Actor Awareness workshop

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Actor Awareness are holding a workshop and networking event. The workshop will be 2 hours led by Sarah Victoria experienced actress and instructor

Workshops are costly for any Actor. Like a athlete that goes to the gym, actors must go to classes to flex their muscles. The evening will be improv and duolouges. Then the chance to mingle and have a drink at the end. A chance to meet fellow creatives and broaden your network of people

We have 40 places available

BOOK HERE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/actor-awareness-workshop-tickets-27579401733

Scratch Nights

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So our first scratch next with Spotlight was a resounding success. We had a great turn out and a 5* review.

Safe word by Ribs Norman

Our father by Stephanie Silver

Joan and Olivia by Nicola Amory

Robbing Class by Michelle payne

Our Father from that night has gone on to be developed and is having a rehearsed read 30th September at Slam, Kings Cross at 7pm. Book FREE tickets here:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/our-father-rehearsed-read-tickets-27579652483

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Terry Eastham, London Theatre 1

‘The writing by Silver was unpredictable, the piece was described as ‘hard-hitting’, this was an understatement, I don’t think anyone in the audience was prepared for how intense the piece got’

‘My favourite – because I disliked it so much – was our Father which was not only the stand out show of the evening but served as a perfect reminder of the true power of theatre to move people. Being in a small performing space with real live human beings just there in front of you can have more of an effect on the emotions than millions of pounds spent on some glitzy west end show’

https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/144859/actor-awareness-intergenerational-night-at-spotlight- theatre/

Lily Driver, The London Reviewer

‘When someone says that something was not easy to watch, it is often a bit of an exaggeration. However in the case of ‘Our Father’ it was not just difficult to watch, there were times I had to look away from the story unfolding before me’

https://thelondontheatrereviewer.wordpress.com/reviews/

The Staffroom was another scratch night piece developed from 15 minutes to 40 minutes by playwright Michelle Payne. It was performed at N16 in August with great reviews.

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Birth of a Nation was another scratch piece developed and performed at Theatre N16 under IndigoChildarts and received great feedback! htttps://https.londontheatre1.com/news/145480/michelle-paynes-thestaff-room-theatre-n16

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We are very proud here at Actor Awareness of all the plays that have come from just an idea to a full play in limited time. It is also with pride we continue at Spotlight and continue to champion new writing from people of all backgrounds. Birth of the Nation reviews below.

http://www.lastminutetheatretickets.com/londonwestend/birth-of-a-nation-theatre-n16/

http://www.uklondontheatretickets.com/birth-of-a-nation-at-balhams-theatre-n16/

https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/145687/eu-referendum-play-birth-of-a-nation-theatre-n16/

Join us at the next scratch night Monday 19th

Spotlight members go FREE

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Plays 

Orange Juice by Karim Khan

On The Beach by Chris Sivewright

Tea with Good Intentions by Instinct Theatre

Bleached Out by Jasmine Stewart

BOOK HERE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/actor-awareness-identity-night-tickets-27264853912?aff=eandprexshre&ref=eandprexshre

Our Mental Health Scratch Night is now open.

Mental health within the arts community has shocked me, the first that came to mind is actors to afraid of telling directors and producers they suffer from a form of mental illness in fear they wouldn’t get a part has shocked me. This shouldn’t be a hindrance, we need to get this issue spoken about, shown in a positive light and give people confidence to speak up about it in the industry. We are looking for 4 shows, 15 mins long, maximum 3 actors per show plus the writer/ director, so 4 members for each group maximum all under the theme of mental health, send all submissions to tomstocks0805@gmail.com with a short synopsis and the deadline is October 2nd. Good luck guys!

Osman Baig

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‘Recently appeared in ‘Boy’ at the Almeida Theatre
Growing up did you always want to act, what inspired you? 
To be completely honest, no. I never harboured ambitions of being an actor growing up. I was never interested in school plays, nor was I even aware of the professional theatre on offer in my hometown of Bradford, Yorkshire. I’m aware that confessing such a thing is cavalier when being interviewed about a precious and burgeoning new career in acting, but please bear with me…I come from an impoverished, working-class family of four. Growing up, money was definitively tight. My parents moved to the UK from Pakistan in the 1960s with nothing to their names. They suffered through acerbic poverty and brutal discrimination – and were quite simply determined that their children never suffer the same shameful fate. So, long before “New Labour” extolled its virtues via slogans and soundbites, Dr. and Mrs. Baig were there to instill in me the paramount importance of “education, education and education” – above all else. Ergo, my nascent horizons were defined by the merits of sterling grades, university prestige and vocational ouvres in fields such as medicine, law and accounting.Acting wasn’t even near enough upon the horizon to be a joke. Of course, no-one is laughing now..!
 What draws you to acting?
 People. The quotation “be kind – everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” is attributed to Plato, but it has lingered with me for much of my adult life.
I often felt like an outsider growing up. As a poor, Asian child reeling in the wake of Thatcher’s Britain, there were intrinsic barriers to everyday life: materialistic sacrifice was a norm; racism was unavoidable and evergreen; personal sensitivity was a luxury. I grew up feeling like an outsider looking in. And painful though it was to come to terms with my own identity, the process taught me the immeasurable value of being an “observer”. Yet by comparing and judging myself against others, I came to the conclusion that we are more alike than we are different – a realisation which was affirmingly human.
Acting allows me to draw on that endless well of human community on my own terms. By channeling my own doubts and demons into characters I can showcase on a stage, I both expiate my own wrangling insecurities while championing the vital and communal values of the wider human struggle. In essence, the personal becomes the universal. We all face the same challenges, deep down, whatever our circumstances – acting is just honest about it.
 You came to acting slightly later than most, what made you make the definite change?
I come to acting having worked as journalist for ten years: initially at a local Bradford newspaper (the Telegraph & Argus) then – following a scholarship that propelled me to London’s prestigious City University and its world-class journalism school – at Sky News, BBC News, Al Jazeera and most recently CNN, where I continue to work as a writer and producer in addition to acting. Many have asked me why a journalist would be drawn to acting. My answer is simple: at the heart of both industries is storytelling. Whether you’re playing a soldier fighting for the uncertain future of his nation, or interviewing a young girl who has risked her life and future to escape North Korea, the values of each craft is the same: to honour the voice of someone who has no other opportunity to express it. I adore journalism and am so grateful CNN has supported me as I’ve pursued my acting career, continuing to offer me work despite my taut and evolving schedule. Special credit must be given to my bosses and contemporaries there: Rob North, Sara McDonald, Alireza Hajihosseini, Vicky Bennett, Charlotte Parson, Connie Lee, Clare Hayes, Leroy Ah-Ben, Zharina Arnaldo, Melissa Mahtani, Nina dos Santos, Maggie Lake, Luke Henderson and Gayle Harrington for their patience and understanding. But proud though I am of the stories I can showcase as a journalist, acting allows me to truly get under the skin of other people’s stories. Journalism is by virtue impartial and objective: acting is wild and personal – and I relish its imperfectly real qualities.
 You recently appeared in Boy at the Almeida. This play has quite a honest look at allot of peoples lives that doesn’t often get portrayed, what relevance do you feel Boy has in the current climate?
Boy has given a voice to the voiceless. Through the story of Liam, playwright Leo Butler and director Sacha Wares have penned something new: a ballad of the unknown metropolitan soldier. He moves through our world, silent but solitary, unknown and undemanding, fierce yet fragile. He is a part of us all, yet a part we don’t always want to acknowledge. He is, as Oscar Wilde said, “Caliban in the mirror” – the reflection of a society we will one day be ashamed to have harboured.
 What drew you to Boy? what do you think the message audiences take away?
 It’s truly an honour to be part of this story. This spectacle heralds a brave new era in theatre: one defined not by narrative harmony or aesthetic mores, but by truth: a truth that can be ugly, accountable, unapologetic and political. It’s exactly what drew me into theatre in the first place – to lay bare the plight of the unsung warriors – the unsuspecting walking wounded – who stagger among us all.
 The play has a fab diverse cast which represents the society we live in, do you feel as a actor of ethnicity that you get the same casting opportunities as some of your counterparts?
 Growing up, seeing an Asian actor on mainstream television was so rare that, when it happened, it would be accompanied by a confused flurry of excitement as the entire family gathered around the television to witness such a vague breakthrough. Things changed in the 90s with shows such as Goodness Gracious Me and the introduction of Asian actors on soaps like Eastenders. But ultimately, those roles were defined by ethnicity. Even now, some of my friends – educated and internationally-minded people though they are – assume that I am certain to default to “terrorist” roles in terms of casting.
 I would have believed them too if it wasn’t for Sacha, who cast me in five roles in Boy – none of which were defined by skin colour. And enormous credit too to the show’s brilliant casting director, Amy Ball, for doing something I would once never have imagined possible: casting a diverse and unique company of actors in a play that does not centre on race. Together, I believe they have broken new ground – and if nothing else, they have inspired me to believe that I can be worth more as a performer than the myopic limits of casual precedent. Hopefully this can signal a new and more inclusive era in casting.
 Arts in schools is currently being taking away and reviewed by the government and their is a disparty in what children will have access to, what would be your message to keep arts as an intergal part of the curriculum
 My message is simple. For all those who may doubt the merits of the arts – who may indeed denounce creative endeavour itself as futile in an increasingly competitive world driven by technology and finance – please remember that imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge polices the present, but imagination liberates the future. Imagination is the first step towards human betterment. New realities begin with new dreams. And the arts do something no other field can possibly do: they support those dreams. The arts are the scaffolding of the dreaming mind, the closest thing mankind has to peering into his future and determining his place therein.
You attended DSL, what do you think about the situation of young people not being able to afford audition fees? Do you have any thoughts on the current situation of drama school audition fees?
 It’s unacceptable. Rising and exorbitant fees are an intergenerational crime. Is there no other way? The only way I was able to pay for training at Drama Studio London was because I had saved perniciously over a decade and was willing to sacrifice a mortgage for the chance to pursue a wily but unrelenting new dream. I supported myself, to the last penny – but I had to wait ten years to achieve that. I don’t come from the kind of background which would have invested thousands in acting training – let alone continuing that support as I looked for work after graduation.
People often say the fees are less here compared to America – but where are the scholarships and support mechanisms to match the U.S.?
 We need more respect for arts training at a governmental level to truly support underprivileged new artists.
 Obviously having had the experience of training at a top London Drama school, what advise would you give to other actors looking to train or auditioning.
 Training is not always essential, and it certainly won’t make you a more talented actor, but it can help hone technical skills. Training is respected in the industry – but if it’s too expensive or prohibitive, there are alternatives – such as joining Casting Call Pro and working on student films to build up a showreel to approach agents with. But ultimately, we need a culture that doesn’t idolise full-time training – that can offer more respected, part-time alternatives to talented students.
 What keeps you motivated as an actor in this tough industry?
There is no plan B. And I am not just doing this for me – but for people who may one day look up to me and say, “well, he did it – so can I!”

Little Pieces of Gold

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What inspires you about new writing?

I love it.  We hunger for stories and voices that resonate with and validate our own inner lives. New writing does that. It’s an opportunity to see ourselves and our concerns reflected. The new writing scene is vibrant and continually growing and a fantastic opportunity for writers – new or established – to get their work seen and to engage with a community of like minded souls.

Why do you think theatre is important?

My god we need theatre!  It gives space to the grey areas. It’s a container for the shitty, muddled up areas of our lives. It can ask all the questions and doesn’t need to give the answers.

What excites you about theatre as a medium?

The aliveness of it; its ability to transport you; the utter passion, dedication and commitment of those involved; the idea of an audience coming together to find something new.  It can also be very frustrating. Lack of good roles for women, lack of female playwrights on the main stages, the ‘exclusivity’ in terms of lack of access to job opportunities and bloody West End ticket prices!

How did Little Pieces of Gold start?

LPOG started in 2010.  As a writer myself I wanted to collaborate with other theatre makers and make theatre instead of waiting around for something to happen.

What is your aim with Little Pieces of Gold?

Our overall aim is to give a platform to as many new writers as possible and to act as a catalyst for their writing and theatre making careers.  As we’ve grown LPOG has also become a launching pad for directors and another outlet for actors to do what they’re brilliant at.  Through LPOG I’ve been able to meet and produce the work of some very brave and thought provoking playwrights.  For example, last year we produced Sarah Hehir’s first full length play, Child Z about the Rochdale child grooming scandal. And for 2017 we are aiming to produce a new play by award winning Jaki McCarrick. It’s the true story of Eleanor Marx’s relationship with the trade unionist Will Thorne whom she taught to read.  Jaki has called it a feminist ‘King’s Speech’ since Will Thorne had dyslexia and it was Eleanor who helped him to negotiate that in order to read and rise through the ranks of the trade unions. What’s so exciting is that this full-length production evolves out of the short that we commissioned Jaki to write for our recent ‘Class Ceiling’ production.  Going forward LPOG aims to do more of the same but funding is always an issue and much good work just doesn’t get made.

Tell us how Little Pieces of Gold works?

We produce regular new writing nights throughout the year and we normally run an open submission which is advertised on BBC Writersroom and social media.  Sometimes we run themed submissions or I might ‘commission’ a collection of plays from playwrights with whom I’ve worked with previously. We generally receive around 300-400 plays which are all read and then shortlisted. The shortlist is then read by our team of directors who decide which play they wish to take forward. Casting, rehearsals etc is then down to the individual director.  Our shows have a great reputation for the high quality of the writing, directing and acting.  Like all other new writing nights we all work for free. No-one makes any money from these productions.  But it’s a much needed showcase for creatives to hone their skills, network and build up their CVs.   We’ve worked at various venues including Park Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Theatre 503 and the Bread & Roses.

What advice do you give writers submitting to LPG?

Read as many plays and short plays as you can. Attend new writing nights. See for yourselves what makes a good short play.

What do you look for in writing, what makes you keep reading?

The twenty-four million dollar question! You know it when you see it.  But … a strong writer’s voice that comes through on the very first page; un-cliched writing; a unique take on something;

How do directors get involved in LPG?

Check out our website and send in your CV.  I will then arrange to meet with a new director to see if can go forward. The directing team for each showcase generally changes so we’re always looking to meet new directors. 

Actor Awareness is a campaign fighting for diversity in actors from working class backgrounds or low income backgrounds, how do you feel the industry stands at present?

This industry is no different from any other. Access to opportunities is hugely unequal. It is not class envy to say that the dice is loaded. It’s never been any different and it’s getting worse. Getting into a London drama school and paying London rents is one thing. But then afterwards it comes down to having to juggle day-jobs to pay the bills with acting jobs and auditions.  To do this requires an inordinate amount of energy, hope and faith.  And a photographic memory when an audition comes through for the very next day with the expectation that the actor needs to memorise a whole chunk of text.  There is no need for this when audition schedules and spaces are booked in advance. It’s disrespectful towards actors and it perpetuates a situation whereby only actors with the time and resources can give their best.   I love what actors do.  Working class or low income backgrounds or gender and ethnicity should not exclude actors – or writers and directors – from pursuing their chosen career paths.

Theatre Review by Emelia Marshall Lovsey

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Meelia Marshall Lovsey

Reviewer for Actor Awareness

We have a new column in this months newsletter. I welcome Meelia onto the team as Actor Awareness official Theatre buff and reviewer. She has a kean eye for detail and this month she reviewed ‘Boy’ at the Almeida theatre.

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‘Boy’ Almeida Theatre

  • Written by Leo Butler
  • Directed by Sacha Wares

As you enter the auditorium, the actors are already in character and busy at work on the stage which is made up of a rotating travellator. Everyone is too busy dealing with the stresses and tasks of their own lives to pay any attention to ‘Boy’. The play begins with him walking into the doctor’s office, except half the audience haven’t noticed him and are still talking.

‘Boy’ actually called Liam is played brilliantly by Frankie Fox. Liam is an inarticulate, isolated and awkward 17 year old boy who doesn’t seem to really know anyone, or know how to get what he wants or needs. He speaks (and mumbles*) in a mixture of confused multi-cultural jargon and London slang, which makes it difficult to understand what he’s saying. It equally helps him blend in and avoid difficult conversations. Much of the story is Liam listening into other people’s conversations with a lack of ‘drawn out dramas’. Despite this, the audience still feels empathy for Liam as he eats someone’s thrown-out-left-over chips and gives his half sister a pack of Doritos which she’s saving for breakfast. Although we never meet Liam’s parents, he does mutter something about them being on ‘zero hour contracts’. It suddenly doesn’t seem as ‘clean-cut’ as blaming Liam’s situation on abusive parents or addicts, it’s just hard to make enough money and survive, especially in London. Maybe they’re just too busy working?

The strong cast which is made up of a large ensemble is refreshing. It’s not in every show that you see such a diverse spectrum of actors from all different ages and backgrounds. There is no better way to represent London accurately. This means we get to see the struggle of many other characters including people sleeping rough, disabled people who have had their benefits taken away, struggling parents and punished dole applicants. Essentially the future looks bleak for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of money. This definitely isn’t a play that makes you feel particularly good or hopeful about the world, it’s scary to acknowledge that what is happening in this play is happening in our country and capital.

The unrelenting set which rotates round on a travellator is constantly being made up and then, almost instantly, picked apart. It transforms into different locations (anything from a park, to a street of houses to J.D Sports and so) as Liam walks aimlessly through the streets of London. The set is both clever and at times very distracting verging on irritating. It’s easy to get carried away watching the set being built in front of you and all together forget about Liam or ‘Boy’, which is who the audience have paid to watch. It is unclear whether this is something intentional or not, regardless when the show is finished one message is clear: ‘Boy’ is easily missed by anyone and everyone.

Though not quite as gripping, thrilling and heart breaking as Gary Owen’s production of ‘Iphigenia In Splott’ which is a furious call to arms, performed at The National Theatre earlier this year; this is still a worthy production. A great sense of empathy for Liam (and other’s) isolations and bleak futures was achieved. This play feels very current and necessary: things cannot continue as they are because the Liam’s of the world need our help- grab your ticket while you still can!

*A clear and appropriate character choice.

Daniel Harding on being a Filmmaker

danile harding 

So what attracts you to film?
I’ve always been slightly obsessed with film, and even from a young age I would beg my mum to take me to the video store so we could rent something and I’d then watch it two or three times before we returned it the next morning. But it’s hard to pin point what exactly attracts me to film. For me, I think ‘film’ encompasses a range of different art forms I am interested in – writing and photography for example, but I also love the collaboration with the actors and compiling the footage into a coherent story. Film has everything.

What filmmakers inspire you?
Recently it’s been the more independent filmmakers who have inspired me most – perhaps because as I get older I am looking at ways to get my work seen, and they are closer to my level. So filmmakers like Jeff Nichols, Jeremy Saulnier and Ben Wheatley are ones to take an interest in.

When did you decide to start making your own short films?
When I was 23.5 years old. I had just left uni and I didn’t fancy joining a production company and ‘working my way up.’ I had saved up enough money whilst I was uni to buy all my own equipment.

What is the toughest part of the filmmaking process ?
It’s a fifty-fifty between funding and casting. It is hard to juggle two jobs in order for one to pay for the other, and then casting is just a stressful and anxious process as you want to get the right people, and it often requires a lot of staring at a screen watching showreels – it does help me to realise ‘who’ the characters are though.

What advise do you give to new filmmaker?
The more you do the better and learn to let go – you will get hung up on ‘mistakes’, but learn from them and move on to the next project.

Tell us your best and worst time filmmaking?
Best time was shooting The Missing Hand, as I was giggling the whole way through, and the worst is either shooting Loop (when it was a very cold) or Killer Bird (a production too big for me to handle by myself).

What would you never scrimp on when putting a budget together for a short film?
Paying people! If you pay, it gives your the control and freedom to get the right people. You are a professional production and it will get treated as such. And also, leave budget for music.

Tell us about your current project?
So I’ve got numerous projects in various stages of production. The next one I am shooting at the end of June is called Man In A Suit and it’s short drama about a new government initiative set up to reduce unemployment. I’ve just released Toast online, which is a ‘one minute, one shot, existential comedy about bread’, and I am just about to start editing a new one called Two Pound Forty Pence which is a nightmarish-thriller about a guy who is pursued by a beggar.

What is your next plans
Figuring out a way to produce a feature film.

At Actors Awareness we encourage diversity in film, how do you apply this when casting your shorts?
I think we should all be more aware about diversity and it’s importance. I have to admit that I don’t consciously choose to be ‘diverse’ when casting, but I also don’t restrict my castings either. I don’t look at class, ethnicity or physical characteristics when casting. But for me it all comes down to the character on the page and who is the best choice to bring that to life.

Where do you look to get crew and cast for film projects?
Either through networking or casting sites like Casting Call Pro.

Check out Toast on Vimeo

Events

Scratch Night

The LGBT scratch was a great success. A review was written up by @Londontheatre1 here http://www.londontheatre1.com/news/133679/actor-awareness-lgbt-scratch-night/

Big thanks to everyone in the LGBT for making it a success to all the writers, directors, actors, tech team and theatre involved. Time to make it happen again, this time at fab fringe venue in Balham, under the theme of health.

HEALTH NIGHT! Jeremy Hunt, George Osborne and David Cameron are casting a huge shadow on our health system, with ludicrous cuts the NHS, the junior doctors walkout and of course the recent disability cuts in the budget. In light of this, the next Actor Awareness scratch night theme is Health Night. The interpretation of the theme is down to you and an interesting subject to explore, all shows must be no more than 15 mins and the submission deadline is 30th of April.

This will take place at Theatre N16 on the 30th of May. All shows selected for the scratch night will then have the opportunity to develop the show into a full length piece and have a 2 night slot in Theatre N16 in August! So if your an actor, director or writer come get involved and send all submissions to Steph at tanheartssteph@gmail.com please read the rules and regulations before submitting here http://www.actorawareness.co.uk/p/scratch-nights.html

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ACTOR AWARENESS LAUNCH PARTY

LAUNCH

AUDITIONS! So Actor Awareness will be holding the official launch party/ fundraiser and we are looking for a variety of acts to perform in the night. Singers, dancers, comedians, magicians, sketch peices, any sort of act to take part in what promises to be an incredible night. Auditions will be held at The Canal Cafe on May 1st, if you would like to audition and be involved email tomstocks0805@gmail.com

We also have a great competition coming up with CCP so keep your eyes peeled.

Writer’s Nights

These will continue monthly. To be added to the mailing list for notification of time and place please email tanheartssteph@gmail.com. An informal sharing of ideas, plays (stage,film, tv , sketch or radio). Hosted by a guest writer each month. £8 for a session which runs 7-9.30pm. April TBC. Please follow @steffieegg12 for updates or join Actor Awareness group on Facebook.

Events

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LGBT Scratch Night at The Bread and Roses Theatre

So every month we hold  a scratch night of new material, actors, writers and directors get a chance to showcase their work to an audience. At the last few scratch nights we have had directors, agents and producers come and the interest in the events is gathering momentum. If you follow our Twitter @actorawareness or our Facebook page, you can keep up to date with the next scratch nights, submission opening and deadlines.

LGBT night we have a line up including comedys, musicals and even a victorian piece

Book Tickets now:  http://www.breadandrosestheatre.co.uk/actor-awareness.html

Writers nights: Held every month in various locations. This is a informal forum for people to gather and generate ideas. It is a safe environment so people can bring an idea, a script, we can read material out or discuss ideas. Places are £8, please email tanheartssteph@gmail.com for a spot

Cabaret Night- More detail to follow but we have a very exciting event coming up!!

Film- we have several film ideas n the pipeline that hopefully we can tell you about one day soon, so keep your eyes peeled

John Byrne

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You are a performer, agent, coach and writer, that is a lot of hats, what do you love doing the most?

I think for anybody working in the arts, having to juggle a number of jobs has always been an issue-although, due to both technology the current economy it has now become something people in all walks of life have to do. For me the common factor in all the things I do is using my communication skills to help people to break through the barriers that might be holding their own artistic development back, whether that’s a kid in one of my shows who thinks he can’t draw, or an actor at one of my workshops who thinks they can’t plan their business.

When you were growing up what influenced you towards the arts?
I was always keen on books, comics, stage and screen, but I think the book which really ‘flipped the switch’ for was a book I read when I was about 13 on the making of the original Star Trek TV series. It had interviews with actors, writers, set designers…all very commonplace in books these days but a revelation back then….and I suddenly realised that a) real people made these productions and b) I could be one of those people. I’ve been involved in many and various radio, TV and stage productions since then but I sometimes still feel like that 13 year old who is in wonderment that he is now behind the scenes like the people I used to read about.

What excites you about theatre?
Even with all the advantages of new technology, there are still a lot of practical hoops to jump through to get work on screen, whereas not only is there something very collaborative and ‘instant’ about theatre-even when it has been in rehearsals for weeks!-but it has the magic that it is different every time you do it.

What do you feel is a real and current issue within the industry right now? You have been supporting Actor awareness, firstly thank you and secondly what do you feel about Actor Awareness as a campaign?

For me, inclusivity is the biggest issue in the industry right now… but to be honest I think it has always been an issue, it is just that the internet and new media has given it a voice. As Lucille Ball (who most people remember as a comedian but who was also the first woman to ever head up a major American production company) said ‘Ability without Opportunity doesn’t amount to much.’ I don’t think it is an ‘anti-posh’ or ‘anti-men’ or ‘anti-white’ issue I can think of many ‘posh white male’ actors who are deservedly successful because they are undeniably talented, who work hard and who give back, and fair play to them-the problem is more that the initial opportunities to get going in the industry aren’t as easily available to some as to others, and I think this is the area where we all need to work towards a positive expansion. For me one of the most encouraging developments of the Actors Awareness campaign are initiatives like the scratch nights, so that as well as raising the issue of opportunity, the campaign is actively creating opportunity.

When you coach actors what’s your top tip?
Every actor is different but one of the really important steps for all of us is to work out what in our careers is inside our control and what is outside and making the commitment to work consistently on the stuff we have control over, while forming positive alliances and relationships to help get some leverage on the rest.

What do you feel about drama schools, the inequality (in some peoples opinion) in uni trained and drama school trained students? Drama school fees? Drama school showcases? The fact more and more drama school want to drop out of the accredited system, meaning finance will be available to less?
I always say that while training of any sort never guarantees success in this business, and there have always been successful ‘self taught’ actors, it’s a hard enough business at the best of times that proper training is big advantage-so not having access to training is by implication a disadvantage. Talent is obviously an accident of birth, which actors don’t have control over, as indeed is the social and financial situation they are born into. Hard work is something they do have control over, and in the movies that should be enough in itself to achieve their goals, but in real life , we still need to work towards a more level playing field to enable every actor to have an equal chance of benefitting from their hard work in both the training and career situations.

Thank you John for you time, here John has given us lots of words of wisdom and food for thought.

Headshots

Actors need a wide range of tools and essentials in order to get started and be a working actor. One of the most important things an actor needs is a good headshot, it is what casting directors, agents and employers see first, it is their first impression of you. It needs to be professional, truthful and something that demonstrates you as a person.

Sounds easy right? Wrong. I have had mine done several times over and each time people tell me it doesn’t look like me or I don’t look my age. It is an expensive, yet completely fundamental, task to keep searching and hoping that the next photographer will capture the real you without it being a waste of time.

Therefore, this section will be a monthly aid to point you in the right direction of a professional headshot photographer but at a reasonable price.

If you have an agent, get them to recommend what type of shots they think you should have done. It’s recommended that your headshot be either in colour (unedited) or black and white, as they are the most neutral and natural settings that won’t drastically change how you look; which some filters do. Most agents/photographers would also recommend that you show up with lots of different clothing options so that the photographer can give you different variations.

Alishia Love
Alishia Love Headshots
http://www.alishialoveheadshots.com

Alicia Love is a competent and professional headshot photographer offering our readers a discount. £125  for:

– 7 retouched images (5 of your choice + 2 of mine)

– Unlimited changes/looks

– Colour & B&W versions of each retouched shot received.

Quote ‘actor awareness’ when booking. 1st November-1st December

Jason Mitchell

Jason Mitchell is a London based photographer with years of experience and a fantastic website ( I have added the link below for you to check out his credentials).

His standard package is £100, and it gives you great quality images for a price that won’t break the bank. Headshots are usually up in the £250 price bracket, and I think Jason’s service for a 1.5hr shoot and 6 final retouched images is brilliant; and the final product is that of someone who charges more than double. He is super friendly and makes you feel super relaxed on set… he’s also a little bit cheeky.

http://www.jasonstuartmitchell.co.uk/#!blog/cgx2