Don't worry folks this is not a mix up with one of those well known
dating websites, but a musing on how one's personal life can effect
your acting career...
On my recent exploits gadding about on student films, I worked with a
couple of actors who were quite surprising. Not in their acting style
or approach to film making, but their age. I consider doing 'expenses
only' films a viable option for a recent graduate looking for
experience, or material for a showreel, especially when the location is
only 20 minutes away by train. Yet one of the actors had driven for
over three hours and was only taking part in a 5 minute film! Another
had travelled for over two hours and when I discovered she was 30, I
was more than a little surprised. Now I am in no way insinuating that
being 30 is 'over the hill' but in terms of doing 'expenses only'
films, surely there must come a point where enough is enough? I think
if I was doing an 'expenses only' film when I was 30, I would have
reconsider my career path and reassess if what I was aiming for was
actually achievable. However, by the time I'm 30, I would have been in
the business for nine years and so I think that kind of evaluation
would be justified. On the other hand I am aware that actors can
graduate at any age, or if you are trying to break into the industry
later in life, then obviously the need for experience would validate an
This week I turned down an acting job. It was a tough decision I was
quite reluctant to make but if I had accepted I would have trundled
into the new year with money worries rather than high spirits and new
hope for the future of my career. The company that offered the job made
it very clear beforehand that the pay was below Equity minimum but I
felt I should audition for the production all the same, if not just for
the experience. There was also a part of me that didn't want to think
about the financial implications and hoped the money fairy might visit
People have said they believe my decision to have been 'brave' having
witnessed my obsessive and dedicated job hunt. Although it did take a
lot to actually say 'no thank you', I don't think courage has much to
do with it. As we are our own businesses, my decision simply saved my
business from sinking before it's even set sail. If it was a show and a
part I felt really passionate about it might have been a different,
more difficult story. I am not a fan of walking-ego-actors who only
have sights set on The National and wouldn't have even considered the
show I was offered. I will do what I can do, when I can do it and if I
don't think it detrimental. Rome wasn't built in a day and all that.
I hope everyone is fine and getting excited about the festive season beginning a month today and obviously the birth of that guy who wore alot of white. But I'm guessing you're thinking more about the random title of this blog... and so you should.
But don't worry Tony B hasn't been living it up in LA ordering ladies of the night Angus Deayton style. I just thought as last week's new look Stage was all about the joys of light entertainment, I would mix it up with concentrating on the darker side of entertainment in this joyous, caring, credit crunch fighting industry we all deeply love (said through gritted teeth).
Now I do love a bit of light entertainment, Siegfried and Roy's act never hurt anyone did it. Oh it did? Well moving on, Cannon and Ball are harmless! But I seem to be drawn to the darker side of things when it comes to entertainment, and oh how there is alot of it around! Whether it is good is the question though. What makes a dark piece of theatre, a shocking film or a tv show which challenges you in that way good?
Ever wondered if the state of your bedroom reflects the state of your
life? In my case, I think it is a perfect comparison - disorganised,
messy and filled with random objects. There is the occasional nod
towards order and a good intention; a pile of files and paper, a music
stand with a book open ready to be practised, and the odd tap shoe
lying around in a discarded fashion. However, these good intentions are
surrounded by everyday detritus; clothes, bags, bits of paper, unopened
mail and a calendar that's two months behind. This therefore results in
the inability to find anything, creating an infuriating sense of
frustration at my own laziness. It is unfortunately a vicious circle.
Now I bet people have been searching for my face on the side of milk cartons and on posters stapled onto lamposts. But fear not, I am not missing ... it has just been a crazy few weeks professionally and personally and I haven't been able to fill my blogging duties as well as I had wished. So as I owe the world 2 blogs, I shall try and make this one doubley good!
I thought I would shy away from the current affairs which I seem to have favoured in the past few blogs, instead I am going to use what I have learnt from my absence in the past few weeks and create this weeks blog. Everyone comfortable? Good, lets begin!
As I said the past few weeks has brought up a few issues in my personal life, and it affected the way I thought about my own life and how I saw my career.
I am feeling particularly proud of myself today after a good audition
and yet my excitement feels somewhat marred by a conversation I had
this week that has plagued me since. I was asked two questions, in
frighteningly quick succession of each other, which filled me with
absolute dread. Both, I should point out (although it will probably be
alarmingly obvious to those in the know) were asked by non actors.
The first question was raised after I had bored these friends to
death with somber tales of actor unemployment and the weariness of
waitressing. It was a horrific enquiry that crushed my very soul...
many years could you keep going this way before you call it quits?"
I nearly choked to death in shock.
Throughout my time at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, several people on my course expressed the wish that they had undertaken the three year BA course rather than the MA in Acting. This was mostly due to the advantage of having three years worth of training and experience rather than "cramming" as much as possible into one year. I, on the other hand, have never once regretted choosing to do a postgraduate course.
I have been to my fair share of talks and workshops with industry experts - with my handbag stuffed full of headshots and pen and paper at the ready, hoping to jot down an acting epiphany. To be honest, I have always been dubious of the companies that take our hard earned, out-of-work-actor, dead end job money for such events. I always imagine they have been set up by some fat cat who smokes cigars and lounges in swivel chairs, cashing in on our vulnerability and 'keen to be seen' mentality...
In an industry where so much emphasis is put on image, it is important for pop singers to keep in shape. Even the initially "ordinary" Girls Aloud succumbed to the pressure and became extremely thin; but it was pleasant to see that the performers at the MTV Awards this week were slim without being emaciated. But how does this same consciousness of image translate into the acting industry?
I may not be reaching the heights of thespian success just yet, but in my waitressing career things are going rather well!
For someone with writers block I seem to have an awful lot to blog about. However, 'bloggers block' is not the issue. In a few days it's the deadline for Paines Plough's emerging playwright competition (Future Perfect 09) and so far I only have three quarters of a play to my name. I'm sure that most of the applicants for next years amazing one year attachment with the company will have had a variety of their work to choose from and the right play in the bag for a long time...
Well I do believe my title does sound like the name of a rubbish crime fighting duo, but oh no it is the names of those two harmful, hurtful, horrid presenters - Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. Oh wait, did I say harmful, hurtful and horrid, because I meant the hilariously, hilarious, hot property of the BBC!
Back in December of last year I was busy writing my proposal for my MA project, which at the time was entitled "An investigation into the relationship between impulses and physical action". I was also visiting the Lincoln Christmas Market at the time, upon where it dawned on me how utterly dry it would be to spend my following year writing 20,000 words on such a subject. My friend was busily working on a directing project at the time, and in an attempt to remain from under her feet, I found myself wandering into a favourite store of mine - A puppet shop called Gepetto's. After spending an afternoon making a nuisance of myself there, playing with the puppets and talking to anyone who came into the store, I emailed my tutor (who had spent two hours with me the previous week discussing my thesis topic in detail) to say I had changed my mind and my thesis would in fact be all about puppets (and their merit within an actor's training). Knowing very little about puppets and puppetry previously, this has been a fantastic opportunity for me to learn about another theatre discipline and meet several members of the puppet community - a community which has so far proved itself extremely friendly and eager to assist.
However, something happened last week which has forced my project to take a new direction.
For my performance tonight I shall be donning a full head to toe costume, complete with props and accessories in a one night spectacular!