Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk

I had to laugh just now when some adversary of mine had some picture on her Twitter profile (@jacileet), with words about those people taking time out of their pathetic lives to think about them.  I find it amazing because nothing I have seen, heard, researched even suggests that this person remotely practices what they preach.

‘Photography is my career, you muppet’ they bawled out from their Twitter account at yours truly.

This amazes me because this very same person has no demonstrative proof that she has even taken one  picture in her entire life. Where are the online galleries of their work?  Apart from some appalling photography taken by others of her semi-naked body on Facebook and such distinguished websites as ‘Mad Cow Models’ (how apt,) there is no evidence of any of her work anywhere. So her career is Photography and I am a Muppet.  I think I am in good company then because Kermit and company have enjoyed between thirty to forty years of success in both television and film beginning with Sesame Street, then ‘The Muppet Show’ and finally such films as ‘The Muppets Take Manhattan’, ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’ etc. They have worked with many of  the biggest names across the spectrum of show business.   This person may have used the term ‘Muppet’ as a form of dirision but I am quite honoured to be put into the same category with a talented bunch of individuals such as Kermit, Fozzy Bear, Miss Piggy, The Great Gonzo and that fantastic drummer ‘Animal’.  And let us not forget the late Jim Henson and Frank Oz who went on to play and voice ‘Yoda’ in the Star Wars movies and also became a great Director.  Great creative geniuses.  I am proud to be called a ‘Muppet’.  Why would I not be?  They were (and still are,) talented and demonstrated how the great music hall tradition of Vaudeville actually worked.

In another life, when I worked in management, within a market research environment, one of the things that frequently came over in my training and working life, was ‘Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk’.  In a nutshell, do what you are going to, practice what you preach.  I may be many things, I may not to be the most like man who ever walked the green fields of Jerusalem or the  Satanic Mills that opposed Jerusalem, but anyone doing any kind of research on me, will come to the conclusion, that when I set out on the course to carve out a career as an actor, I did exactly that.  I am not going to give a list of websites that overly demonstrates this fact.  Simply typing ‘Daniel Jude Gennis’ into the Google Search Engine and pressing Return/Enter, will present all the information you need.  A theatre director I work with on a regular basis, has done this and fed back this information.

Like the eighty-five/ninety percent of the Equity (Actor’s) Union membership, I am not always in continual employment.  I am not a regular member of an ongoing (soap) drama or any television series.  It has been two years since I last worked on a major film and most of my acting work over the past five years, has been in theatre.  2012 so far has seen me reprise my role of ‘The Archivist’ in ‘All About Poe and His Return to Bath’ for a run at the Leicester Square Theatre, London, marking my West End Theatre Debut.  Since then I have done a TV Commercial, two short films and my first Shakespeare theatre performance, playing Sebastian in ‘Twelfth Night’. This week I will be appearing in ‘The Poe Cabaret’ in South London – My first venture into the world of Cabaret.  It will be a non-singing role but hey, I am doing cabaret.  Not bad for 2012 so far and not quite the pathetic career someone would have people believe.

Since 2002, when I left my formal drama training behind to study screen acting via a film school in Hendon, North London, I spent nine months working as a Production Assistant (on an intern basis,) while learning film techniques in front of and behind the camera.

March 2003, saw me get my first job on a TV commercial about Unemployment Benefit Fraud.  Filming took place in a market somewhere in Croydon, Surrey.  After that I got a chance to work as a background extra or Supporting Artiste if you will.  I was still doing the screen acting studies so had a unique advantage that I was actually putting valauable lessons into practice on major film and television productions, as the same time as studying and gettng paid for it as well.  Long days, hard work  but worth every headache and hassle one had to endure.  During this time I worked on a number of major projects, such as ‘Sahara’ opposite Penelope Cruz (literally), Green Street with Elijah Wood, Layer Cake, Ripley Underground and other film and TV productions too numerous to name.

By my 42nd Birthday (when I actually worked on Basic Instinct 2,) I had pretty much had enough of working as a Supporting Artiste and decided to move on.  Not the best of moves at that time but I came into The Business to be an Actor and that was still my intention.  I had acted in the background, now I wanted to act upfront.

Nothing happened during the latter half of 2005, apart from a few short film projects, though I did get taken on by my first agent Debbie Edler so that was something at least.  Just prior to that, I made my theatre debut in a Play called ‘Zambesi Spirit.  It was more of a play reading but was also a hybrid peformance of play reading and theatre.  I really enjoyed the production, the story and wished it had gone beyond the theatre and onto Film (as the latter was an option).  It was an excellent story set in Zimbabwe.  A film project about Boxing never got off the ground which was disappointing.  Coming near bankruptcy didn’t help either but that is another story.  By this time I was doing another screen acting course run by Lamia St. Hilaire, a lovely Lady who was also a Film Producer so that was a good experience.  I worked on a pilot for a potential TV series, which sadly didn’t go beyond the pilot.

To cut to the chase, every year since I have done something to keep my career alive.  I had begun work as a Secretarial/Administrator with a temping agency and though work was few and far between, I managed to keep my head above water.  Tough but some of the work was very interesting and actually worked as the PA to the Chief Operator Officer of a very influential organisation.

On the acting front, I have worked on productions of one sort or another.  2007 saw me go back into Theatre with ‘Showdown’ an inprovisation showcase – Great fun.  That year also saw my last TV involvement as a Contributor in ‘Kubrick’ a short film as part of  Channel Four (UK)’s 3Minute Wonder series.

2008 saw me begin a long and successful working relationship with Mr. Nick Pelas and his Company ‘The Pelas Theatre Company’ when I was cast in his first production ‘A Certain Library in Bath’. in between various runs of this play which was reprised in 2009 (which I was not apart of due to work commitments elsewhere,) I appeared that year in the Hip-Hop Musical ‘OAPz’ about the elderly residents of a nursing home who abscond to take part in an X-Factor style show.  I played ‘Tyrone’ the long-lost son of one of the residents.

The early part of 2010 saw me with a new agent and a new approach.  A major coup for me was being cast by Film Director Tom Six in ‘The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence, a sequel to the sleeper hit ‘The Human Centipede’.  I was working as a Audio-Visual Technician at the time and as the audition was nearby, I took time out to attend and was surprised when I was cast.  Filming was due to begin in June of that year but the fact that the first film had been so successful, meant the sequel was put back to August. My contract at King’s had ended and as no more work was coming my way, I spent most days, job searching and actually working out at the gym to prepare for my role.  I had no intention of looking like some fat, middle-aged man.  Didn’t and never looked that way, even now and was not going to start.

Since then apart from short films, photographic work and theatre performances, I have kept going.  I haven’t made a great deal of money for my efforts but I have put in a lot of hard work and effort these past ten years.  I am fortunate to do be doing what I am doing and while some jobs pay better than other, (if at all,) I am happy to be doing what I am doing and following my dreams and aspirations.  Hollywood and the British film industry are not knocking at my door and while I am not holding my breath, I continue to do my level best and work, just hard as I have when I first entered the industry. One never knows what is around the corner and who may just come knocking.

I didn’t go to RADA, nor did I attend LAMDA even though I attended the latter to do my Acting Examinations at their campus’ in Earl’s Court and High Street, Kensington, both in London.

My work history as an Actor is not a bad one considering, I came into the acting profession late in life and prior to that was holding down a full-time job, moonlighting at another in the evenings and weekends, not to mention doing university studies for my Honours Degree in Computing and Multimedia (that I finally got in 2002,) and my Certificate in Higher Education which I received in 2000.  And then was the often overlooked fact, I was supporting a family through all this.

People (such as that Twitter Person,) think that after talking to me over the ‘phone for a week, and meeting me just once, that they know me, they know my story. They don’t!  She doesn’t!  There is the story behind the story, behind the story.  I have told only a small part of my story, the road I took to become an actor.  The very beginning of that story is written somewhere else as an earlier entry on this Blog. I chose to write this and start somewhere in the middle of my journey as an actor, just to put the record straight that far from having some pathetic career, as one harridan would have the world believe, I am actually a hard working Actor, who has made many sacrifices on his journey and will no doubt continue to make sacrifices.  The important thing is, I am doing what I want to do, making the choices I want to, in order to build a better tomorrow and eventually enjoy the kind of life I have always wanted and to be the kind of person I have always wanted to be.

Thus far my life as an Actor has been a hard fought battle but it has at times been a rewarding one and a rewarding life but while I may not be flushed with an abundance of wealth I am rich in ways some people could not begin to imagine.  There is no point saying one’s career is photography, when you are stuck in an office all day and never hardly use your camera.

As an Actor, it matters not where I am in.  I have been in offices, worked in office, ran offices, managed people supervised them. But I have never forgotten who I am, nor have I compromised myself.  Acting is a people business and as long as I am among people, I will always be doing  my job. Something you will never understand Ms. Leet. How could you? You have never been where I am but I have worked  very closely with photographers.  Better photographers than you have.  Compare my pictures to your own.  I know your job (the one you say is your profession,) better than you do.

That is the big difference between me and my fiercest critic.  Not only do I not just talk the talk, I actually walk the walk.  In other words honey, I actually practice what I preach.  And I have the history to prove it. Do you?

Disclaimer – This Twitter person has proven to be no friend of mine and is total poison to me at least.  She has made false accusations about my health and has behaved in the most disgraceful manner which is hard to imagine unless you have been a victim.  Vampires behave in a much better fashion. You will not hear her name or anything mentioned about her from me from this entry forward. She has had her fifteen minutes of fame at my expense.  Long may her fifteen minutes last.  There won’t be another.


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