‘Are you feeling a bit shaken? Maybe fearful and doubtful and completely, utterly, wildly terrified? Good. Keep going.’
– Victoria Erickson
“There is a place for doubt for it does in fact come with many gifts but there is a greater place for faith” – Miranda O’Hare
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?
Actors are born hustlers with their determination reflected in every waking moment. Thankfully, contemporary society has opened up revolutionary avenues for the ambitious actor to reach career objectives at the very fingertips of the aspiring talent.
Technology is a blessing and when utilised correctly can propel ones career to infinite heights. As actors we put much of our faith in online communities like Casting Networks International (CNI) to deliver their own performance as the go-to site for information about the industry including castings, blogs and seminars. At the press of a button actors and agents can submit interactive profiles complete with resumes, media and photos suitable for each respective job. Blogs and free seminars provide members with essential knowledge and networking opportunities.
Tension is the enemy of the actor! The tight jaw, rock hard neck and shoulders, restricted breath, locked knees. Ugh! It makes me feel awful just thinking about it. We are all prone to it though, consciously or subconsciously, and it can seriously diminish our work, slowing us down, restricting our impulses and just feeling plain awful! As actors we must have the body as free as possible, we are a conduit and the thunderous roar of our creativity and art has to be able to flow freely and wholeheartedly.
At the age of two, Karis Scarlette had begun ballet classes. By six, she was handpicked to be taught by The Royal Ballet Company at The Royal Opera House’s Chance to Dance Program. At age seven, Karis was a Royal Ballet Junior Associate, quickly progressing to The Royal Ballet School. In her first major performance, The Royal Ballet Company’s Tales of Beatrix Potter choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, she danced the role of a baby mouse at the age of just 9.
Cast of Ruben Guthrie at ATC
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.
So this month, I have been in LA. Its been a blast, I love this town. I feel like the air is full of hope and opportunity (if you’re willing to work for it!) I adore the fact that I can walk ten minutes to Runyon Canyon and go for an early morning hike or in spin class I’m seated behind a well-known actor who’s gasping as much as I am.
Every corner seems to have had a role in something. I even love the shrill of the constant sirens. The buzz is electric and intoxicating. On the flip side, it is a big town and it can be terribly lonely, I am so blessed to have some wonderful friends here but there have still been moments where I find myself asking ‘WTF am I doing here?’
The world is evolving. Machines are supplementing humanity, “ILY” is now an acronym for “I love you,” and life’s superficies defy authenticity. However, despite reality TV shows and matchmaking sites there will always be an indisputable characteristic no amount of branding can define.
Imagination is timeless. From enchanting fairytales to the midst of a Mancini overture, the fragility of life is poignantly reflected in storytelling. The artist who continues to take creative risks fuels our vision and is crucial in shaping the landscape of society.
“When you create great art the rest will follow.”
Luke Robson is the kind of filmmaker you can imagine one day quietly winning an Academy Award, then the next slipping invisibly back to work into teaching class or behind the camera.
“No matter what anybody tells you, thoughts and ideas can change the world”
– Robin Williams in Dead Poet Society
The world today is a precarious place with humanity at the immediacy of the media. The endless variety of news platforms submerges us in every glorified facet of existence; ignorance is no longer bliss when the ability to access information is expedited straight to our fingertips. With every click of a Facebook post and Twitter mention we are catapulted into the global perils of society.
Remember the film Clueless? Cher Horowitz depicted a modern day version of Jane Austin’s Emma in the coming of age comedy about a teenage girl and her friends growing up in the lap of luxury in Beverly Hills. Together the teenagers tackled high school, freeways, siblings, fashion and relationships in a much simpler world. Clearly, not everyone is as fortunate as the 16 year old Cher to grow up in a mansion with columns that “date all the way back to 1972” yet, the cult classic undeniably reflected the purity of a time when anxiety and terror were at an all-time low, with the latter barely even a flicker in our sheltered lives. Aside from Clueless being a favourite movie of my youth with its epic one-liners becoming a fixture in my adolescent (sometimes even adult) vocabulary, it also represented a happier time, a time when people seemed to be nicer – and not just sporadically either. One may say the film marked the end of the age of innocence when we had a “way normal life,” our only direction was “to the mall” and before the world became a “full on Monet” aka “just a big old mess.”
“This month, make a conscious effort to not apologise for yourself, in life or in the room.”
This month I’ve been thinking a lot about how I view myself and how that in turn affects my career and my performances. I’ve spoke about it before, but I’ll say it again, our minds are so powerful. What we think, we create. Belief and imagination manifest reality. The age of social media and filters has made reality, and the truth, malleable. We place extravagant standards on ourselves as a result of watching someone’s highlight reel and comparing it to our own. Who is honest anymore? It feels like everyone is buying social media followers, filtering their photos and giving that ‘perfect’ audition. It is exhausting trying to keep up.
I injured myself this month and have had to take it easy. Being injured really sucks; I hate not being able to give 100% but that’s what my body needs and I listen to it. I’m almost back to normal now, thank goodness, and I learned that when we get injured we need to listen to our body and let it heal. If we push against that pain and refuse to recognise it, then it’s going to start screaming at us and most likely, we will do more damage.