I kept diaries of dates of appointments, when I started a job, finished a job, even when I made personal history by being fired two weeks into a long-term contract. Face didn’t fit, had more personality than the team generally and a boss who couldn’t handle pressure and had it written all over her face. Little personal there but hey, I sleep far better at nights than they do to be sure.
2015 started off quite promising with the above role as an Executive Officer, within the Civil Service. Won’t name the Passport Office but it was akin to serving time at Wormwood Scrubs (Prison) but thankfully on reflection, I was done a big favour getting fired. Never looked back.
Other contracting jobs followed in the Civil Service and really put my life back on track. I could attend auditions and castings not feeling and appearing desperate (because I wasn’t,) which was a godsend in many ways. I was able to do what needed to be done, without the worry and insecurity of where the next acting role and paycheck was coming from.
On the Acting side of things, I was fortunate to be gainfully employed elsewhere as I was fortunate enough to have had one acting job for the entirety of 2015. Surprising but then not so surprising, given conversations I have had with my fellow professionals. Some worked regularly, some not so regularly, others not at all.
Any actor who works is lucky. Any actor who works and gets paid for what they love doing is luckier still. And any actor who works, gets paid for doing so and lands a career-defining, career-enhancing role has achieved Nirvana. Big time. We all make our own luck but sometimes timing and the X-factor comes into play.
It is a tough job being an a professional actor in what is a damn serious business and it doesn’t get any easier but that is the price we pay for pursuing a career in the performing arts. Everyone is a critic, everyone thinks it is easy, everyone thinks they can do it. And some can and do.
What I have found with such people is they never take in (because they are not aware of it,) the life of an actor, what one has to deal with on a daily basis, such as the rejection, the insecurity, never knowing when and where the next role/the next job is coming from. All one can do is do your own thing, check in with your agent (if you are lucky to have one,) do your own legwork, put something out there and most importantly, A.B.C. Always Be Closing. Always Be Closing that deal, be it a contact at a networking event, a Social Media Forum. Just get your name out there but doing it with a certain amount of style but most importantly, do it as You. Sometimes the best audition is the audition that isn’t an audition but a conversational meeting, be it of minds and personality. Being myself has kept me in employment, (okay, not as an Actor,) and has enabled me to do things that can only enhance and further my career as an Actor. My personality doesn’t always make me flavour of the month but it is has ensured I didn’t end up working for complete and utter assholes. And that (to me at least,) is one less headache I have to deal with.
Semi-regular employment and income throughout 2015 has enabled me to attend Raindance’s Summer Film School in London, their 99 Minute Film School, eventually joining as a member and attending ‘The Script Coach’ course with Jurgen Wolff, an eminent Screenwriter and Script Writer of some renown. I had the pleasure of attending every one of his weekly classes, making notes and purchasing many of the books he recommended in aiding the writing and thought processes. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, the classes and the company of many of my fellow students, some I had corresponded with down the years but had never met then until I attended this course.
On a more humorous note, one realizes at some point they have arrived to a certain degree when the Christmas Stocking includes a Detective Badge for the Central City Police Department and two identity badges for the Strategic Homeland Intervention and Logistics Division – known to comic book, TV and Film fans as S.H.I.E.L.D. I now find myself a Shield Liaison to the Central City Police – Legally deputised I should think. Still trying to work that one out. Detective and Spy. Interesting.
2015 overall has been a good year for me compared to those of the previous decade. I have few complaints nor regrets. Well, I regret not working more as an actor during the Year but sometimes you just have know the market place you are in, how it works and just realize there are always actors who are far easier to cast in certain things and will work far more often and regularly than you. It is nothing personal, it is, what it is.
Just deal with the business at hand namely Yourself and leave jealousy, envy and bitching to the less talented. Professional Actors, behave professionally, treat everyone they meet with courtesy, dignity and respect from the Runner upwards, from the Producers and Director downwards. If you want to get a good name for yourself, keep the above in mind every time you feel envy or bitchiness coming on. If someone can get cast in Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones, it is not a case of discrimination, it is simply a case of them being the best person for that role at that particular time. It is the same when you get cast in something and other people don’t.
I have written about discrimination on this Blog and elsewhere and while it does exist, you cannot take that mindset into the audition room. We all know what goes on but when you step into the reception area/waiting area, that is where your audition and behaviour begins. I have found people administering the forms and paperwork see actors come and go and know who is likely to get cast. Who knows whether the Casting Director asks them for an opinion. Unlikely but would you bet against that? I wouldn’t.
Again it comes down to treating people the way you expect to be treated. I attended an audition once where I overheard the receptionist say she had over 800 followers on Twitter. That inspired me to put good things out there such as written articles and advice out there via Twitter. If a receptionist working in Casting can have 800 followers, I can do better and did. Check out my Twitter Profile some time.
Wishing you the best for 2016 and beyond. Be nice to people even when they are not nice to you. Show them what you are made of and who you are. Treat people the way you expect to be treated – With Courtesy, Dignity and Respect (CDR). Not everyone will love you and that will always be the case but at least you can say that for every individual who hates you, there are a thousand who think otherwise. All the best and thanks for reading.