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Begin Acting. Be Everything.

A collision course with doing something…anything…just not nothing

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Following on from a talk I heard last week with some wonderful filmmakers (directors, producers and actors) I am massively inspired (it was 12.30am when I wrote this as a draft) and keen to write down all the things I constantly want to share with filmmakers who are starting out. And it all focuses around doing it.

Those two little words, when written down, appear at first glance to mean so little, but actually mean so much. Doing it!

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When you choose to be an actor you are saying “yes I want to set sail into the great unknown depths of the ocean and go on a long voyage where I don’t quite know my destination, how I will get there, how long it might take me, or if I might even have some bumps along the way.” And yet we ‘do it’ anyway. The thrill of the chase perhaps? The delight in the Christopher Columbus exploration into the great unknown? Who knows. Whatever it means for us, we pack our virtual bags, set sail into that mysterious acting ocean and we pursue it until we make it. That is what filmmaking is also about.

But then something happens. The course we set ourselves on doesn’t quite work and before long we are sailing in the wrong direction. Finally we realign with our ‘projected’ path and battle on. Then a huge storm hits, sometimes a ferocious one, and we are struggling again. This time the battle involves whether we will get another role ever in the whole entire world, if we have just blown yet another audition, or perhaps if we might just stop altogether. Phew, we correct our course again and continue on our merry way. No bumps are going to stop us.

And yet they do. Time and time again the biggest complaint I hear from actors is “there’s no work out there”, or “it’s really quiet”, or “I just can’t seem to get seen by anyone”. And this is where this magical talk I listened to comes into play.

“Doing it”. Doing it means you get our there and make it happen. If the work isn’t coming to you then it is about time you created the work and made it for yourself. I can certainly tell you, hand on my heart, that Tarantino probably isn’t sitting at home penning a screenplay for you to be his lead in at this particular moment. And rarely is the director you worked with on a short film just last week, doing that either. Or the Casting Director you auditioned for for that shampoo advert. Nope, they have their own work to crack on with. If you want to get seen, if you want to steer your boat in the direction of your destination and avoid major collision courses, the best way to do it will be to make something happen yourself by doing it.

Write that play that you always wanted to star in and submit it to Off Cuts. Make a brilliant snappy two minute short film and put it up for Virgin Media Shorts (as a side note, once it is screened you’ll also get an IMDB credit). Get ambitious and make a feature film with the very best director and DOP and actors you have a working relationship with right now. Check out the offers around town on YouTube and Vimeo for funding. By doing it you create your own acting luck. By creating it you actually stand a chance of sailing that ship straight into the directions of your dreams.

DOING IT! 

Who would ever have guessed those two little words could be so darn inspiring.

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