Sorry blog! Sorry. I have neglected you. My urge to spill my thoughts and career experiences has been slightly smothered by the actual work that I usually waffle on about. This year has been galloping along a quite a lick and so for an update…
January saw me disappear off to Los Angeles for an extended holiday/recon mission to see if I fancied moving there. Well, guess what? my chances were fancied and upon my return in February I decided to try for move out there. First thing to do was to snag myself a decent lawyer for the 0-1 Visa application. I called around my celebrity mates for advice (that’s a lie) and found an excellent lawyer who specialises in visas for entertainment professionals. Initially, I thought I had to be ‘famous’ to be able to work out there, especially being a minority, but after my lawyer sifted through my 11 year old CV, sorry, resume´ (already learning the language, see?) it turned out that I’d been doing alright; in regular employment (rare for an actor) and had pretty good status to become, get this, an ‘Alien of outstanding ability’….. I always knew there was something strange about the spaceship my Dad hid in our barn.
I had always had the impression that LA would be this weird flakey place where everyone looked like Brigette Nielsen from Beverly Hills Cop 2 or Hugh Hefner or a twisted hybrid of both. But it turns out that there are normal people there like you and me, just getting on with life and getting shit done. I’m guessing the weirdo rumour was probably started by someone who actually had a bad encounter with a Neilson-Hefner-Hybrid during a kinky pool party in the mid-80’s and then slunk back to England all cynical and went on a huge smear campaign. That rumour soon seeped into popular culture and somehow made it into my playground when I was 9.
Yes, there are the flakey industry people in LA – those types who say, “Yeah, you’re so now, you’re great…yeah, yeah, I’ll call you!” and then never return your call, but those people are in every city. There will always be a band of weird ones who float around the fringes of creative circles just talking drivel to each other to give themselves a sense of worth. But if you scratch the surface there are some wonderful folk out there in Tinsel Town and there seems to be sense of opportunity for those who want to work hard. Also the industry is THERE. It’s right in your face. I’ve lost count how many camera crews I’d see on a daily basis. A colossal amount of productions right at your finger tips, well almost…I guess that’s the great carrot being dangled that has brought so many young hopefuls there. So why wouldn’t you want to have a crack at it? Oh, they do nice sunsets too…
March came along and my theatre project Captain Pancake was been back in the rehearsal room at Chats Palace over in Hackney, East London. We applied for Arts Council funding to help get the theatre piece off the ground. Sadly, we didn’t receive our grant, BUT we are allowed to reapply later in the year as we have application was strong. So I’m not too disheartened – these be the perils of launching new theatre.
We have an excellent team now in place (see photo below) and amazing designer Ellan Parry is onboard to bring life our pirate vision. We are also looking at working with East London’s community schools to get underprivileged children within the development process and get a first hand experience of the theatre world. I’m also planning to make a new short film about it, so watch THIS space for previews.
This horse-themed year has also had me de-cluttering my life and I stumbled across my old Equity diary from 2003 which was my graduating year from Bristol. Interestingly, this was the page it fell open on:
This was February 2003 and during our production of King John at The Old Vic Studios. During the daytimes we had regular meetings with agents and casting directors and as you can see I met some rather sexy people, like the Royal Shakespeare Company (still waiting for that elusive audition) and these notes are from a meeting with one of those industry bods. The statistics on the note page were the most harrowing: “5 out of 30 (graduates) will be successful” I remember scoffing at the idea at the time, but to be honest it’s pretty accurate. There aren’t many of us left from that year – probably around 7 or 8 graduates who are still working…myself included…
Hold on, does that mean? Woohoo, I made it! *fist punches the air* I’m not a statistic!
So, to celebrate still being here I’m going to get a VISA and work in America. Yeehaw! Come on Horsey!