The next time you see a het-up
customer howling at a bank teller don't be fooled - it could be professional actor Mark
Kempner putting someone through their paces.
His excuse for being downright rude is
that Mark is often called in to help companies and organisations with their
staff training. "I get as picky, obnoxious, pernickety
and pushy as requested," says Mark. "After all, that's what I'm being paid
Mark, owns corporate entertainment
and training company TrueView Events. He explains: "Sometimes it doesn't
matter what you say to Mr or Mrs Angry - they refuse to cool off. "Companies realise their staff have to
get them to calm down and the best way to do that is to train them to handle the
most angry or awkward of customers. That's where I come in."
One of his funniest
experiences was the day he had to have a run-in with a hotel receptionist. "I was
complaining about this, that and the other, posing as the moaning git from Room
134. "A couple was ear wigging and as I got
more and more angry they started to have a go too. I just carried on. The
manager stepped in eventually to explain we were training!"
Mark wasn't always a professional actor. He started out as an engineer and
worked at Gatwick airport for years, fixing everything and anything - from
baggage conveyor belts to aircraft loading bridges. With no formal training, he put
himself forward for various acting auditions and gradually the work started to come in,
as did a better and better agent. Mark is represented by Katie Threlfall
"I started off getting fringe
theatre roles and some TV commercials including the original Opal Fruits to
Starburst campaign. Featured roles in TV shows such as EastEnders, Holby City, The Darling Buds Of
May and The Bill soon followed.
"I started at TrueView Events and just
fell in love with the work which also gave me some diversity and regular wages." When the owner retired Mark bought the
company and since then has been developing it, broadening the work it does. These days much of Mark's time is
devoted to TrueView training.
He says: "As well as staff training we
do a variety of team-building events including murder mysteries and treasure
hunts, plus corporate party entertainment and film-making days. "We recently went to Qatar and I had
to write and create a James Bond spoof to launch a new Toyota in front of 2,500
"I employ about 20
professional actors and
actresses and we travel across the country working with businesses and even
local councils to help them get to grips with everything from snotty customers
to staffing issues and legislation."
His expertise in customer service
and corporate role play training has led Mark, who lives near Horley in Surrey, to become a bit of a stickler
for the highest standards in real life.
"I don't like to see poor
service, especially when its directed towards me. Some of these big shops have salespeople with no manners and little
regard for their customers. "I'm not frightened to step up if I
see someone being given a bad time or poor advice."
He still manages to fit in in the
more traditional acting work, though. "I've just played the role of an
cab driver in a feature film alongside Dustin Hoffman" "I'm also appearing in the next series
of Modern Toss on Channel 4 TV in January. It beats being an industrial engineer, that's for