‘Time Starts Now’. That line from Steve McQueen to Jacqueline Bisset in the movie ‘Bullitt’ sums up pretty well where I am at. Things have always been way more serious for me during the eight years I have been an Actor and today, now more than ever, as I no longer have a fallback position – In fact, I really never had a fallback postion. Bottom line, I need to know who is for me. Who is going to actively work on my behalf, secure the roles, that will enable me to do the type of work I want to do in the future.
More than one person has told me, ‘you don’t laugh,’ or ‘I have never heard you laugh’. My response has always been, ‘I have nothing to laugh at or laugh about’. The late, great Rex Harrison in what was probably his last television interview said Show Business was ‘…a damn serious business’. Truer words have never been said about Show Business. Yes, it is a Serious Business and a Damn Serious One too! I am a Serious Guy. A Damn Serious one at that. I am pushy. I push for success because I can smell that sweet smell of success off in the distance. It is close but not close enough. I am no J.J. Hunsecker, nor am I Sidney Falco. I am somewhere in between. Like Hunsecker, I am man who knows he and only he is in control of his own destiny but like Falco, I will do whatever it takes to make that dream reality.
What admired about Sidney Falco as an agent, was he was doing whatever he could for his clients. He continually tried to stay in J.J. Hunsecker’s good graces in order for Hunsecker to mention his client’s in his influential column. That is what I liked and loved about Sidney Falco. He would go all out and endure any kind of shit for his clients. He did what he had to. He did what it took to raise his client’s profile and interests. His interests were their interests. Only that way would he be successful. I don’t approve of some Falco’s tactics in order to stay in Hunsecker’s good graces, but if I was in his position, losing money and clients, I would do the same damn thing. Anything for the client. The Sweet Smell of Success. Great Movie. How true it really is. Even now!
This brings me to my own little Sweet Smell of Succes or rather ‘The Sour Smell of Rotten Grapes’. The supposed lack of talent as espoused by my detractors aside, I am trying to work out how after more than twenty-five films, Lord knows how many television productions, theatre productions, work in the corporate side of things, conversant in use of cinema and special effects techniques as an actor, why is it I am still sitting on the sidelines?
It is not as if I am sitting on my Big, Sweet, Fat, Black Backside and waiting for everything to be handed to me on a plate. I am not that stupid or so damn lazy! You know, I actually roll out of bed or roll off the sofa and think ‘Today is a New Day’. ‘Today is not Yesterday’. ‘ Today is Today’. Today is Unique’. And the reason I roll off the sofa is that I have spent the entire night (nearly every night,) working at my career and managing my career online, writing letters, emails whatever. That is what I am doing to take my career to the next level.
You know, I have invested vasts amounts of time, energy, money and effort to get this far. A British Film Director Val Guest, once remarked: ‘If you don’t have money, you have to use your head’. Not having the lucre, that is just what I have done. If I cannot afford it, I do it myself. I have built my own websites and manage them. Any updates that need to be done, I do them. I keep every site updated as well as I can. Google ‘Daniel Jude Gennis’ and see what comes up. Pages of information and it all began with me. I am my very own Webmaster.
In terms of the Theatre, I am virtually my own bloody agent. I go out and get my own stage work because it would seem the theatre community is not remotely interested in seeing me, let alone employing me. That must be the reason, my agents never contact me about work in that area. Strange given the majority of my work over the past year has been in the Theatre. Are my agents missing a trick here?
Whatever is going on, I am obviously missing a trick or ten along the way. I took a real long look at my CV/Resume, and felt it was time to write to my agents and put my point of view across regarding my career. After all it is my dream and my dream alone but those who act as my agents I like to think are or should be interested in making money if nothing else. Or maybe they are not all that interested or just simply think I am not worth the effort. I am not sure what the reason is but felt I needed to address the problem, perceived or otherwise. So I wrote a letter via email to my agents. It is as below:-
2010 was probably the best year I have had to date in the seven years I have been an Actor. I got dumped by Rob Groves Personal Management (Christmas 2009,) due to the incompetence of one of his assistants – He even refused to even hear my side of the story. That is all history now as he is as far as my career is concerned. Shortly after that I was taken on by Irene Osborne of Fab New Faces (thank you Dear Irene,) and things began to move forward. The highlight of my career thus far, has been my casting and involvement in the movie ‘The Human Centipede: Full Sequence’, which despite my history with Film, I see as my first official debut, (again many thanks for securing that role for me Irene).
Apart from the work Fab New Faces has been securing me, I have for the past three years formed a good working relationship with a Director and Playwright, Nick Pelas, who has formed his own theatre company – The Pelas Theatre Company. I have been involved in productions of his Play ‘A Certain Library in Bath’ during 2008 and 2010, as well as further productions throughout 2010 of A Certain Library in Bath and Scott Fivelson’s ‘Dial L for Latch-Key’. I have performed at such venues as The Etcetera Theatre, Theatro Technis, The New Inn Theatre and later this year I will be at The Baron’s Court Theatre in The Pelas Theatre Company’s production of Anton Chekov’s ‘The Bear’ in September and Nick Pelas’ premiere of his Play ‘All About Poe – His Return to Bath’ (a working title,) which is due to premiere in November.
So while I appreciate the efforts being made on my behalf, as much I enjoy the work I do with Nick Pelas and the excellent friendship and working relationship we enjoy working on his productions, I am taking care of things on the theatre side and given it is Fringe Theatre, there are times when I will be paid and times when I will not be. I was recently dropped from a temping agency because after five years on the their books, two of them working for King’s College London, one the top twenty-five universities in world, they considered me not sufficiently qualified to work for their academic clients. Given they have not offered me work in the past thirteen months, that is extremely rich coming from them.
So temping is dead for me. I am either too old, over-qualified or don’t have enough experience. I am forty-eight years old, can play characters ten to fifteen years younger than myself but when it comes to the nine-to-five world, I am virtually unemployable. I occasionally help out at the Actor’s One-Stop shop in North London as one of their pool of actors they use when shooting original scenes for showreels of other actors. I had my showreel done by them back in January of 2009. I get twenty quid for my trouble but I don’t do it for the money. It pays for my travel to be sure. The main reason I do it is to keep my hand in with the whole element and technique of screen acting. Plus, I am at the same time building up a good working relationship with the directors.
So what I am trying to say Ladies, is I no longer have a fall-back position – Truthfully I never did! I know this is not a unique situation among actors but I can only speak for myself. If I don’t work, I don’t eat nor can I live. While I am sure you are all doing your very best, I can assure you that I am not sitting idly by waiting for you to deliver up the goods. I am virtually my own agent in terms of getting theatre work because I continue to work for The Pelas Theatre Company and clearly it would seem no one else in the theatre community has the remotest interest in even employing me. Or so it seems.
I am a member of Equity, BECTU/FAA (under my name of Dwight Gooden), Spotlight. One could include Casting Call Pro, Shooting People, Talent Circle, IMDB (I have a CV registered there).
Speaking of CVs I have finally placed my Showreel on my Spotlight Profile, which I hope will be helpful to casting professionals. I have also constructed two Websites myself to further market myself effectively. I manage to keep these Websites up to date as best as I possibly can. Take the following:-
This Website the first I constructed. It literally has everything on there. Showreel, CV/Resume etc. A complete and utter profile. It is all there. Including my various online and media links.
I was asked to see whether www.wix.com was a good choice over webs.com. To to do this I tested the web tools and built a reasonable website. It is shorter and to the point and it does just that. It gets to the point.
Speaks for itself. My Casting Call Pro website which is my CCP Profile under a domain name.
I am not sure what Casting Directors and those responsible for casting are looking for but all I can say is that I have over the past seven years have done the very best I could to market myself across the Online World. This has not always been appreciated by past agencies, which is why they are a part of my past. Like I said, I don’t have a fall back situation. There is no other way to make a living. This is it! I have constructed the marketing tools, I have used them. They are there for you to use also. And if that was not enough, I am also a Professional Actor. That doesn’t need to be said because the facts, my CV and links online and elsewhere says that. I really don’t want to be in situation where I cannot pay my Spotlight, Equity and BECTU dues, given the amount of work history I have behind me. I really, well and truly think and feel I shouldn’t be struggling personally and financially as I am. Yes, I know I am not the only one but this whole message is about me and what I continue to do even when I am not working.
I seem to have problems contacting people whether it is via email (I keep getting emails bouncing back,) or continually being greeted by an answering machine. There may be reasons for that but believe me I am on top of my game. I would like to think my agents are too. I am not sitting comfortably, not is the slightest! I cannot speak for anyone else but I expect more of myself than anyone else could possibly expect of me.
I am putting in the work and hours to make this work. I have been doing that for the past eight years. I just need your help and efforts to get things moving. I don’t think I am being arrogant or pushy by writing what I wrote but sometimes one has to lay down the gauntlet and say ‘I am doing my best – Match me!’
On can only state the concerns and put across their case. My Case. And now I have done that, I rest my case and see what comes of it all.