I just wanted to share my journey of how I started out as an actress and where I am today. One of the real exciting things about being an actor is meeting amazing people like directors, producers, casting directors, crew members and fellow actors. You make these connections with industry minded people and you just feel the energy that resonates from everyone around you whether it’s onset, in a workshop or at an audition. It’s a great opportunity to learn what other actors are doing to further their careers. You would be interested to know I have found that a majority of actors don’t know how to further their careers and in some cases even know where to start.
When I decided I wanted to be an actress I thought to myself, ‘How the hell am I going to do this?’ It was obvious that I needed training but as a mother of five – yes that’s right FIVE – and working fulltime there was no way I could leave my job and attend a drama school fulltime for 2 years. My two youngest babies were under the age of 4 and day care costs were a killer. Over a number of years I would search for workshops after hours or on weekends (which was scarce). I applied for roles on Star Now – now that was god send – this was where I got my first extra role and it was my first time on a film set. I loved it and all I wanted to do was get in front of the camera more except I didn’t know how.
It wouldn’t be for another few years that I would attend a 6 week course with an amazing actress, director and coach, Miranda Harcourt. There I met an actress and for the life of me I can’t remember her name but as we got to chatting she told me she was auditioning for roles on Shortland Street (NZ Soap) and the movie Avatar. So I asked her how did she get these auditions, she told me through her agent. The thought never entered my mind. I needed a blinking agent ‘dur!’ She gave the name and number of her agent and they invited me into their little boutique agency. I got auditions for TV Commercial’s and landed one of them and I got to be on my very first international mega buster movie set, Avatar. My experience on Avatar really cemented my passion and desire for acting.
My journey has been a long and testing one for me but it wasn't until I moved to Australia where I found an opportunity to work my day job as an IT Professional and study acting at Screenwise after-hours. Until doing this course I hadn't realised how much I didn't know about acting and the business of acting. Like Acting is a Business? You bet your cotton little socks it is and guess what or should I say who the business is. YOU. Yes as an Actor you are your business and it’s up to you to build your business, market yourself and keep yourself well trained. To get to this point in my life circumstances dedicated I had to take the long way around but I guess everyone’s journey’s are different.
If I could impart one thing to new actors it would be; if you are seriously passionate about acting than your journey must start with not just training to be an actor but by understanding the industry and how it works. Knowing what’s required to get an agent, what casting directors are looking for and finding other avenues to get work. Do short films, create actor cell groups and meet every week, work on scenes and do self-tests. Why not write your own feature film or short. With technology these days and the quality of cameras being produced makes it easy. If you are at a point where you feel you need help find a mentor - I have and I'm really excited that I have. I really encourage you all to do the same. It's all part of the journey.
If you have a story you would like to share please feel free to share it with us. If you have any questions regarding where you are in your Actors Journey I’m more than happy to answer any if I can.