“Amber is beautifully enacted by deliciously curvaceous Emma Dingle” – Remote Goat
“The mysterious figure of Hecate, goddess of witchcraft…and her “weird sisters” are seen to be the controlling influence of the whole drama. ” – Wiltshire Times
“I am a confident, audition-ready, talented actress providing in-depth knowledge of the theatre world and a distinctive maturity to boot.”
I am producing a ‘self-promotional pack’ consisting of an actor’s website containing professional photos; performance CV; videos and blogs on performances to launch my acting career.
When I first heard about the Creative Enterprise module I was excited beyond words. I was brimming with ideas such as writing a travel guide for the tourists of Bath or interviewing local musicians and producing music reviews. However, I could not dedicate myself to one idea and my mind was torn. I had to take a step back and think about what I was most passionate about and came to the conclusion that I had to produce a project based on the performing arts, but what?
I had my first tutorial with Mimi Thebo and we discussed possible options for my project. I told Mimi how I love theatre and performing and would like to direct a theatre company. We both decided that directing would not really showcase my passion and so Mimi came up with the incredible idea of producing a ‘self-promotional pack’ to help me launch my acting career.
I reflected on this idea for all of 30 seconds, it was genius. It would allow me to promote myself as an actor with links to my professional actor’s website, headshots, credits and so on.
After the meeting with Mimi, I contacted Kerry Irvine, a lecturer of drama at Bath Spa, to see if she wouldn’t mind answering a few questions I had regarding acting. She kindly accepted and I held an interview session (see appendix) to find out what it takes to succeed in the world of professional acting.
I received very useful advice from Kerry and was raring to get started. I drew up a list of criteria that I felt was crucial to the success of the project. I figured the photos were a good place to begin because I wanted to include ‘increased experience as an actress’ and would need headshots to apply to auditions. Kerry had warned me that without a decent headshot casting directors would not take me seriously. I contacted my friend who is a professional photographer, Owen Benson, and asked if he could produce my headshots.
I then used these headshots to apply to auditions to gain more acting experience. I wanted to be able to talk about current acting roles in my project and blog about them on my website to show the life of an actor. I would use the blogs to discuss rehearsal processes and include performance photos etc.
After constructing a performance CV (see appendix) I applied to ‘paper heart events’, a company that employed actors to take on roles of Disney princesses and perform at children’s parties. I emailed the company to see if they had any vacancies but they were not looking for new recruits. They did email back to say that they really liked the look of my performance CV and that I might be contacted in the future. A short time passed and I received an email from the company to say they’d like to audition me. I attended the audition, did my best Disney princess impression and got the job. I was living the dream – being paid to act as a Disney princess.
With a new-found confidence, I decided to apply to ‘Dollypop Theatre Company’, through the ‘Theatre Bristol’ website, for a role in their latest show and they were happy to audition me. I was accepted after my audition and gained a role in their show ‘Strip’. ‘Strip’ gave me increased experience as an actor and allowed me to write a sort of blog diary alongside the performances. I was very lucky that the show was a mini tour because it would give me different experiences to write about on my website.
Kerry’s advice seemed to have really paid off. The moment I created a performance CV and included professional headshots casting directors were paying attention.
I had also applied for a volunteering role at the Bath Film Festival to experience working in a cinema and what it was like to steward independent film viewings. Although I had fun, it was not really helpful for my project as an actor. I did, however, meet interesting people and turned the experience into a networking event. By working hard and showing my passion for film an organiser said she would be happy to get in touch with me in the future. Therefore the networking aspect could have opened up some doors, who knows?
Alongside my degree I was training at Bath Academy of Musical Theatre (BAMT). I gained some amazing experiences through them some of which included singing backing vocals for Kerry Ellis, the leading lady in the West End, and producing backing vocals for a song on a Christmas CD called, ‘A Soulful Christmas’. The CD was released December 2014 and of course I have a copy. This information would look impressive on my performance CV and showcase my love of singing.
Unfortunately, around the beginning of December and over the Christmas Holidays I experienced one of the worst Crohn’s disease flare-ups imaginable and all work went on hold, including my musical theatre training at BAMT. I was very upset because I was also due to hand in my planning portfolio but I hadn’t completed half of the work that was required. I informed Mimi and she kindly permitted me to hand the work in after the Christmas break. Since December my illness had been unpredictable and I had to take strong medication to suppress symptoms. This medication caused extreme fatigue and I became heavily unmotivated.
I emailed Mimi to tell her of my dilemma. Mimi helped me rediscover the outline of my project and what I now needed to focus on, my website. We discussed how I needed to produce a website of good quality with professional photos, blog site and showreel but I had no film footage from film jobs. Mimi accepted the fact that the showreel would consist of filmed theatre roles. I felt much happier after our meeting and felt my passion for the project return.
I wanted to use social media as a marketing tool so I set up a Twitter account that focused solely on marketing myself as an actor. I followed actors and theatre and film companies. If I tweeted about my shows I would include hash tags to ‘#actor’slife’ and ‘#burlesque’ etc This enabled thousands of people in the performing business to see my tweets and possibly comment or like them. It was a great way to informally introduce myself as an actor and also discover existing theatre companies that I would be keen to apply to in the near future.
I also joined casting websites such as ‘To be seen’ and ‘Shooting people’. After using both websites for a while I found that most jobs were for vacancies in London and I did not have the time, with university work, or funds to travel to audition. I wanted to keep my acting local, unless the show toured and paid for expenses, so I continued to use the ‘Theatre Bath’ and ‘Theatre Bristol’ websites which were free. An actor friend also told me of a closed actors group on Facebook called ‘Bristol Actors’ and invited me to join. Since then I have discovered many short film opportunities but unfortunately most of the film dates have overlapped with degree deadlines so I have not been able to apply.
I did email an Emily Ceurvorst about being a supporting artist on a feature film and she responded positively to my request. I wanted to experience life on a film set and even better, a feature film set. I travelled to ‘The Bottle Yard Studios’ in Bristol and had a rather surreal experience as an ‘Extra’. Being up at 6:30am, to get to the studios for 8am, I was exhausted before filming had begun. The studios themselves were very industrial and freezing. The actors were shoved into an annex in between filming and the day was extremely long and tiring. Even though it was a feature film which was very exciting, and I did see a fair share of celebrities, I will not be applying to Extra jobs any time soon. I signed a contract forbidding me to reveal the name of the film, sorry.
Creating the website was delayed due to illness and time constraints with other deadlines however, I am proud of what I have achieved, being a technical novice and producing the website myself, in the time I had. I realised I needed a few up-to-date photos that would enhance my website. After certain photographers let me down I contacted my friend Owen again to see if he was available. He was but only in May which meant that I couldn’t add photos to my website until near the deadline. The photoshoot turned out to be a success and I acquired many photographs that I could use on my website.
I wanted songs to be added to my website but through being so ill I had lost my voice on several occasions, Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the throat, and it was not of good enough quality to record. I did call a friend to ask him to record and produce some songs but they were not to the standard that I was happy with so I left them off of the website. I have included them in the appendix. Many things had been disastrous such as photographers cancelling on me, music producers letting me down and losing blogs that had not been saved properly but in the end, regardless of all that went wrong, I managed to produce a project that I am proud of and will hopefully provide a decent platform for launching myself as an actor.