(“Work”). I have been unemployed long enough to realize I don’t really want a proper job and money and all that, like the rest of the hamster people on the universal treadmill. Of course, the only way out – at least for now – is to sell my body. So that’s what I’m doing. In fact, I’m going one better, by selling my personality as well.
To advertisers. And movie moguls.
Job number one: flirter. I registered with a casting agency, and they phoned me up about a week later, asking me to audtion for an advert for Statoil that, according to my contract, will be broadcast on TV, cinemas and on the internet. The audition went well and I was picked for the part. I didn’t have to speak any Norwegian, as the advert is all visual, a bit like a silent movie. I presume there’ll be music playing over it. This is one of these ads that tells a story. It’s set in an office. The main character is walking through, looking at people. I play someone slacking off, drinking coffee and flirting with a girl in the kitchen. This was fairly easy to do. Everyone was very nice. The director was actually a film director; apparently it’s normal in Norway for adverts to be directed by the nation’s movie directors. Afterwards I went out to dinner with my co-star.
Job number two: wedding guest. I responded to an online ad. A film company was looking for extras for a feature film. I emailed them some digital photos, and I was selected. I played a guest at a wedding. This took place about a 40-minute drive outside Oslo, by the shore, at a beautiful funkis building (funkis is defined as “ the white-stuccoed, more or less geometrical architecture that exemplified the 1930s Scandinavian Modernism“). I appear in five or six scenes. For instance, I take a picture of the bride and groom cutting the cake (I took the actual photograph to be used as a film still). The film is called Reprise and is directed by Joachim Trier. This is his first feature, but he has won international awards for his short films, and that has guaranteed a big budget for this project. Great things are expected, and I’ve been told it’s a kind of melancholy comedy, quite different from the “cosy” comedies of Norwegian cinema.
How to live and work in Norway:
What makes it easy for me to do all this is the fact that I am Irish, therefore a “citizen” of the European Union. Three countries outside the EU – Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – have an agreement with the EU called the EEA (European Economic Area). This means that EU citizens can live and work in those countries. I am entitled to job-seek for up to six months in Norway. If I found no work I would have to leave, but there is no rule to say how long I must stay away. I could, for example, go on a day trip to Sweden.
There are three pieces of paper I need to be resident in Norway. The first is the skattekort, the tax card. Now that I have done some legitimate work in Norway, I have obtained my skattekort from my local tax office (likningskontor). The second thing I need is a “first-time residence permit”. I went to the Police’s immigration office. I was told that if I have a regular employer, they should fill out a form called an ansettelsesbevis. Otherwise I should come back in two months with evidence of all the freelance work I do. The last thing I would have to do is register at the folkeregister (“people registry”), which in Oslo is in the same office as the likningskontor. Then I would have a citizen’s ID-number. I already have a special kind of number called a D-number, which I obtained when I opened a bank account. This has turned out to be very handy, as it is more important than the skattekort when getting paid for some one-off jobs.