Home Neighbours What it was like on Neighbours if you weren’t a star

What it was like on Neighbours if you weren’t a star

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Tomorrow night, when Neighbours draws to an end, all eyes will be on the Minogues and Donovans, whose careers were launched by the adored soap drama. And knowing about the humble beginnings of their favourite star has delighted spectators.

Little has been written, however, about all those other actors who, like myself, supplemented their incomes by taking on roles that, once finished, were incredibly forgettable.

The chess master playing against a young prodigy or the disability assessment officer were not to be mistaken with the scoutmaster. I have been all three in my time. Additionally, you had to stay nondescript for 12 months before you could be recast in case someone recalled your face.

Additionally, it meant that I was not asked to return for any of these roles or attend any reunions. There would never be a chance for a replay of the chess match. Although there was no actual dialogue in the portion, because of the nature of the part, it was only slightly noticeable. To lose with exactly the proper amount of ungraciousness required a lot of expertise.

The roles I did play were a step up from being a fill-in extra for the scenery, but they weren’t noteworthy enough to call for the character to be continued in any story line. The size of the role was indicated by the pay rate, which was based on the quantity of words. These are known as “fifty-worders” in the business.

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Is this all simply resentment, then? No. I have a face that is better suited for radio, but it was instructive to go behind the scenes and work in the business. Almost no time is lost between scenes or even within a scene.

There isn’t much time or room for pretence with an episode every week. The actors’ ability to shed their woollen coats before speaking and project a summertime warmth in the midst of a chilly winter shot speaks volumes about the artist’s commitment.

And the production’s organisation, including the clothing department, script writing, make-up, continuity, and scheduling, is astounding. These are the unseen heroes who keep everything running well despite never having their faces shown on film.

Many gaffers, gofers, and grips started their careers in the old Nunawading lot and eventually learned the craft there. Each director, agency, and artist had the opportunity to experiment and pick things up. The allure of taking a bus to Ramsay Street helped to boost even the tourist industry.

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