Let’s call it ‘Me time’ ! Using certain words that have positive connotations helps us feel more at ease. We are all going to have plenty of time on our hands. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that time is not to be wasted. We never know what’s round the corner so why not prepare for the best? After reading this you’ll be thriving and ready to take opportunities that come your way with a new thirst for what you love! Read below on how to make the most of this time as an actor/creative:
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”
Like many performers, especially when starting out in the industry, having a day job is pretty much the norm and thus, day’s off are a rarity. I have worked 24 day’s straight; day job and filming block in between, before what I like to call ‘me time’. When that day comes, I then find myself getting the laundry done, taxes or auditioning via self-tape!
As I’m sure you are all aware, Boris Johnson announced new measures this evening which means the UK is following suit with other affected countries and going into lockdown. This means that noone can leave their home other than for work (if you are a keyworker), medicine, essentials such as food and exercise provided it’s with your household members only. I know it sounds scary and it is going to be a challenging time, especially for us creatives that love to make films, put together shows and meet up at networking events.
THE GOOD NEWS IS…all the things you’ve been meaning to do can be done!
MONOLOGUE PREP Use this time to learn your monologue for that audition that you might get asked to perform! It’s also handy to know for when Mandy (a job site for actor’s) run their monologue competition! Or in case you are asked at a Cannes party to perform one (yes, that ACTUALLY happened to me in Cannes 2019) Maybe even push the boat out and choose a monologue with an accent you aren’t great at yet so that you can kill two birds with one stone (so to speak). SELF NOTE: never lie on your CV. I would never personally have the guts to try but some of my performer mates had a hard time in the casting room after they did! I’m sure you have all seen Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) on the Graham Norton Show? If not, link here for a laugh and great tip: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p081ywhz
CREATIVE WRITING Get that short film written that you’ve been meaning to write. Even if you’re not a good writer, it could serve as a draft example or treatment for a skilled writer to then finalise for you! What about your showreel? If you feel there is a character you would love to play and haven’t been cast for, why not write a scene that will showcase your ability to do so. When lockdown is over and normal life resumes, you’ll be one step ahead with new material ready to be filmed! If you’re a director, producer or writer get your package ready for your pitches!
BUILD ON YOUR INDUSTRY CONTACT LIST Make a list of all the casting director’s and directors/writer’s/producers you really want to work with, follow them on social media and start building those relationships! We may not be able to attend our regular workshops or networking events but Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn are still there so USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
SELF-TAPE PRACTICE If you’re like me and relatively new to the screen acting world, practising a monologue or scene in front of the camera more can only better your chances at getting that audition. Maybe even just filming yourself pulling different expressions and seeing what translates as over-acting or under-acting on screen too. Use this time to also look up the best ways to set up a self tape and have a look at making room in your flat/home for when the auditions start rolling in again. Remember, white plain wall is a minimum requirement so maybe find a bedsheet and iron it to hang behind you or ask if you can paint a wall white (if you rent or live at home with parents/guardians that is).
NETFLIX AND CHILL …Genuinely chill because you are in lock down! (There’s going to be a baby boom let’s face it). Jokes aside, there cannot be a better time than now to sit and watch all kinds of shows, films and theatre productions that have been recorded or to support independent film and watch their shorts and debut features! This is not only great research for characterisation and story but also great conversation starter’s at networking events!
READ TIL YOUR HEART’S CONTENT Whether it be play’s or books, we can learn a lot about the world and it is also scientifically proven that reading helps elevate stress, depression and anxiety as well as lessen our chances of getting Alzheimer’s later in life. Now, as actor’s we need these bad boy brain’s to retain as many lines as possible so best get reading folks!
LISTEN TO PODCASTS PODCASTS are the BOMB! I know what you’re thinking; why would you want to listen to a bunch of people talking that is the worst part in radio right? wrong! I thought that until I popped my podcast cherry and then I realised it was exactly what I needed! why?
1. Industry professionals often are guest speakers and answer questions that we ALL want answers for!
2. They, both guest speakers and hosts, often speak about how they started out and that not only motivates you but reminds you that we all have a different path to success.
3. They are a community of creatives. Everyone that listens or is involved are in the industry and will be potential mates or contacts for your next project/job!
4. Depending on the niche of the podcast, you can also get tips in “HOW TO…” write/make a film/start out as an actor et al.
If you don’t know where to start, one of my personal favourites is ‘The Filmmaker’s Podcast’ by hosts Giles Alderson a director, writer and producer (The Dare), Dan Richardson (Retribution), Andrew Rodger (World of Darkness) , Christian James (Fanged Up), Robbie McKane, director and photographer and finally Dom Lenoir a director and producer (Winter Ridge, I love my mum) who is always advocating creativity and pursuing your dreams. They discuss how to make a film from micro to big budgets and all that could potentially go wrong WILL so you’ve just got to find ways to solve it instead… a head’s up of that potential mess will help – TRUST ME!
My other favourite podcast being Pure Graft by Tom Stokes and today’s episode is how to stay positive during the lockdown also!
How to stay positive and connected
Take care of yourself by also keeping in contact with loved ones and friends via phone, video calling (skype/zoom are great apps) and also pamper yourself. Here is a picture below from Pintetest /Glamour Magazine UK, on how to stay connected when feeling down:
Your first industry contact,
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