Patrick James is a triple theatre of a different kind, a producer, content creator and actor best known for playing the acid tongued drag queen and screen siren that is Wilma Bumhurt in the online series sensation The Horizons. Patrick is the kind of dynamic creative that understands that the creation and development of new content is the way forward. Since we first met and became friends many years ago, I have been privileged to watch my friend go from strength to strength creatively, his presence and personality always a source of joy and inspiration in my life and the lives of those around him. Nothing has given me more joy than watching Patricks journey from first being cast as Wilma and his nervous discovery of how to approach playing a drag queen, very unfamiliar territory for Patrick, to now being an activist for the LGBTQI community and an outspoken defender for equality. His role of Wilma has literally taken him all over the world and granted him countless amazing opportunities including the opportunity to present at the Logies and even have his own spin off series, ‘Where’s Wilma?’ read more
I remember the first day I landed in LA very clearly, it was mid July and LA summer was in full swing. I had nervously survived the ordeal of going through customs for the first time and having my green card be officially approved. After zero hours of sleep on the plane, having left behind my family, my lovely life in Sydney and my then boyfriend, I was jet-lagged and emotional to say the least.
A few months back, I came quite close to booking a job that I had become very attached to. When I found out that in fact I had not booked the job, instead of my usual ‘ugh that sucks, forget about it three minutes later’ routine, this one stung. I tried to brush it off and continue on but a couple of hours later when I found myself crying into a plate of fries sending dramatic texts in caps to my friends like ‘I CAN’T KEEP DOING THIS,’ I realised I might be a little upset about this one. read more
Since I first moved to Sydney to pursue a career in acting, my friends have mostly comprised of actors and people that work in the industry. These relationships have afforded me a few things, namely many people around me to help me with auditions, a network of people that understand the rollercoaster of pursuing a creative career and lastly an insight into the many different ways to achieve success as an actor. The latter is something I have recently been reflecting on a lot, especially as I have found that each and every one of them has achieved their own success in the industry in such vastly different ways.
I’ll admit that when I was first began acting; I assumed success was achieved in one way. First, you get signed to an agency. Then you go to a bunch of auditions, finally you book a job, do the job, you go to another audition, repeat the previous steps.read more
Recently, I went to a casting for a feature film here in LA. The usual transpired, it was in the Valley which with traffic (and there is always, always traffic in LA) is an almost hour long drive from my apartment in West Hollywood, sometimes more. It was a balmy 100 degrees (LA is in a constant state of sweltering heat). Despite the usual challenges, I arrive with five minutes to spare, deeply impressed with myself for not being late. I have my script in tow and a mild whole body sweat that I’m trying to pass off as a general glow. I sit in a packed waiting room; the actor sitting next to me me tells me that they’re running an hour behind. Excellent. I wait, I run over my script, I eat a snack in my bag, I stare at my phone, time passes. Eventually after an hour and fifteen minutes, I am called into the casting room. As I walk in, I am surprised by just how many people are in this room, mostly men. Very little is said to me. Someone asks me to slate and to begin the first scene; I barely know where the reader is.read more
Diversity in casting simply means that our screens reflect the true diversity of our world. This ensures we are engaging with content showcasing authentic portrayals of our daily lives. According to a recent US census, disabled people make up 19% of the population meaning nearly 1 in every 5 Americans live with a disability. That is an alarming statistic, especially when you stop to consider whether these numbers are being accurately reflected on our screens.
“When you think of a director, you think of a man with a baseball cap on, staring at a monitor. You probably don’t think of a Katherine Bigalow and that’s what needs to change.”
Parity is the state of being equal, regardless of status, pay and gender. Parity within the film industry means more women working at all levels, the goal being to have women working from the top down and the bottom up. It means more women on set, behind the camera and in all roles helping to shape and form the narrative landscape of our film and television and the stories we allow into our lives. The value coming not just from a position of fairness and equality but also that of just good story telling from a female perspective.
‘Are you feeling a bit shaken? Maybe fearful and doubtful and completely, utterly, wildly terrified? Good. Keep going.’
– Victoria Erickson
A couple of weeks ago I was having coffee with my friend who is also an actor. Discussing life, I asked him, ‘what would you do if you weren’t an actor?’
He replied, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it.’
Time stood still. The world stopped turning. I forgot to breathe. I’m sorry what? Say that again. You have never thought about it?
What kind of magical utopia must my friend be living in, to have never, EVER, even considered the possibility that he may, at some point need a job other than acting. To have never even contemplated a world in which he could not financially support himself through acting. I was stunned.
Suddenly I began to wonder, am I the only person, specifically actor that regularly doubts acting as a career choice? Am I meant to be brimming with certainty?
I mean, just that very morning, first thing upon opening my eyes, I had found myself mentally listing all the careers I could pursue if I never worked as an actor ever again.
Was I the only person walking around with these thoughts?
The theatre is the oldest form of story telling, predating even writing and has always held an important kind of currency in the world. The theatre encourages and allows society to fully examine what it means to be human, acting as a kind of mirror to society and ourselves.
David Mamet said “the theatre is where people go to hear the truth.”
In our current political and global climate, the role of theatre, storytelling and ‘the truth’ is perhaps more important and necessary now than ever before.
Have you ever been to an audition, walked out and asked yourself the following questions?
- What the actual hell am I doing with my life?
- Who even am I?
- Was that a practical joke?
- Am I the world’s worst actor?
- Would setting myself on fire in front of the casting director have been less painful than that casting?
If the answer is yes, then cool – SAME!
If the answer is no then congratulations, you’re a unicorn.
After reading that, it may come as no surprise to you that I have been to some pretty embarrassing auditions. I have been auditioning for professional work for many years and it’s only been the past 12 months I have come to better understand the beast that is auditioning.