Fabricating From Home
Hello and welcome to our isolation station!
We will be posting videos and blogs to keep us busy and you entertained!
So far, we have blogs from Artistic Producers Bryan Parry and Catherine Lamb as well as our new shot-from-home short film,
'Stay at Home Hero'.
9th April 2020
Once again I found myself stuck as an actor. Working most days of the week, with no auditions in sight. Months passed me by and I had no creative output. This ultimately left me feeling frustrated and unsatisfied.
I kept thinking to myself, ‘I’m here living in London in order to be an actor and all I’m doing is working to pay the bills.’
Of course, there are many things that I could be doing to change my acting fortunes. I could be writing to casting directors, going to workshops or, ‘networking’ (sigh). But none of these things quench the thirst for my creativity.
My friend Ashley invited me to take part in a 48- hour short film competition with him and a couple of his filmmaker friends. With nothing better to do I thought, why the hell not! It beats spending the day at my day job and at least I get to do some sort acting. We started the film making process and how fun it was! What I particularly enjoyed was the collaborative process. Like minded creatives pulling together to create a film.
What this made me realise was that there are a pool of filmmaker's out there all equally as hungry for the opportunity to be creative.
After the 48-hour film competition Ashley challenged me to write my first short film. As someone who had always struggled in school and being heavily dyslexic the prospect of this seemed incredibly daunting and intimidating. Me? A writer? If you told Mrs Lewis at school that I’d attempt to be a writer, she would laugh in your face.
With nothing to lose, I thought that I might as well give it a shot and how glad I am that I did. Finally, I had something that I could be creative with. I had a blank page in front of me and I could create whatever world or story I wanted. This for me was exciting. I could come home from work and have that creative outlet I was so desperately looking for. Who knows what we do with this short film? Or if we’ll even make it? If it will be any good? Who cares! This is about doing something for me and I found great strength in that.
In the acting world you are so often waiting for someone to give you an opportunity. For this I didn’t need a, ‘yes’, I was in complete control. I could write about things that I wanted to talk about. Which is why I think it is so important for more us out there to start creating our own work. This way there will be a wider variety of stories being told by a wider variety of people and this can only be a good thing.
After 19 drafts (I had a lot to learn) I had my final script, ‘Engaged’. We got the team back together from the 48-hour film competition and filmed it on a budget of just £500. Seeing my film go from page to screen was extremely satisfying.
‘Engaged’, went on to do the festival circuit and received many selections and nominations including, the Birmingham International Film Festival, Oregon Short Film Festival, London Independent Film Festival and Crystal Palace International Film Festival. It also won ‘Best Drama Short’ at the Love Story Film Festival (NRFF).
So, what I’m really trying to say is, if I can do it (a hopeless dyslexic), so can you. Get out there, write and create. Take control a little and be the one in the driving seat for once. It feels good.
31st March 2020
Panic attacks. I hate them. I first had them auditioning for drama schools. My face would go crimson, eyes would water, mouth would go dry and I could hear my heart beat in my ears - not ideal!
However, I did get in to a drama school and I loved my training and I forgot all about my pesky panic attacks.
Unfortunately, on graduating and being back in the real world with the reality of auditioning, they returned and were worse than ever. All my potential, training and skill was irrelevant because I couldn’t demonstrate it. But the more auditions I had and the more acting work I booked, the less they happened.
A few years later and after a long period of ‘resting’ I found myself in an audition room and it happened again. Anyone suffering from panic attacks will know the frustration you feel when all your preparation goes up in smoke because something else takes over, something beyond our control sneaks up on us and strikes at the last moment. I opened my mouth to speak and nothing came out. They asked me who my agent was and I could not speak! When telling the story to mates at the pub (when we could go to the pub that is!) it was funny and we laughed about how horrendously awkward the whole situation was. At the time, however, it was not funny, not funny at all. I was swiftly exited from the room and on leaving, I heard a woman waiting her turn say, ‘well that was quick’ and she laughed. I left the building and broke down and sat on a bench in a London square.
I think most actors will agree that being an actor is part of your identity. It’s how people see you and how you see yourself. You are the ‘actor’ in the family. It is a huge personal investment and to contemplate walking away from that is very difficult. You don’t want to be a failure. If you are not an actor then who are you? Where do you sit in the world? What the hell do you do now?
I sat on the bench in the sun and got myself together. Being good at acting is not enough. You need to be a good salesman too, as well as all the other mystical things that need to slot into place. There is nothing I love doing more in the world than performing on stage as part of a company, all working together to tell a beautiful, dark, funny, moving or twisted tale. But that’s not the whole job.
The scary and unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in resembles something from a Sci-Fi film. Every morning I wake up and think, really!? Is this really happening? For anyone like me who may have been agonising over something or have something that’s been dragging them down, I would use this time to allow things to sit in perspective. Everything I was agonising over and sad about has been dwarfed.
This global experience seems to have ironically connected people, despite physically distancing us from one another, we are perhaps more connected than ever. More caring, more aware, more mindful of our neighbours, more likely to call elderly relatives - less self absorbed.
Our wedding was cancelled and I have to say no crappy audition however crummy, is quite as heartbreaking as that. But even with that, we were joined and connected with thousands of people around the globe in an identical position and thousands of people in far worse situations.
The next few months will be hard but if we focus on what binds us in this difficult time, something good may actually come out of this surreal and devastating experience.
As far as the acting goes, it’s safe to say, it all feels a little frivolous now. But it is in times of adversity that art can have the power to connect people, give hope and lift spirits. So let's write, watch and read because what we all need right now is a little bit of escapism.
Let’s take the pressure off ourselves and value what is truly worth valuing.