An Actors Fight: Racism, Sexism & Discrimination

An Actors Fight: Racism, Sexism & Discrimination

Due to the recent sad and quite frankly, barbaric circumstances of racism, there has been a lot more information, resources and discussion in support of Black Lives Matter which is great to see. In our industry, Casting Directors, Drama schools and various professional bodies are speaking out about their involvement in racism and what they plan on doing about it as well as the support and changes they will be making for a better tomorrow. The movement has caused, very rightly, an uproar highlighting the systematic racism that has existed for centuries. I believe that now everyone has been forced into lockdown during the pandemic, losses of jobs, more time at home has enabled people to have time to think! To actually process what is STILL happening around the world just because of someone’s skin colour or sexual orientation; people have been more involved and aware of socio-political issues. I personally believe that if we do not fight for what we believe in, we are part of the problem. I want to share with you, the ways in which actors and fellow filmmakers can fight and stand by our fellow BME and LGBT+ colleagues and create global change:

  1. When you’re on set or talking to fellow filmmakers and are asked to suggest reliable, professional actors, make sure you recommend as many awesome LGBT+ and BME (black and Minority ethnic) actors as possible too. This will ensure more chances for those that don’t have as many castings due to the assumption every character is white. We must stand together on this to help change this pre-conceived idea.
  2. Actors cast too. For example, when we write our own short films, features or showreel scenes and are looking for actors to work with, that we trust and know are right for the role, that is essentially casting. I have my own theatre company and always leave the audition/cast open to all ethnicities. In fact, as a Greek actress that has lived in the UK since 5 and speaks with a British accent and is considered white – other, but not quite seen as British, I understand how horrible it can be to feel an outcast just because you’re not born here but also recognise because I am white representing I am PRIVILEGED. It is important to acknowledge what this means. “White privilege doesn’t mean that your life hasn’t been difficult or full of riches, it means your skin tone isn’t one of the things making it harder” anonymous. When you are casting, it is your duty and responsibility to be part of the solution not the problem.
  3. Writing/ devising your own work is exciting. As actors and filmmakers, playwrights and screen writers we aren’t just creative. We can use our art, our voice and experiences in the world to shed light on society then, now and what could be. Our written work has the ability to create a whole new world as well as reflect today’s world too. Which means, if you’re representing Britain today, then realistically you would have a LOT of cultures and ethnicities in your work because we are such a beautiful and multi-cultural country. So when you write your next piece, don’t only include different cultures and ethnicities  in your character but perhaps even write about a different culture too. When writing a character, can they not just be an LGBT+ member in general? You don’t have to write a story about Mediterranean, Asians, Latin Americans , Africans or transgender, gender neutral or gay individuals. Write a story and make that just part of their characterisation. That would be more forward thinking and I would love to see more work that represents the world we live in truthfully. Another point to consider here is, if something you have written must be historically accurate then try to tell it from a different perspective. For example, there are countless world war films, which is important as we don’t want to repeat that EVER, but how many of them, by the big blockbuster studios, are not from an American or British perspective? How many of them show you the varied ethnicities that joined the British army to help us fight those wars? Or the involvement that women played in the war? If your written work is fiction – then why does the cast need to all be one particular ethnic group? The answer is they don’t need to be unless of course it is integral to the storyline like someone’s biological daughter. Think about these things when you write and research, research, research (in history books and the internet not just by watching films that have been)because remember we are trying to change how they’re made! * Wink wink*  
  4. Read and learn about history. I recently signed a petition on regarding colonisation and imperialism being taught at school mandatorily before choosing GCSE’s as it should not be a choice to learn about history and this would also help us understand why and how others moved here from around the world; mostly invited by the way and how we can shape the future of the next generation if we provide them with a well-rounded education.
  5. Stand up for injustice, discrimination, racism and sexism on (and off) set. If you don’t feel comfortable to do so in a large crowd, approach the producer or director so that a safe space can be created. Another alternative is to speak to professional bodies or unions such as Equity (UK) or SAG (USA) to get their advice on how to best handle the situation and if necessary to report such behaviour.

I wrote this blog because although I have hired a lot of ethnicities and members of LGBT+ because they were GREAT actors, I do feel that I still have room to grow and improve. A recent realisation being that I had written a story based in the 1950’s. There were many ethnicities around in England back then too, in fact we had Indians fighting in WWII for the UK and many other culturally diverse individuals. Yet, I instantly pictured the character’s as white represented. I asked myself why?  Well, quite honestly it was genuinely because when I wrote it I pictured two actors I really enjoy working with because of their talent and reliability but when I dug deeper into my subconscious and asked myself difficult questions this is what I found too to be the case; societal assumption due to the films, books and things I have been exposed to from that time that I connect that era with. I am glad I challenged myself on this; it opened up a discussion between myself and the director on how we can make it more inclusive and honest to what the world was truly like in that era and not just what has been portrayed to us in big studio Hollywood films. We will also cast other scenes we have written more consciously and recommend to each other actors that are less represented in our industry.

So, I hope as an actor this has made you think a little more on ways in which you can help make this a fair and just industry and represent the world we live in within your work – let’s stop the systematic racism together because we all have the power to create change.

Your First Industry Contact,

Kelly Juvilee

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The Secret To Being Positive: An Actors Guide

The Secret To Being Positive: An Actors Guide


As creatives, we are going to experience an unusual amount of rejection. Our industry functions in a different way to most. It is more like project management; when one project finishes you must look for the next one. We don’t have a job interview and then have the luxury to stay for 10 years within that role, instead we have audition after audition, and we aren’t always going to be the right fit for every role. This is because our talent, taste, quirks, and mannerisms, that make us unique, won’t always adhere to what a director and casting director want that time. Thus, actors need a POSITIVE mindset. Below I discuss  why having one will help you achieve great things in life, in and outside of acting, and how it will help you embrace the industry – staying in it for the long haul. I also explore toxic positivity with you; what it is, why it is harmful and how to spot it and stop it!


When you go to an audition or to pitch a script/project, no matter how well it goes, you will walk out wondering what you could have said differently or done better. This is natural. It is how we learn. Opportunities feel rare sometimes, so we must make the most of them. Remember if you know you did YOUR best, then that is all you can ask from yourself. It will not help dwelling on the past or replaying the scenario over and over afterwards. What you can do is:

  1. Have an affirmation for every week – choose an affirmation that you will listen to or speak out loud 3 x or until you believe it. Try “I am worthy of this meeting/audition” or “I am talented and will share that talent today regardless of the result”. This helps me in any situation.
  2. Before the audition/meeting – picture how you want it to go. I believe in visualisation, regardless of how hippy dippy that may sound, even having that thought may influence you to feel more confident like you were in your vision; thoughts lead to actions.
  3. During the audition/meeting: Enjoy it! My new approach is regardless of whether I get that role or not – right now that role is MINE. In those 15 minutes of an audition I get to play it out the way I imagined, I get to be that person this is based on fictionally or non- fictional, justice. It is YOUR time so use it up as though YOU are that role and you ALREADY have the job. Why? All your hard work, homework and prep is not wasted because you got to ACT 😊
  4. After the audition/meeting – write down what went well. Be realistic though, if there is something you really messed up write a note for next time so that you can learn from your mistakes. We all make them. Now LET IT GO, it is in the past. Onto the next!


When you have a positive mindset, always seeing the good in a situation or the lesson to be had, you become more resilient. I have experienced jealousy, bullying and emotionally abusive relationships. However, my positivity has helped me grow a resilience and strength. Positive people are not unrealistic, in fact we are very in tune with situations and people’s ulterior motives, what we are is optimistic. This means, we find the lesson in those that hurt us, we find a silver lining to a bad experience and we seek self -improvement and growth instead of just blaming others. Positive people do not often quit but they do know when to let go. They understand why constant negativity is not productive and try to lessen their engagement with those that are not a positive and healthy influence on them. When I say constant negativity, I am not talking about a friend, family member or work colleague that is going through a REALLY hard time. I am talking about someone that is putting you down constantly, speaking ill of other’s all the time and revels in the unhappiness of others. That to me is negativity. Not someone who may be going through depression or a difficult time; that’s just human. I have many friends who have very tricky lives and yet always find something to smile about. It gets them through – keeps them going. To practice resilience, the following works well for me:

  1. Think about past hardships/mistakes – what were the lessons you took from them? Next time you experience a difficult time in your life, this will serve as practise so that you can find the lesson and feel more at peace with a situation in the future.
  2. Take action to better a situation – Sometimes, we will work with people we don’t particularly gel with or have difficult things happen to us. So, we must always find a way to lessen or solve the problem. If you are on set and don’t seem to get involved in the chat with them even though you have tried your best, perhaps the only way to lessen this problem is by focusing on the job at hand and journaling the experience when off set. This way you are releasing tension and not seeking other people’s validation. You are there to do a job so enjoy it as there will be another soon – where the people may be a better fit. Plus, the lesson to be had here is not everyone will like us, and we don’t need to force them to. They will remember you for your hard work and professionalism.
  3. Find ways to adapt – sometimes life does not go the way we planned, so always be flexible to adapting your goals and finding new ways to get there.


Have you ever felt down, anxious or gone through a struggle and decided to share with people you know, only for them to come back with “this happened to you for a reason…” or “you’ll be fine”? even worse “Good vibes only”.  Do you then feel frustrated and hurt that your valid feelings have been undermined and dismissed? Those statements are called toxic positivity and it is harmful. Being positive is a great way to live the life you deserve, and I encourage it. The happier the thoughts the better you feel. However, that does not mean because you are a positive person you will not feel negative emotions or sad. Life will throw crazy stuff your way and being positive just means you are able to talk about it, figure out what your thoughts and feelings mean and then dust yourself off and try again. There is a dangerous territory that unravels, in the land of social media especially, where toxic positivity can be rife. When I told people about a recent struggle, I was met with a lot of lovely messages, but some made me feel worse and I could not figure out why. Then I realised, those statements like the ones above, wouldn’t have been harmful to me at the time if they were met with a listening ear and validation of the situation I was in or had offered some advice but because as stand-alone statements they are meaningless and dismissive.

By avoiding difficult emotions, you miss out on valuable information that will help you identify a problem or fear. For example, when you are scared, your emotions are telling you, “Be aware of those around you or this environment.” Emotions enable us to figure out what is going on in the given moment, but they don’t tell you exactly what to do or how to react which is why it is important to talk to other’s and share those emotions. If you are scared of auditions, it could be because you know you haven’t done as much preparation as you’d like so those emotions inform us of what we can do to make our situation better for next time. That is why it is important to know that being positive does NOT mean you do not feel sad, angry, disappointed, scared, or betrayed et al. It just means, after feeling these emotions, you will be better equipped to analyse why you feel that way, what causes those reactions and how to solve them or the situation you are in.

How do we spot and stop toxic positivity? What does toxic positivity even look like? Here is a chart below of some examples:

Toxic positivityPositive / accepting statements
Don’t worry, stay positive!I can see that you are really stressed, is there anything I can do to help?
Failure is not an option – just give it your all!Failure is a part of growth and success. Without failure we don’t learn what works and what doesn’t.
Everything will be fine and work out in the end.This is really hard right now, I am thinking of you and here when you need someone to talk to but I know you will get through this and I will be here to support you.
Good vibes only here…Suffering and hardship is a part of life, you are not alone.
Look for the silver liningI think, once a solution has been found, you will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. How can I help?
Everything happens for a reason / tomorrow is a new daySometimes, we can draw the short straw in life – let’s see if we can find a way to make tomorrow a better day for you.
It could be worseToday sucks. I am here for you and willing to listen. Let’s also talk about all the good in your life right now or things you are in control of.


To achieve greatness in life we must have a certain level of self-belief (which I talk about in my blog posts below). Success can only be defined by what YOUR perception of it is and everyone’s goal post is different. For me, positivity is my route to success. Whenever I feel sad, lost or like I’m never going to ‘make it’, I remind myself of all the great actors or writers, directors et al that made it after many setbacks or later on in life as well as everything I have achieved thus far. So, to move forward and maintain an optimistic outlook on life and your acting career I want to remind you of the steps you can take to stay positive:

  1. Write down your goals
  2. Write down everything you have achieved so far; no matter how big or small it all adds up!
  3. Keep a journal of emotions
  4. Talk to trusted friends, family, or a therapist.
  5. Do a vision board
  6. Remind yourself why you are an actor
  7. Find/write down a positive affirmation to look at when needed

I feel it is important for creatives to be equipped with how we can be positive as this is a career that has no definitive timeline. Everyone moves at different paces based on the opportunities they manage to receive. Equally being aware that our industry is always encouraging positivity, which is great but can also lead onto some taking it further into toxic positivity territory, it is important to know that it is safe to feel. As an actor you will need to feel a lot so be open to feelings and why they are there. It will only serve your talent more. Venting and releasing is a much better and healthier solution that bottling things up. I believe positive people can express their feelings – that is how they find the strength to keep moving forward with a smile on their face. No matter what happens in life, let yourself feel, talk, or write about it, then find the solution and get back up and go again. To conclude, start a positive mindset by making the decision that the world has as much good as it does bad and release any resistance to this daily. Optimism is a learnable skill and you can acquire it. Also, have a balanced life, work you enjoy, hobbies, exercise, eating as well as you can and human interaction/connection. You are worthy of everything good this world has to offer, so when you find that little negative voice getting you down telling you you’re not good enough for that role or you can’t act,  take some of the steps above to help navigate yourself back to positive thinking and smash each and every audition like it’s the job! You have got this.

Your First Industry Contact,

Kelly Juvilee

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6 Ways an Actor can De-role

6 Ways an Actor can De-role

Image result for dressing room clip art


As an actor, we tend to be empaths, emotionally intelligent and sensitive individuals. An understanding of the human psyche is also very important. We are trained to pour our pain into our characters to make them relatable and sometimes exposed to emotional triggers. We are encouraged to not judge a character that has made a choice we don’t agree with morally but instead to embrace it and find out why they did it, how did they justify it to themselves and ultimately to understand them for who they are, as they are. All while maintaining a professional and positive approach to auditions and our work on set/stage.  This means that we are twice as likely as the general public to undergo mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety and many more. So how can we as actors maintain a positive and healthy mindset? How can we de-role?

De-roling is not, from my own experience, been taught in schools, universities or drama clubs. Taking on a new persona during filming or for a show, can trigger past traumas, open old wounds and surface issues we didn’t even know we had. Although we can use this serve our performance and make it the more believable, it is also important to be making conscious choices on the characters we take on and open about what those causes may be with those that hire us. We all have different upbringings, different wounds and lessons learnt and we don’t all have the same mental health conditions. That is why it is important to learn how to de-role especially if our character goes through a traumatic experience. So here are 6 ways in which I find it helpful to de-role:

  1. Talking about how that rehearsal, audition, play or filming went with your peers or at home with friends/family and what it was like to play the character.
  2. Talking about your character as a different person. I often refer to my character as “she” and their character name when discussing. I know people look at me funny but it doesn’t make sense for me to talk about them as “me” because it wasn’t me doing that or making those choices it was “her”. That for me feels very cathartic, separate and healthy.
  3. Listing the similarities and differences. This was actually taught to me by an LA acting coach I had the pleasure to work with during her intensive workshop here in the UK in 2017 and since then for a couple of online skype sessions. By having a clear idea as to what makes you and your character different or similar you able to understand them and their choices better and it helps you de-role because you know who you are and your unique self.
  4. Hanging up a costume – by placing the costume away and mindfully taking it off you are able to rid them and go back into your own clothes as you.
  5. Physical activity – it could even be you shaking your arms and legs to shake the character off. Yoga, meditation, running, swimming and anything that can help your body, mind and soul realign with you.
  6. Have a laugh with those around you on set/stage before, during breaks and after performing. Your humour and your connection with those individuals will remind you that you are not the one going through what your character is and also just instantly take you back to your way of speaking, moving, thinking and being.

I think this is a relatively new subject matter, but I’d like to encourage us to have this safe space to discuss it and hopefully make it an industry practice. Another exercise you may want to do is to make a list of your values and your personality traits/triggers and desires so that you know the differences between you and your character too. Sometimes, we human’s like to supress emotions and have no idea as a consequence that it is a deep rooted problem we have forgotten about until we are prompted by those scenes being acted out –  If you are given a script/role whereby the character is going through something very close to home for you that you didn’t expect, think about talking to a therapist. There is no shame in receiving help to heal and makes you no less of a great actor. If anything it can mean you are able to handle those triggers and serve the character with even more nuance all the while maintaining joy and happiness within your own mindset.

As it’s mental health awareness week, you may want to also read my previous blog about setting healthy boundaries as an actor Boundaries are also important in our industry and as a tool in every day life.

Your First Industry Contact,

Kelly Juvilee

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Should an Actor work for free?

Should an Actor work for free?

This has been an ongoing debate within our industry for, well  probably before you and I were born! Let’s tackle this together and also open the portal to discussion in a safe space; feel free to comment under this blog your thoughts and opinions too.


A lot of new creatives need a way into the industry without needing to be privileged and to gain experience in working at a professional capacity; just like internships in other industries. Also in order to build a portfolio of work / experience to show prospective employers and thus having to take on free or low paid work as a result. It can vary from student projects to start-up theatre shows or independent films.

Does this mean only those that are lucky enough to have investors and financially comfortable parents/guardians are able to make it in our industry? Does that mean we should lose out on fresh new talent because of financial difficulty? It’s like that vicious cycle of “how can I get experience, if no-one will hire me?” It also depends on the individual’s circumstances. When I graduated, I had no idea how to take the first step into the industry or how to apply for acting jobs (something they need to start teaching). I worked a full-time job and saved whilst living at home; saving was only possible on a minimum salary job because my parents were only charging a little for rent and food/bills. Then I used these savings to start my own theatre company. The first ever performance I only had enough to pay for a theatre venue so held rehearsals in my home and at local church halls that let me borrow it for a few hours and paid for the performers travel and food; performers were recent graduates and friends that I knew needed this exposure as much as I did so it was a mutually benefiting experience. When we broke even; so the amount made from show was enough to pay for the theatre venue, I saved again for a further year and put the same show on again and called back the same actors and paid everyone for their performance/rehearsal time too. However, if they hadn’t been okay with doing the first show for travel costs then I wouldn’t have been able to get us the second gig fully funded and paid! It was mutually benefiting because those actors got to perform in the West End, had a new credit on their CV, a DVD of the performance and experience of working on a professional show; we also made sure everyone had an equally big part and chose plays that reflected that. We also received 5 and 4 star reviews and were brought back every year for 4 years. From our latest show, I even managed to get representation which lead to more paid work and I recommended many actors to said agent.


This answer is individualistic. However, for me personally it has worked quite well having a full time job and a part time acting career just to gain relevant experience and contacts. I would use my time off from work and book holiday time off to be able to:

  1. Invest in my own acting career – as we are the product we are selling by going to workshops/ headshots etc.
  2. Get involved in projects with people that know what they are doing but have a small budget – thus gaining set experience and playing a lead role and learn camera techniques rather than paying for a course.
  3. Use the material for my show reel
  4. Help out friends in the industry that have amazing ideas but small budget and in return gain a further credit on my C.V.

You could also do the above by working with friends and contacts that have also recently graduated or just started out and may need the same criteria as you – you could do shows together and make short films.


I would personally, not suggest you do any nude scenes for free or low paid work. That is a personal not professional opinion however and should be at your discretion; we all have a different relationship with our bodies and also different boundaries. Always speak to your agent or union and make sure the job breakdown is a trusted source. The reason why I have this boundary is because I don’t feel comfortable with nude scenes anyway and so if I were to do them I would feel safer and happier knowing they are with bigger companies/film productions that would have an intimacy coach on set or at least an intimacy contract outlining the needs of the nudity needed and what the terms and conditions are regarding my personal needs of said scenes as well as to what I agreed to show. There was an interesting webinar on this held by Nancy Bishop with Ita O’brien and Marci Liroff (casting directors and intimacy coaches) that talked about their work on set and suggested that if independent filmmakers needed an intimacy coach or wanted to show nudity/scenes of sexual nature, they can contact them and ask for one of their trainee’s to work for free – to gain experience and put it on their C.V. It also means that Ita and Marci can implement this as an industry must and not something that only big studios can afford which in turn means everyone is protected during scenes of this nature and the industry is moving forward in a positive way and protecting all those working in our industry.


Everyone knows that our industry is over-saturated to an extent that there are 60,000 actors on spotlight alone and every year there are new university or drama school graduates as well as those that may not have trained but have a talent and passion for the industry. So, if there are always people willing to work for free how do we protect those that are wanting to make a living? Painters and lawyers don’t need to work for free so why should we right? Well, it’s not true actually and I personally find those examples redundant. Lawyers that are experienced and working on great rates also often volunteer their time for family court cases and other such cases for legal aid. There are also new carpenters and painters that will offer to do a mate’s home for free to advertise (win-win) and then gain paid clients from there.

Unpaid work should be made illegal…

Some people believe that in order to maintain fairness in our industry, we must ban free work adverts and not allow free work at all to be posted. Statistics have shown that if that were to happen it would drive away at least 80% of our creative filmmakers and performers. Would that be a good thing for the industry? In one perspective I can see why that would help those that are experienced and working actors seeking paid work; It would mean less exploitation and more respect of our skills and rate transparency. However, it would mean the death of new art that someone less privileged may have to offer the world as it would never see the light of day due to a lack of spare finances or financial backing.

Let’s talk about student films. One solution could be that they hire actors from the drama department within their university and if an actor is needed from a different age bracket then they offer the students a budget or train them in crowdfunding/fundraising events for travel costs, lunch and minimum wage for hours worked. This would mean, the students learn good practice and the actors from the drama department would have show reel material before graduating which in turn means getting paid work when officially out in the big world. The actor’s that are from a different age bracket would be paid low pay and would at least not be working for free but gaining extra material. I also have seen many actors not receiving the material for a very long time and so I think that is where contracts can be introduced and taught within these spaces and actors must receive material within a set period just like an invoice for financial transactions. This is just food for thought.


If a an independent project has a budget in place for crew then there should be one for actors. You are no less worthy of that budget so make sure you find out what the terms and conditions are and if they have a budget/financial backing and why they can’t pay you a wage; can they at least cover travel costs and food and are you happy to take it on if so? If there is a BBC production or Channel 4 being made, they have a lot more access to regular funding than those of independent films and thus should not be hiring actors for free. This will mean industry rates are transparent and everyone is being treated fairly. Again, always check with your agent and professional bodies that the job has been posted on i.e. Spotlight or Mandy here in the UK and unions such as Equity for help and advice.


In conclusion, once you have relevant experience and a portfolio, I think it’s important for you to accept that you are now a professional working actor not a beginner thus should be taking the steps to seek and apply for paid work. Learn to negotiate your pay with your agents advice or from a union (SAG/Equity) and also look at similar jobs and their going rates. Accepting free work is a choice and knowing your value is important. There is nothing wrong in working for free when it is mutually benefiting. I’ve been involved in some of the most creative and inspirationl film concepts and gained invaluable on set experience. Instead of going on screen acting courses, the low pay and free work opportunities I have been part of have propelled my career forward with excellent new credits. Make the decision best for you regarding where you’re at in your career. Remember, the only way to truly protect yourself and the industry is knowing your boundaries and your worth!

Your 1st Industry Contact,

Kelly Juvilee

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An Actors Way To Healthy Boundaries

An Actors Way To Healthy Boundaries

Getting comfortable with saying “no” to live the life and career YOU want.

Setting boundaries is important for our mental health and our relationships with others as well as ourselves. It is beneficial therefore to also set boundaries as an actor, writer, director, producer et al. Why? Because our industry is quite often as last minute and demanding as it is amazing and rewarding.

Throughout my life, I have been a YES person. That means that if someone asks for help or for a favour it is very unlikely I would say no. In fact, I don’t think I would say no. Then I realised

  1. Not everyone’s intentions are pure
  2. Some people take from you constantly and it gets pretty exhausting as you have no energy left to take care of yourself
  3. People that don’t like to hear NO are the one’s that will continually cross your boundaries and disrespect you.
  4. Stress and anxiety can take over because you feel too guilty to not adhere to someone else’s needs and wants.

How did I get okay with saying NO more? To be really honest, I STILL struggle with that at times but I have massively improved. It’s got to start with baby steps and eventually you get pretty comfortable with saying no more than yes! (I promise this is going to help you and not turn you into an evil twin version of yourself – been watching too much Jane the Virgin on Netflix). However, what made me realise to say no more was when in various areas of my life and at different points of my life too, I was BURNT OUT AND FED UP. I felt I had nothing left to give. That is a pretty clear sign that boundaries need to be set up. When I did set up healthy boundaries in a particular area of my life, it has proven fruitful. For example, when I ran my theatre company and had to fire someone due to their behaviour. That was me setting a boundary that I and my team will not tolerate a negative or harmful attitude on set. Another example is a past relationship which was toxic. When going into a new relationship I made it very clear what I would and would not accept in the relationship dynamics and that I would leave if my needs were not met and in turn I also encouraged them to share theirs too so that we could have a healthy relationship where both people have each other’s interests at heart. Let me remind you, as actor’s this will be important when finding an agent. You must communicate with each other what you both expect from each other within a professional capacity. When I get offered roles from recommendations or from previous work on set, I always call my agent and talk it through. What does the role involve, what is the pay for the role and what is the work or project like in terms of what my goals are. Then we come to a decision together. It’s important to have that relationship where you can pick up the phone and chat about these things. Sometimes, you’re going to be offered amazing roles that might clash with something your agent has got you submitted for or it might be involving something your agent nor you think is for you at this stage in your career. So always trust your gut and talk it through and together with your agent make a choice that feels right moving forward.

Below we take a look at how to fix this and live a happier and better life with a promising career. REMEMBER – IT’S YOUR CAREER, YOUR CHOICES AND YOUR CONSEQUENCES. It’s up to you what you say yes and no to!


  1. Fear of Losing out or loved ones – abandonment issues
  2. Fear of other people getting angry with your decision
  3. Guilt – feeling bad for wanting to do what’s right for you
  4. Needing Approval – wanting to put other’s before you so that they like you
  5. Lack of self – respect – if you always give in you are crossing your own boundaries and so will other’s.


  • Assess your feelings – think about the build up of stress, anxiety, anger, fear or resentment towards those overstepping. If you feel negative emotions attached to someone, then perhaps it’s time to asses why? Think about what boundaries they are crossing. Can you say no to them without it becoming personal? Can they respect your decisions without there being a negative consequence? Of course sometimes consequences are situational but if you make a decision knowing the result then it means you’re pretty happy to make it and that’s fine. I’m talking about the kind of consequences when boundary breakers decide to punish you for saying no to them.
  • Know your values – what is important to you? What do you find acceptable behaviour?  What are your limits? What do you want or not want from your life or career? The best way to find out the answers to these questions is by making notes. Here is a chart to make notes in:
  • Be assertive but also willing to compromise – setting boundaries doesn’t mean we become rude and nasty. It means, we express why something doesn’t feel right for us or our need to turn something down. However, be also willing to compromise within your own boundaries. Stay strong in your beliefs but if you can do something do it!

I want to share with you something I came up with to help me with boundaries for my acting career. I LOVE to say yes to everything that comes my way because every opportunity is a gem in it’s own way and we learn so much from new people on new sets or theatres! However, I became so complacent in saying yes that I was working 7 days a week, 365 days in the year in 2019 (loving lockdown) and it led me to feeling huge bouts of anxiety every time the phone rang with a new job. I didn’t want to feel this way for the job I LOVE AND CHOOSE TO DO! So I decided the best way was to figure out what my acting goals were and what I need to do to get there. After that, I then came up with a pendulum chart to help me make a decision on saying yes or no. I carry it in my bag and on my phone as a picture so I know I have it whenever I need to refer back:

Also, if you want to know what other professionals in our industry think about saying no, read this wonderful and informative article by backstage.

Although I have only said no to one audition (due to other booked work) I learnt that it’s okay to say no! Sometimes you’ll have to and sometimes you’ll want to. If you’re worried about how it comes across at first with work colleagues or your partner, try it out on a trusted friend and ask for their permission to try out saying small no’s to them when you don’t want to have a phone chat or you don’t want to go clubbing the same weekend you are also working the late shift. By having healthy boundaries, you will attract other boundary lovers! In fact some casting director’s this week have said that they much prefer an actor saying no to an audition than attending without your full heart in it or feeling scared if the role involves something you’re not comfortable with. Small steps lead to success.

By all means though, say yes to work that will further your career or help other’s to, say yes to helping friends whenever you can because that is being kind and say yes to things that will better your community/industry. Lastly, say YES to having more time to yourself to rejuvenate.

Too often I’ve felt bad to say NO to something I know is not serving me. Don’t be afraid to say no as it will propel you to say YES to truly big opportunities that are in alignement with what you want.

Your First Industry Contact,

Kelly Juvilee

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Why Envy Cripples An Actor

Why Envy Cripples An Actor

As adults, we tend to get caught up in societal expectations of success and our own individual pressures in succeeding which means envy tends to look a bit like this “I wish that was me. I think I could have done that role justice too. I wonder how they managed to make it onto that TV show? What can I do to get better at my craft?”. When I feel those moments of envy, I realise that the reason I feel that way is because it’s what I want or feel is missing from my life. Envy doesn’t have to be negative; we can use it for good and change the way in which we approach those feelings. I’d like to share with you what envy tells us, how we can use it to our advantage and how to turn it into self- improvement. It is important to be able to navigate people that are envious of YOU too and how to take it as a compliment!

In the past when I experienced people’s envy, I would look at myself and think “why do they give me a difficult time, I’ve not got anything special?”. Guess what, I do and you do! We are all unique and have something that distinguishes us from someone else. At some point in life someone will envy you even if it’s a stranger at an audition or it’s a friend. Why? Well, first it isn’t necessarily about you. In fact it’s about THEM and THEIR insecurities. Sometimes, we don’t like what we see in the mirror, a personality flaw or the way our life is at present and that can also call upon the green-eyed monster. When someone around us seems to be succeeding we go into this never ending spiral “I’m never going to get there! I deserve that more than them!” Am I right? However, you couldn’t be further from the truth because they DO deserve it too and you can achieve anything you want if you stop worrying about someone else and focus your energy on YOU. When I see someone that looks good, has a quality I wish I had or a great career, I make sure I tell them or ask for advice – no matter how awkward it is on the tube ride after. Here’s what I have learnt and how we don’t have to let the emotion of envy win:


Make a list of every time you have felt really crippled by envy. Underneath write down what it is you were envious of. Be honest too! Now go over that list and ask yourself could it be something you could also possess? If yes, great – work towards that. If not, then that’s fine let it go and write down something similar you love about yourself instead. If you are experiencing envy from someone else, write down what that person is envious of and feel grateful to possess that quality.


Self – worth kicks envy to the curb. When you truly love yourself and believe yourself to be worthy of great things, you don’t feel envy because you feel you are GOOD ENOUGH. Create your own positive affirmation to help in those moments of self-doubt. An affirmation is a positive statement about yourself that you can use to encourage and nurture your mindset! Loving yourself is positive and when you do that, you are able to love others more too. Affirmations are my go to when I am feeling low or doubting my own abilities. I like these the most:

“I am kind, caring and giving. The world will be kind, caring and give back to me”

“I am taking the right steps towards my own success”

Make it personal to you. I know they sound cheesy but let me throw some truth bombs on you! In 2005 there was a very interesting article published by the National Science Foundation about the research that was conducted on human thoughts. According to the results, the average person has 12,000 – 60,000  thoughts per day and out of all those 80% of them are negative. What is even more interesting is that 95% of all our thoughts are repetitive form the previous day which means, if you have a negative day it is carried through to the next. Woah! Now, what does that tell us overall? That our mindset is based on the internal communication we have with ourselves. If you are constantly putting yourself down or feeling envy toward others then it’s very likely to become a habitual pattern in your brain. So how about we change that narrative and feed ourselves more positive thoughts and self-love? Go and write that affirmation pronto and have it ready for whenever you need it!


I challenge you to compliment and congratulate 1 person a day. Don’t freak out, 1 person is you, so on day’s when you’re alone, compliment and congratulate yourself. If you’re at an audition and that guy opposite you has the best beard – tell him. If that girl has the most amazing personality trait or mannerism – tell her! I like to congratulate other’s on their success and I can honestly tell you that what I have put out has come back to me tenfold. Other people also feel happy for me because my theory is, you’ve effortlessly created a supportive group of friends that each share a common goal – to uplift and share in each other’s success AND happiness. After following all my pointers, I guarantee you will be able to be inspired by other people’s lives and attend auditions and events ready to be a kinder and happier YOU.


“Nothing is limited – not resources or anything else. It is only limited in the human mind. When we open our minds to the unlimited creative power, we will call fourth abundance and see and experience a whole new world” – The Secret By Rhonda Byrne

In other words, if the universe is limitless then why would someone else being successful or beautiful take that away from you? There is enough resources right? That means there is enough for all of us. Success is personal and everyone’s definition is different too. So don’t envy those that do well but rather use it as a guide to reach for what you want. If you envy what they have it means you want it. Great – go and get it too because there is no limit. In conclusion, being in control of your mindset and letting go of envy will allow you to have more time to focus on your goals and self-improvement as an actor and individual. Use those feelings to navigate what you want from life. If you are feeling envious of people for their work success or time to themselves it mean’s you want that in your life. Create a vision board or a list of goals to help you achieve it. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it” – Maya Angelou

Don’t waste the valuable time of chasing your dreams because you’re too busy watching someone else achieve theirs. Use it as inspiration and encouragement that if they can, so can you!

Your First Industry Contact,

Kelly Juvilee

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10 things an ACTOR needs

10 things an ACTOR needs

Congratulations, you’ve graduated or finished an actor’s training programme but what’s next? How do you go from trained to professional?


It is important to understand and accept one very simple fact – You ARE an actor. Not someone that has trained and wants to BE one. You ARE one already! Took me a while to realise that until my family once asked me “Kelly, why do you keep saying I want to be an actor? You trained, performed in front of an audience and started your own theatre company right? So at what point will you be one?” I had this illusion in my mind that I wouldn’t be able to call myself an actor until I had my own perfume line or won an award; which is strange because I have never strove for fame but rather for recognition as an artist but it really clicked, if you don’t BELIEVE IN YOURSELF who will? I’m going to share another reason why believing in yourself is important. When I was in my final year of studies, for our practical module we had to learn how to set up our own theatre production /show. We worked externally with a professional theatre company on their play. We each got a department i.e. finance, marketing, costume design, set design as well as a role which we had to audition for. In the audition workshop, I was given the role of the Empress. In rehearsals, I would get told “perfect” “amazing” “okay, maybe this bit more…” and “yes, good. I couldn’t help but feel there must have been room for improvement and would see the director afterwards once in a while and just ask if there are any extra notes; I wouldn’t get given any. So after our final year performance, we all excitedly and nervously logged onto our computers to check our results. I got given 1 mark off a first. I was so confused. What could I have done to have gained a first (one mark more)? In the improvement for next time section it read “Believe in yourself more”. I was so mad at first! Why couldn’t they have pushed me further – the answer to that is because it isn’t their job to do that. An actor must take responsibility for their involvement in the piece, and not believing in yourself affects your performance and the character is flawed by elements of your ego. Thank you Jane and Gareth, for showing me that by believing in ourselves we let go of our essence and fully immersive ourselves into the character’s world and mindset. Only then, can we truly be an actor that can grow and give a great performance.


This is a montage of all your work in a video (maximum 5 minutes but for twitter and social media the rule is a maximum of 2 minutes) so that directors, casting directors and all those involved in film can see you:

A. What type of roles you’re particularly good at

B. Your performance style

C. Skill set; accents, horse riding or whatever it may be.


Mandy, formerly called casting call pro, is a professional job site for actors where you can apply for paid and unpaid roles. There is a small membership fee monthly for the paid roles. The good news however is, getting involved in the unpaid (final year) student films to gain experience and free show reel material are available on Mandy to apply for free. Spotlight is the UK’s top directory of professional actor’s/performer’s/writer’s where Casting director’s and agents are able to view your profile like a virtual CV. You need to be on Spotlight in order to get an agent as that is where agents submit clients and where most of the breakdowns (job posts) are. It is also great to get onto spotlight after you’ve graduated or had your first paid job role as even without an agent you are able to see some breakdowns and submit yourself.


Having social media is integral as it increases your chances of visibility. It also serves to establishing your unique selling point, what kind of work you have done and will do and building upon those working relationships and friendships you’ve made within the industry. Plus, if someone enjoyed working with you and they want to recommend you to another director it is a good idea to also be easy to find on the web! However, another thing to bare in mind is to not be too focused on the amount of followers you have this early on, all it will do is take away the quality material you could be putting out there instead. I think, as we are millennial’s, most of you have social media and all of this goes without saying but this blog is for anyone trying to start a career in acting no matter what age! p.s. Morgan freeman had his first blockbuster film role aged 53. I will also be posting a blog soon about branding and marketing and books or links that can help in the near future so keep your eyes peeled. So go get Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, linked-IN, Tiktok and whatever else peeps are using these days!


Lot’s of people will tell you in order to have really good self tapes you’ll need really good equipment and to some extent this is true but when you are starting out I understand that funds aren’t just readily available. So what I’ll do is list the basics and from there feel free to look at some other options that I’ll call add – on’s (if you find yourself in a position to purchase them now or in the near future).

The Must Have’s

A. a camera, smartphone, tablet or laptop. (can even borrow a family member’s or friends when needed)

B. high desk/surface or tripod stand

C. plain white wall or ironed white bed sheet

D. a lamp or natural light from window (if filmed during the day)

E. Vimeo or Wetransfer account (this is what you use to import the material/self tape over when submitting.

The Potential Add-On’s

A. Ring / box light (you can even get a small one for your phone for as little as £10 online)

B. White / blue / grey backdrop

C. Microphone

D. Designated area where it’s all left up at all times ready to go.


This in my opinion the second most important thing as people need to see a professional photo and not just one of your face slashed on the weekend or sun burnt in mexico. We will get onto marketing yourself soon but having a professional head shot helps to get you noticed and taken seriously as a performer as they use it for theatre programmes, websites, castings you’ve booked to promote shows/plays etc. Now, a lot of people will tell you if you go cheap in this area it will show and to an extent it can be true, however, ask a friend or a head shot photographer starting out to get one for a lower fee. That friend or industry contact is also starting out and you could help each other out via social media promotion and experience. They will probably be much happier to spend 2-3 hours getting 300 shots of you inside and outside in 5 different outfits. When you do have more experience and ready to take shots to a new level, then you can look into head shot photographer’s that have been in the game for a longer amount of time and may know a little more on what CD’s are looking for in the present moment/certain looks that will help you get noticed for that new Netflix series you’d love to cast in! P.s. as much as there are some wonderful people out there willing to help out, there are also plenty of opportunists so be careful that no-one ever asks you to pay full price up front, check reviews and where studio is based and also never agree to anything nude (unless it’s a role your agent bagged you for with a great pay package and exposure in a reputable performance /show. Deposits are normal but won’t be much and if you’re unsure about any service or individual call upon actor group pages for info or call Equity; union for performer’s.


Once you have a striking head shot you’re happy with, website, social media and a virtual CV, stick it onto a business card! That way people can contact you. You never know when you might meet someone in the industry or a friend of a friend that happens to be a producer, director, CD etc. ALWAYS carry them around like a good luck charm! If you want to get creative and do them yourself, I highly recommend either Vista Print or MOO.


If you’ve just started out there is a good chance you’ll be doing a lot of the prep work towards getting an agent or paid work yourself which means acting won’t be your main source of income straight away. Having an alternative income source helps take off the pressures of bills whilst chasing your dreams! Use your time off from your day job to make it happen. Getting your head shots done on the weekend/day off during the week or creating your business cards and social media pages a few evenings for a week won’t hurt and it will mean you can still earn money to be able to pay for those things. It’s like they say, business’ typically take 3 years before any real profit is made. Right now, invest in your product – YOU.


These cost money, I get it. However, like every other startup business, you must invest in it in order to reap the benefits. Remember how we spoke about that day job? Yeah, that money can be saved and used to pay for said training/workshop and there is no pressure. As long as you are doing some further practice at home in the evenings or days off like learning a monologue, getting together with friends to rehearse your favourite scene from a movie or making films, can all be part of honing your craft. When the auditions start rolling in, it is important you think about hiring an acting coach. Someone to help direct and coach you through the decisions you make in rehearsal when developing a character. Until then, turn your camera on and practice by filming yourself! Perform in local plays and make content with friends and submit to a film festival so you can be seen on the big screen like below image. You will learn a lot by watching yourself back. Eww, I know we all hate watching ourselves but personally I have been able to understand what works and doesn’t work when using certain expressions or body language.

See the source image


I cannot stress this one enough! I was petrified of the idea of going to these kind of events and ALONE too. guess what I learnt, when you walk in, people introduce themselves and say hello because they are in the same boat as you! Also don’t be that person that turns up and all they’re interested in is meeting the director and don’t interact with anyone else. I’ll tell you why! Firstly, networking in my personal opinion, is not to get you work. That’s what your talent and skill set is for via auditions. Networking is to build relationships with those in the industry and learn from so that you can grow. Of course, once those friendships and trust has built you may find yourself really connecting with that actor you met and have seen at almost every event so far and you might both decide to work on a project together. then you’re looking for a director or other actors, producers, writers etc. Long term it will and can get you work. Short term, it’s to build contacts and relationships within the industry and help you understand more about it, how it works, what the process is like from all job roles and maybe even be recommending or recommend each other when jobs pop up. Having friends in the industry has been my goal and I love to support those friends by watching their films, attending their festivals and screenings and reading their work! Also, now I know what work and what director / actor/writer or producer inspires me and they’re on my radar of whom I’d like to work with. That’s what it’s ultimately for. Vice versa, you may be on someone’s list to hire when the right role comes along because they like you as a person and trust that you will show up on time, work well as team player and do the job because they’ve gotten to know YOU. when we hire people, we want to know we can spend day and night on a 12 hour shoot with them. Sure they may talk too much, cough me cough, but they made me laugh, they’re kind and willing to help outside of the role AND they know not to talk on set when filming;

so why wouldn’t I hire this awesome chatterbox (that’s what im hoping they know about me and think!) Go out there, be you and work with others on projects you’re inspired by!

(11. AGENT )

This one is NOT counted within the 10 things you NEED just yet because, when you are starting out you need all the above in order to apply for an agent. I will talk about this one in more detail on another post. Look at how you can find an agent that is good at what they do and right for you! start by looking in actors contacts and do your research; visit their website, social media pages and look to see what they are about, who they represent (do they have people that are starting out too) and what skill set they are looking for. If they are mainly looking for talent only for musical theatre shows and you know you cannot sing or dance, don’t apply to them because they won’t be able to get you as much work. Of course that is just an example as most agents hire for a variety of talent. Look at their about page, read reviews and search for them on google. Trust me, you need to be able to like each other and answering the phone to one another. You also need to be able to trust each other. An agent wants to trust that you will be great on set and get good feedback from those around you and you need to trust your agent will work hard in putting you forward for your dream roles. Until you find an agent that’s the right fit, learn to MARKET yourself by applying for roles and using social media to get the word out on what you’re up to!

Your First Industry Contact,

Kelly Juvilee

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How to make the most out of lock down…

How to make the most out of lock down…

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”

J.R.R Tolkien

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:

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,

Kelly Juvilee

If you enjoyed this read, please subscribe for email alerts on future posts so you can be the first to hear my latest acting tips!

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