to do our first job of 2010! Not a great start – but the one job we had for Maxine Barrie no less, first winner of ‘Stars in Their Eyes’, was postponed due to the client being stuck in Barbados with no idea when he would be granted a flight home. But the magic word is ‘postponed’ until May. Which was fine by all of us involved – snow and ice is not a good recipe for turning up on time without fail whatever the odds – which of course is expected.
So we had our Christmas break – most of which I used up by having a swine of a cold which waited until New Year’s Day when all my shopping and chopping and wrapping and cleaning and cooking and eating had finished.
We did manage a few extra jobs at the last minute, thanks mainly to the Concerto Group and we live to fight another day – or hopefully year.
The good news is that enquiries in comparison to this time last year are up 500% – we now just need some confirmations. But its a start and it has cheered us through these snowy dark days. We had a school work experience student here for the first 2 weeks of the year – not the best time to learn about a lookalikes agency – typical school completely out of synch with the real world.
Enquiries include a gaggle of Katie Prices for a job in Manchester: a singing Tom Jones for Cardiff: Liz Taylor for the Dorchester – where I think they are having quite a few lookalikes, sadly only one from us – its a self promotion evening; possible sporting doubling for Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger which seemed to be a goer but then last week’s weather put paid to anything outdoors ; a group of historical characters for a very welcome corporate job – 6 or them (my oh my almost like old times); Tony Blair in demand because of the Iraq War enquiry: Channel 4 after a Jamie Oliver again – but he has work committments – thats Charlie Frame not the real one; and then a possible commercial for a Queen (still to be decided) to knight a famous sports personality. I wonder how many of these will go the distance? I don’t really mind whether we actually do them its just good to be asked after last year’s drought. Thats actually not true – we need the money.
Well its December – but no sign of the Christmas season in the Event World – well certainly not in our sector. Yes possibly we have seen an upturn in enquiries but they are not for UK Christmas parties. So it looks as though this year is going to end – as it began – badly.
Last week we did have Alison Jackson strutting her stuff – this time for a Christmas spread for You Magazine depicting – ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Very difficult to do as very few of the characters actually exist as Lookalikes, so a lot of searching, casting, re-casting, wigs, make-up and prosthetics and photo-shopping before the finished article will appear in the magazine. We managed to supply Mike Golding as Brucie and Tanya Bates as Alesha and that was our lot. Three weeks it had taken. Lets hope the picture is amazing – the money we earned from it, considering the time spent on it, was appalling.
We had a nice shopping centre job for Kevin Spacey last weekend for Olympus – it was Graham Parker’s first job for us, but his clip on You Tube has already brought forth a torrent of favourable comments.
One of the few corporate party jobs that we do have this year is for Debbie Harry – Michelle Hendricks in Cambridge. Its taken most of the year to finalise and now Michelle’s Mum and Dad are not well and she is needed in Blackburn making it impossible for her to do the job. Unbelievable how during this year when work is gold dust how many people have let us down after the job is a real goer and contracted. If I want to be kind I suppose I can see their side of things where they have permanent jobs (which most Lookalikes do have) and instead of grabbing any extra bit of income that comes along they are more wary of hanging on to their proper jobs.
I don’t know how other Agencies are doing but for us it is so thin on the ground and whereas we should have 75 – 100 jobs for December we have, so far, around 10. But forever optimistic me – there still could be some last minute requests – Lookalikes can add to the festivities without costing an arm and a leg – if you choose wisely.
We have been lucky as far as the studio is concerned, either by Ellis or other hirers which is, perhaps, indicative of the wider world of advertising, marketing etc. being on the up. Tomorrow we have a film crew shooting a testimonial ad. for the British Heart Foundation hurray. Ellis has been busy – proving me right once again – that when advertising falls upon hard times the fashion industry still has to promote themselves. Twice a year after Fashion Week they have to show their wares so need phtographs taken. He has been shooting for some designers just finishing at The Royal College, a new magazine’s front cover using Josh Beech – one of the best British male models at the moment known for his part in the Levis campaign and some advertising shots for a jewellery range. We sent models for a Gillette commercial – amazing fees (for world wide usage) but sadly not successful this time. So it goes on – keeping our eyes and options open.
Finally I had my senior moment of all senior moments lets hope– on Sunday night I decided to race off to try to get to see Suzie Kennedy (Marilyn) in a play by Bonnie Greer called ‘Marilyn & Ella’. I arrived at the Palladium with minutes to spare raced towards the Box Office and was approached by a nice smart guy offering me one ticket (which he told me he had won from a radio ballot). I was very grateful and on sitting down in the Stalls found that I was about to watch ‘An Evening with Jack Jones’! I should have been at the Apollo. It was enjoyable though. Hopefully I will make it there next Sunday
We thought last week it would be full steam ahead for Christmas. Wrong! Still very quiet and anything that has come in has been discounted almost immediately because of cost. I know there are certain lookalikes around who are willing to work for nothing, but how can you be an agent providing a service, not getting the fun or ‘buzz’ of actually doing the job, or building up contacts and then not earning anything from it. Can’t happen. Back to the same old same old – are Agents outmoded, irrelevant or however you like to put it. Hope not, I’m going to hang on in there until the bitter end.
We were kept busy with an Alison Jackson casting for a ‘Strictly’ shoot. Difficult for us, hopefully difficult for our competitors. We have a few from the current series but no Tess Daley ( as a Lookalike put her next to Vernon Kay and everybody would know who she is) but as a blonde gorgeous girl not easy to differentiate a lookalike from those who look like – Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Chelsy Davy etc. We only had two candidates for Alesha Dixon and the one Alison preferred is speeding ahead with her own presenting TV career and so doesn’t want to be seen as a lookalike of somebody else. We don’t have any of the other male judges but we do have Brucie x 2 – which is something. Once again, this time with this Alesha Dixon Lookalike, we have a problem with a new lookalike deciding they want to give up before they have actually done a job. We are classed as an employment agency so we are bound by BERR regulations which insist we have a copy of people’s passports which puts a lot of people off straight away. I have also found recently people are unwilling to divulge normal personal details – like a postal address and date of birth. I find it so frustrating and I suppose it is because I lived the majority of my life before data protection became the watchword.
Moan, moan moan, but on the upside there do seem to be a few more enquiries for Christmas. I read in Event Magazine that clients (eg banks and city traders) are booking under pseudonyms rather than being seen to be spending money on Christmas parties and in fact I did an interview for the Weekend Financial Times about this – but have not seen it yet. Also we have rented out the studio for the whole of this week for Michael Joseph – my old boss for 20 years – to shoot an Evergood Coffee campaign – thank you Michael – every little bit helps.
Just trying to be positive and hope that once Christmas is almost upon us – people will be filled with Christmas cheer and decide a Lookalike would cheer everyone up – which they can – and book loads at the last minute. For ever the optimist. It was my birthday this week and I was amazed how many birthday wishes I had – thanks mainly to Facebook – maybe the recession has given us more time to think and perhaps many of my long term lookalikes have reflected on all the years we have been working together and how good those times were on the whole. I am sure they will return one of these days.
Strange sort of week – some good some not so good. Will update you next week when things have sorted themselves one way or another.
In the meantime thought I would let you see a Coterie of Cheryl Coles – see what you think.
Top of the disappointments list has to be the fab job for 4 Simon Cowells for the real Simon’s 50th Birthday Party – which did not happen for us. Apart from the financial side of things our guys were so upset and would definitely have done it for nothing. The change of mind was all to do with wanting up-front payment – fair enough I reckon in todays climate but not as far as the client was concerned. You would think that with such a bash a few lookalikes at their normal fees would have been a drop in the oceon. They actually had originally wanted 30 Simon Cowells (which we could not do) but in the end they sort of had their own way by dressing the waiters in ‘Simon’ masks. Hopefully this is not something that will be repeated elsewhere!
Last night gave us Alison Jackson’s South Bank Show showing her presiding over a casting session for Amy Winehouses. Sadly the Amy that Alison prefers to work with – Mary Jane McCurr was not part of the line-up as the budget could not stretch to Mary Jane’s travel expenses from Newcastle. But luckily for us – Alison still booked her for the actual shoot. The whole show was especially interesting to us, seeing some of the old images from her Royal College days when we first became involved with Alison. It must be all of a 10 year journey which has seemed, at times, a long and difficult one but long may it continue, as her work with Lookalikes has raised their profile tremendously. Thank you Alison.
One booking that cheered us up in a week of disappointments was a last minute booking for Alfie Walsham as Elton John for a film shoot for Lily Allen – with the blessing of Elton himself it is told.
Finally had the go-ahead for Elvis – Chris Connor who is just such a great Lookalike as well as being a tribute – quite unusual in the wacky world of Elvis impersonators – but I love them and so do millions of others. Check out his picture.
There is some work about – but its quite a struggle somehow and very last minute. Come back corporate please. I’m not sure I’m the only person with this plea. Went to ‘Square Meal’ exhibition this morning and it seemed very busy and bustling but the thought crossed my mind – of others I think as well – that it was busy because the visitors to the show didn’t have any work so were able to visit the exhibition. Lets hope I’m wrong and only a few more days and Yom Kippur will be over and we will have a clear run – except for Autumn Half Term until Christmas.
I hinted last week that Jeannette Charles had a supersonic job at Wembley on Saturday and yes, you were right, all of you that knew Coldplay were performing their final concert of their massive tour and to thank their crew they asked for ‘Her Majesty’ to present some awards. Which she did – how fabulous was that. I should have gone, and after watching the South Bank Show on Sunday – I did so wish I had gone. Another missed opportunity.
As I said we picked up a few bits and pieces along the way this week – Alison Jackson had a showing of her forthcoming South Bank Show at The Ivy on Wednesday and booked Amy Winehouse – Mary Jane McCurr who had to trek down from Newcastle again – not that she minded. Sadly Alison wanted an Andy Warhol as well, but our current guy Jamie Tibbett was too young for her. Don’t know if she found one elsewhere – would be interested – anybody out there looking like the older Warhol, quite an easy ‘dressing up’ character really. Alison had also shot Ronnie Wood at the end of last week for something or other – Sunday Telegraph I think – but it didn’t appear in last Sunday’s edition so will look again this week.
We also have a photoshoot for the TV Times using John Kerr as George Michael for an obsessed soap cast member – any ideas? Will give the answer next week – but no prizes.
So you can see the way work is at the moment media rather than corporate entertainment based. Jeannette Charles also did an article for ‘The Sun’ which should appear some time soon. Quite a little flurry for her since the Big Brother appearance – not bad to be busy working at 82
Things are just a bit slower than I would have hoped for. Maybe it’s the ‘nearly upon us Jewish Holidays’ always puts a bit of a damper on the proceedings in September. Lets hope so anyway, rather than any double dips or wobbles of the economy. Every time a statement is made concerning an upturn somebody comes straight back in with the possibility of a downturn of some sort. Makes it hard to be positive.
We have had a few nice happenings – Jeannette Charles is enjoying the fruits of her appearance on Big Brother and gave her Royal presence to the Boomerang Pet Awards that were held in Regents Park last weekend. Sadly – unlike Saturday – Sunday was chilly but having popped by myself – saw that a good time was had by all dogs (including corgis) children and Mums and Dads. She has another high profile award ceremony this coming Saturday at Wembley – top secret for now – I wonder who knows who else will be at Wembley on Saturday 19th September?
The Peter Andre scenario is done and dusted – thank goodness its over for us we don’t need the stress. In the end we provided only David Gest and Gok Wan with poor Christiano Ronaldo ( Scott Gillman) being sent home after 6 hrs of waiting as they did not have enough room for him in the line up. Show Business!
We have had a few new enquiries one being a request for 5 Simon Cowells – should be fun. My top of the range Elvis job still hanging in the balance. Didn’t get any Bonds – baddies or goodies for the Rennaisance Heathrow last Saturday – although somebody or bodies did the job we understand. Just had some requests for Disneyland Paris for December – nice. Got to see the new Piers Morgan – great, we are sure to get him work as lolong as there is work to give.
Have done a few magazine articles and working on some new ones. It would seem that our gossip magazines – if they can’t get the real celebrity are more than happy to go with the next best thing – a lookalike. Hurray.