The Times of London
London E98 1XY
People say never dwell on the past and while this is true, I was reminded of the recent past when someone said to me over a telephone conversation: you are getting to the age where you need to give up Acting altogether Dear Boy and get a job. Now unlike some other people this was meant to be kindly advice rather than the opposite bile I have had to endure in past. Then again, the person didn’t know until I told them:-
- One never burns their bridges (or britches for that matter)
- Also, the so-called proper jobs don’t seem to be there anymore (Dear Boy)
- Another thing I have applied for so many of these ‘Proper Jobs’ and don’t even get an interview
- Most of my paid work has been via acting work actually – Not that well paid I might add
- Have you ever had to deal with Consultants and Recruitment Agencies? They are half your age (the consultants that is,) and (they,) know little and nothing about the older workforce.
This May, I hit the big Five-0. I don’t feel my age. I have an abundance of energy, stamina and drive. You need these qualities in the performing arts as well as a will of steel and the commitment and determination to go with it. The elements one needs to succeed.
What people very seldom seem to appreciate Dear Editor is:-
- What I choose to do with my life is none of their business – It really isn’t
- They don’t support me, especially through the hard times of which there has been an abundance
- They don’t know my story nor my journey nor the path I have trod – And they don’t want to know. And that is fine by me.
What annoys me Dear Editor, more than anything else, is they don’t seem to realise I have done a ‘proper job’ for many years. When I began my formal training, I was not attending some drama school full-time for three years. I was doing a proper job, a full-time job and going to drama school in the evenings, while supporting a family. And prior to that, I was doing a ‘Proper job’ while studying at University part-time in the evenings, again, while supporting a family.
Everyone thinks they know the story, in this case my story. What they don’t know is the story behind the story. I came into Acting with more life experience than most actors get doing a three year full-time drama course. When I began learning to Act, I was still living and experiencing life because I was actually living one – Going out to work 9 to 5 (and longer,) and rushing off to university and later to drama school after work.
I may not have went to The Guildhall, RADA, E15, The Poor School, Mountview, Central School of Speech and Drama or any of those other posh drama schools but I learned a damn sight more by the life I have led to date. No School, Drama or otherwise can teach me what I learned before, during and after I stopped going to drama school.
Still, I did go to drama school, I learned a great deal but learned a greater deal by going out there doing it. Nothing came easy, I can testify to that but we are living in strange times and I have spent most of my life doing what people think I should be doing to no avail.
There is always one more way of doing something and that is your way and you have the right to try it at least once. Well after forty years of doing things other people’s way, Dear Society, please allow me to spend the rest of my life the next forty years or more (or less,) doing things my way. It would be appreciated.
Dear Editor is the above a sign that ‘The Times, They Are A Changing’ ?
Daniel Jude Gennis