“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 King James Version
Earlier this evening, I called a friend, a very good friend of my Akkuna, as we had not spoken for some time. As is always the case we spent a good deal of time playing catch-up with what the other had been up to in the interim as we always do. And as always we covered a good deal of ground in terms of our mutual interest in all things acting and writing.
As we discussed people such as Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and other such luminaries of the Silver Screen, we touched on subjects and topics that brought to mind the subject I wrote about earlier today and my approach to acting and of course the audition I attended on Thursday. I discussed my approach, what I learned from the experience and more importantly what I took away with me from the experience. It was then that I realised (and Akkuna pointed this out also,) just how much I had changed and how much I had developed and grown not just an Actor but as a person also.
Up to that point, I had not dwelled too much on myself, though I was aware I was making changes to my life and how I approached things. Bottom line is the time to ring changes as been long overdue and over the past few months there have been changes, some I was making consciously, others I was not really aware of. In a nutshell I have had enough!
I have been living a life outside of Acting that was not really fulfilling me. My domestic life is the other saving grace as without it, I would not have made the leap into Acting that I had. There is no support for such an endeavour coming from anywhere else so for that I am eternally grateful. However what I am not so grateful for is people and institutions that pretend they have my best interests at heart, when actually the opposite is true… They don’t! I think what has been happening since 2011 began has been a slow awakening and realisation that outside of my front door, the only person who has my best interests at heart is me. And the blunt realisation for me is that the only person who ultimately is going make a success of my career is me. Until any kind of success comes my way, I am the one who ultimately is going to make things happen by sheer effort and hard work. I am doing that already but there is a need to jettison a lot of useless baggage. If you are not for me, there is no point being around me. There is no point telling me for example you will be attending a Stage Play I am in then don’t turn up. It is bad enough when you are a so-called friend. It is far worse when you are supposed to be my one of my agents. One of the people who are supposed to be representing me. This has happened twice! What are telling me? What are you saying to me? Do you really have no confidence in me as an Actor? Then why are representing me then? My primary agent is the complete opposite of that. She is the first person I go to simply because she does not behave in this way. I have landed a few good jobs by her and if she was invited to a play and could not make it she would say so. Simple and direct. But to do the complete opposite of that is to me the height of extremely bad manners!
Talking things through with my friend, made me realise just how much I am not prepared to put up with anymore. I have moved on, I have grown, I am more confident about who I am within myself and as an actor, I just don’t feel the need to put up with the crap I have been putting up with for so long.
While ‘Resting’ (and for long periods of time, I might add,) I worked for temping agencies as an Administrator and PA/Executive Assistant whenever the work was available. Having dealt with Employment/Recruitment agencies on and off over a thirty year period, I have long known what a bunch of self-serving, self-interested wankers they are. The faces change over the years but the culture and arse watching remains the same. I had worked for one agency over a five year period. I think I had a reasonable successful period with them but fell out of favour when I spoke my mind about a couple of assignments that were less than memorable experiences for me. After that I only got those assignments that someone else had screwed up and I was the one who had to pick up the pieces. The final straw for me came when I revisited the scene of one crime where I worked for a two-year period. I was introduced to someone who worked for the same agency who was now doing the job I did. Oddly enough that same agency had called me a month previously to offer me the job then retracted the offer because the client had withdrawn the offer. But here was someone else doing the same job now. At that point, it was a case of ‘Goodbye Temping, I have better things to do’. After that I did not bother to pick up a ‘phone and called any of them. I have found agencies tend not to work on merit but on favouritism. And as a man who works and earns his keep on merit that is a situation that does sit well with me. I don’t want to be anyone’s fucking favourite!!! There is no point working one’s ass off if it counts for nothing. As an actor, I live and die by the performances I give. Not all of them are good but anyone can have a bad night. I am no different but I work hard at what I do and I enjoy what I do. I would rather live truthfully and be honest with myself than live a lie.
It is hard to live truthfully under an imaginary circumstance in a real world setting. You are kidding yourself. What is the point of doing a job you don’t like, when it fails to fulfil you? What is the point of dying slowly each day? Feeling your insides rotting away each day, whilst trying to get through a soul-destroying experience, each minute of each day. What is the point of all that? To pay the bills? What happens when you are too sick to work because you have allowed yourself to get so ill, you can’t move, think or feel because of the nervous depression you are going through? I have been there and I would rather be doing something I enjoy, rather than something I don’t all because the bills need to be paid. The bills always need to be paid and they get paid one way or the other. Always! So while I have that headache to contend with, I don’t let it stop me from getting a good night’s sleep. I am designing the kind of life I want, not the kind that dictates the bills should be paid. Like I said, the bills always get paid.
Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances in the Meisner Method of Acting, is the ability to give a real believable performance in a situation that is wholly false. The complete opposite of what I was talking about above. You are actually living in the situation you are performing. It is as real to you as if was an everyday experience you were going through. And because you think and feel it is real, your audience whether in a theatre, In front of the big screen or the small screen will believe completely in everything you say and do. You have kidded them, as opposed to kidding yourself in the real world that you doing the right thing, taking the best course of action, when you are clearly not happy in what you are doing. Give me Acting any day of any given week. If I cannot live truthfully, be true to myself and who I am, then I would rather not live at all!
There are always going to be times when a degree of diplomacy is called for but if something does not sit well with me, I have to speak out and say what I think. Why shut up because it makes people feel more comfortable in what they are doing? If I think they are wrong in what they are doing, I say so. If I am not happy in a situation I am saying so. If the person or persons don’t like it then that is too bad. Why should I have to suffer in silence when I don’t have to?
I don’t think I am making many friends with my stance on certain things but then in this kind of situation, one soon finds out who their real friends and associates are. Better to have people who are for you and are going to work on your behalf, rather than the fair-weathered variety that talk a good fight but never seem to be able to fight a good fight.