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  • Writer's pictureMariska Venter

My first acting gig (7deLaan)

I would not label myself as an actress because I have no training or experience in acting. The only exposure I have is from my days at school when I took part in school plays.

So it’s safe to say that this experience was one that was completely out of my comfort zone and one of the biggest challenges I have faced this year.

I went for the casting of the role of a girl in a wheelchair, who is positive, full of life and has a big message of hope to share. Her name is Eugenie.

I immediately related to her, we were alike in so many ways but mainly because Eugenie was sending a message which I also stand for, so it was absolutely something I wanted to do.

After my audition, I received a call that 7de Laan chose me for the role of Eugenie and I could not believe it, I knew I had no experience and somehow they still chose me. Naturally, I was happy and I instantly felt so grateful for the opportunity.

Never in my wildest dreams did I or anyone in my family think that I would be on a television series, let alone one of the most well-known productions in the country.

Day 1 on set was nerve-racking. I was physically shaking and felt like I was going to be sick, I still remember the Director asking if I was nervous because they could see the menu shaking as I was holding it.

But eventually, as the days went on, I grew accustomed and more relaxed. I actually started to enjoy it!

Things I never knew about acting

The episodes are not shot in chronological order. As an actor, you have to keep reminding yourself where you are at in the storyline. Actors work really long hours. Some days we barely have time to go to the bathroom with a schedule packed with hair and makeup, wardrobe changes, reading lines, blocking, etc. Your entire day is non-stop! Even though it’s not live TV there are only three takes per scene. Maybe more if there was a big problem but you still have to make sure you did it perfectly the first time around because they don’t want to spend too much time on any scene. It’s really quiet on set. Now I know you are thinking, of course, that’s obvious. I knew it had to be quiet on set but I did not know the extent of the silence, you can literally hear yourself breathing and it makes everything so awkward because the entire crew is focused on you. The set is a lot smaller compared to how big it looks on tv. It’s actual drinks and food that you can eat and drink. you don’t really get a chance to practice your scenes with the other actors, maybe on the day when you have time you will read lines together but you won’t go through the movements and structure of the flow of the scene so you figure that out together just before production starts.

Things I loved about acting

‘Behind the scenes’ was my favorite part of being an actress. I love talking and joking around with the crew on set and the other actors. It’s so much fun especially the amazing people I got to work with. I loved seeing how everything comes together to eventually show the episode you see on tv every day. You get to be a different person for the day.

Not only was this my first acting gig but it was also my first on-screen kiss.

Out of everything I was the most nervous about these scenes.

I know how to kiss but I have no idea how to kiss beautifully, I’ve never watched myself kissing someone so I don’t know how it looks. Also, I’ve never kissed any guy before with an entire “audience” watching you in complete silence. The only thing you hear is the kissing sounds!

Yesss I was sure that this would be the most awkward moment I would experience in my life.

Before I tell you how the scenes were, I want to share with you some things about on-screen kissing that I did not know.

No tongue ever / unless it’s in the script and you have been asked by the Director. You don’t practice kissing with your partner off-camera, this just ensures that you stay professional and when you eventually do kiss it’s you being in character. You kiss a lot longer onset than what is shown on tv. While you are kissing the director might speak and direct you on to move your head or your hand so it’s very technical. It’s not romantic or a special moment between two people at all. You are in a room full of people watching so there are no sparks flying.

So first kissing scene I was of course very nervous but Andre Lotter who plays Rickus, the guy Eugenie, my character falls in love with, was so sweet and patient and made me feel as relaxed as possible.

And then we did it I had my first on-screen kiss and it was actually not that awkward. It was okay. It was really weird knowing everyone is looking at you and that it was so quiet so you could just hear you kissing and it also felt so long before the director said cut.

I’ve learned so much of the “acting world “ during this time and I have so much respect for actors now, their job is not easy at all !!

I had a blast with everyone on set, it was so fun to be part of a series that I watched growing up and I will never forget this experience.

Thank you to everyone who supported Eugenie and who loved her in the series. I read every comment and message and I loved hearing your thoughts on the storyline and your opinion on Eugenie.

To Eugenie, you are such a kind loving person with such a big heart, you inspired me to be a better person.

Thank you to the 7de Laan team for inviting me and welcoming me into your family.

- Keep Shining

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