Tagged: Acting

Why it’s important to have actor friends (but maybe not an actor boyfriend)

I’ve been struck down with the flu since Wednesday so been feeling pretty rotten and sorry for myself. I was producing snot at an alarming rate which was quite appropriate considering I was doing a promo job for Kleenex. I still went to work but I felt so weak that I couldn’t train at all. I haven’t been to the gym since Tuesday and was kind of freaking out about it but I’m glad I didn’t. I feel like I’ve given my body time to recover and now I’m ready to hulk smash it at Crossfit tonight.
When I was ill I felt really pathetic and sorry for myself. I feel like I’ve lost a bit of the progress I was making with my training and haven’t really done enough in the last week in the way of career building. I was stuck in bed looking up people I knew from youth theatre on the internet who are embarking on really successful stage careers in London west end and thinking that felt so far away for me. And also becoming green with envy.

Then I went out on Friday night with my close friend to see The Cherry Orchard at The Cottiers. She is also an actress at the start of her career having just graduated from drama school. She really cheered me up and forced me to put things into perspective. I really feel for her at the moment because she almost feels like her life has been turned upside down. Her course was really intensive and pretty much consumed her life for the past year. When it ended a month ago pretty much all of the close friends that she’d made in the last year moved away. She isn’t working and feels quite at a loss at what to do especially with hardly any of her friends around her for support. Checking in with each other gives us both a little shake and boost. It was then that I realised how important it is to have actor friends for the following reasons:

1) I’m not saying that we are special little sensitive butterflies but no one really understands what it’s like to try and be an actor unless you are one. Friends and family find it quite hard to understand why you don’t just “settle down and get a proper job”.

2) HELP EACH OTHER! When I was starting out as an actor I would ask people how to go about actually doing it. For some reason people like to keep “the knowledge” a closely guarded secret and don’t like sharing. I have no idea why this is. Possibly because you might go out and steal all their roles or something? But then you do find that lovely person who will help you and point you in the right direction. I always do my best to help my actor friends. A month or two ago I saw a casting for a play that required a male actor in his 30’s and I forwarded it to a friend. He got the part. If you help people then they might even return the favour *hinthintGeorge*

3) I love going to my acting class because I get to spend time with enthusiastic and creative people. I think when you are in a positive, encouraging environment like that it rubs off on you.

I’m annoyed with myself for the google stalking of successful people. Jealousy and bitterness is SO destructive and eats away at you. I’m now banning myself from being envious of people who are doing well for themselves. I’m going to channel it into making myself more determined to succeed.

On the flip side, you wouldn’t find me in a relationship with another actor. This is just a personal preference and I know plenty of actor couples but it just ain’t for me. Actors generally are quite self obsessed and I should be the centre of my partners life, not them.
I’m also a very competitive person. I go to the gym with my boyfriend and there has been times when we have wound each other up trying to be the best. It’s all a bit of fun but still not pleasant so I can’t imagine if that was translated into us both trying to get acting jobs. I’d probably find it pretty hard to deal with if my partner was more successful than I was which would result in bitterness and resentment. Actors tend also to be on the brink of being mentally unhinged. I have a friend who is in a relationship with another actor and they have a very passionate relationship. So passionate in fact that they can have screaming Taylor-Burton-esque arguments.
Nah, not for me.

I’d be interested to hear what you have to say on the subject. Do you think it’s important to have actor friends? Could you be Brad and Angelina?

Shona x


Why you should give up the day job

This post is dedicated to a few friends who hopefully will read this and take heed.

Throughout University I supported myself by working part time in a call centre. This was fine because I thought in a couple of years, I’ll graduate, become a rich and famous Actress making piles of dough.

That’s not really what happened. I graduated and at the same time overtime at the call centre was paid at double time. The lure of earning dem dolla dolla bills y’all was so strong that after a year I realised I’d done absolutely nothing in trying to make myself an actress and slowly destroyed my soul by working in a dead end job in the process.
Someone joked that the call centre I worked in was a “degree dumping ground” I looked around and it was true. So many people solely concerned with paying bills but absolutely miserable and having the potential to do so much more.

Now this blog isn’t about the current economic climate, unemployment and the lack of graduate jobs but it is about taking a look at your own situation and taking stock. You only have one life, do you want to be miserable stuck in that call centre, bar, pawn shop, cinema?

Up until August if someone asked me what I’d take a deep breath and attempt to say confidently, “I’m an Actre…” before bottling out and saying, “I work in a call centre *sadface*” I also started to dread my weekends working there. When it came to Thursday and I was already having that nasty feeling in my stomach that Saturday was coming soon I knew I had to do something about it.

I handed in my notice on a whim one morning with only my TIE job and occasional promotions work to support me. It was a huge difference to my monthly incomings and completely terrifying knowing that I didn’t have that steady reliable wage there to pay the rent. I started to panic that I’d be completely destitute. It took a couple of days to realise that I could survive on the money I was getting from acting, it just meant I had to re-evaluate what I was spending my money on. Did I really need that Aldo bag? A night out for dinner and cocktails is lovely but not in any way necessary. I paid monthly for a Spotify and Love Film account, I went out for lunch and dinner at least once a week, I have an iPhone. None of these are essential spends.

I might not have all the new clothes and shoes and no longer be able to be out and about like Glasgow’s answer to Paris Hilton but I am so much happier than I was. Being under pressure to find work means that I am so much more focused on making my acting career happen.

I don’t want anyone to read this and do something crazy. I don’t want anyone homeless. I just think its easy to have that money comfort blanket.

Do something dangerous; give up the day job and chase the job you want.

Shona x


First Post

First Post

Firstly, let me apologise for the cheesy name of this blog. I’ll blame Angie Kay for that. But the idea is to document my journey towards two goals:

1) To be a successful working Actress.
2) To have a strong, toned and lean body like Jessica Ennis (maybe with bigger arms)

Obviously the first goal is going to be the larger and more difficult of the two but they both will require the same dedication, hard work and perseverance.

I’ll let you know a bit about myself and where I am in terms of achieving these goals:
Goal 1 – When I left school at 17 I knew I wanted to be an actor but knew I wouldn’t have a chance in hell at getting into drama school when I was that age. So I went to Uni and studied theatre to try and gain “life experience” (I’m doing the fingers) which for me meant being a fanny and doing silly things while drunk. I didn’t really use the time well in that I didn’t get any acting experience which I could then use to get into drama school. This wasn’t for lack of trying. I tried (6 times) to get into the Uni theatre group and I won’t bad mouth them because I have class but they were a bunch of cliquey arseholes 🙂
When I left Uni I tried to get into several drama schools with no success. I was going to try again the following year but the whole experience was so expensive that I thought, fuck it, I’m just going to start typing up CV’s calling myself an actor and hopefully someone will believe me. They did! For the last year I have worked consistently for a theatre company. However, my goal isn’t to maintain this. I don’t have an agent yet. I haven’t been on television yet and certainly haven’t been in a film.
So the measures of success for the first goal will be 1) to have an agent, 2) to be on television or film.
Goal 2 – Growing up I was never into exercise or sport in the slightest. It wasn’t really encouraged at school unless you actively sought it. I was a chubby youth theatre kid. When I went to University to study Theatre it wasn’t until I was looking at myself in the mirror while I was in 3rd year, that I decided that exercise might be in order. Too many pints of fosters and chips n cheese had taken it’s toll.
I read on a forum that lifting a weight or two was good for girls and so I went to the Uni gym and asked for an induction of the muscle suite. I was weight training at a gym for a couple of years until I started Crossfit in June this year. I’ve also started to get my diet in order and researching nutrition to help me achieve my goal. I’m no expert in fitness or health but I’m sure this blog will also document the trials and errors I have along the way.

I occasionally work for a company as a mentor for teenagers helping them with study skills, motivation etc. When talking about studying I get them to write down the obstacles they will face (ie distracted by computer games, not enjoying the subject, noisy younger siblings) and then we tackle each one and discuss how we will over come them so they cannot be used as excuses. I’m going to do the same for my Goals.

Goal 1
“You haven’t trained at an accredited drama school”
I’m not going to let this barrier get in the way. Many successful actors haven’t trained and I feel that my training at Acting Coach Scotland is making me a much better and truthful actor anyway. Plus I know I’m good 😉

“We decided to cast someone else on this occasion”
Rejection is shitty but it’s part of the territory and I’ve been rejected soooo many times that I’ve learnt to just suck it up and start sniffing out the next job. Challenge it into motivation rather than dwell on it.

“Our books aren’t open at the moment”
Those damn agency books are never open but it’s not going to stop me writing to them. It’s tricky to get that balance between being keen, having a brass neck and being annoying but I try to live by the motto of “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘no'”

Goal 2
“Hendo’s making *insert massive tasty dinner* you want some?”
My appetite is halfway between a Labrador puppy and a worlds strongest man competitor. I could easily out-eat my huge rugby player boyfriend and his equally huge flatmate (who is a really good cook) I love everything that is bad for me, pasta, pizza, chocolate, chips etc. I also LOVE a pint and am partial to a wine and gin. All these things will get in the way of my goal and I will have to be disciplined and always think about making the right choices when it comes to eating. It’s true when they say that abs are made in the kitchen.

“7.30am WoD? But it’s raining outside!!”
The gym I go to is a bit… Rustic to say the least. It’s a huge, cold, dirty warehouse and when it rains, water pours in through the ceiling. Not the nicest place when I’m not in the mood to train. Whenever my finger waivers over the snooze button and I consider an extra hour in bed instead of training I will just think how good I’ll feel after my workout.

“Intermittent fasting? Cutting out dairy?! I should be deadlifting which way?”
It’s easy to get bogged down and intimidated by your own lack of knowledge. As a lover of fitness blogs I’ve learnt that everyone works differently and one method which works fantastically for one person can be a complete failure for someone else. This will be a long process which will have ups and downs along the way as I learn about what works for me.

So there we have it. First post done and it’s a long one. I hope you enjoy reading my blog and hopefully it motivates you to achieve some of your own goals.

Shona x