Be a producer

You don’t have to sit around waiting for someone to give you a role.  My buddy Rob Oldfield is a great example of this – he’s made a number of short films to showcase his talents and ideas.  I’ve been involved in a few of them and this week he had a role for me in his latest short film, “Josh”, which sits in the suspense/horror genre (he’s a big fan).

I play a ghoulish character, but can’t share much more just yet (Rob wants to avoid spoilers).  The ‘set-selfie’ above is of Rob and Jean Wong (DOP) – lots of fun working with these guys.

We wrapped after the last tube, so I had to catch two buses home.  No, I didn’t catch a cab – I’m a ‘brassic’ actor.  Home by 02:00 then up again at 06:00 to get to a marquee job in Wimbledon…thinking I should follow Rob’s example more.

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Good things come…

Yes, those elusive photos have arrived and I think they look supah.  Check out Gordon’s fandabulous work at gordonrolandpeden.com.

Gordon and I did another shoot on Thursday: black valour jacket with a burgundy background – rather dapper I say, I say! I’ll share those when they make their way to me.

[High res versions of the shots above are available on Spotlight – top menu]

Steps in the right direction

I said I was going to explore doing more work with students so I got in touch with the 4 major film schools in London (Central Film School, London Film School, Met Film School and NFTS) to offer my services.

Hey presto: this week I was invited in for a table read of scripts with the 6th term students at LFS.  Three actors read three scripts and then we all discussed the writing – what we thought it was trying to achieve, what it did and didn’t give us, where it was strong or where we felt it was lacking.

The class was led by Katie Rae who is incredibly insightful and I picked up a load of gems to apply to my own writing.

Totally up for more….pamparapapaaAAH, onwards and upwards we go.

Read My Lips

I was back up in Lincolnshire this past week to do a bit of ADR for Our Shining Sword.  Ah, good old ‘Automated Dialogue Replacement’…more commonly known as ‘You horrible little wart covered etc etc…’

What is ADR?  So the camera roles, I play the scene and for some reason the lines I speak aren’t recorded well, but the director wants the performance.  The solution is ADR: we just go into a studio afterwards and record the same lines nice and clean to match what my mouth was doing.  Simple right?

Hell no.  It’s a tricky little skill, but because it’s so widely used it’s well worth taking time to master.

Check out these masters at work (not quite what I was up to, but the same principle):

Flexing is supah

Wednesday morning: Jo heads to a student short film shoot.  I grab a cuppa tea, sit down and work on my screenplay.  Get on the mat and do my yoga.  About to move on to my vocal workout when the phone goes:

“Hi Jef, one of the actors didn’t show up!  I told the director you might be able to fill the role.  What d’ya think?”

“Jo, I haven’t booked a single job this year, if I get any rustier I’ll need a tetanus injection.  Tell Mr. Director I’m on my way!”

Now here’s the thing: at the beginning of this week I saw my bank account – not a pretty picture.  I also got a call from my events job for a few days of work.  Hooray!

Except…for some reason I didn’t take the work.  If I’d taken the work I would have earned more money, but I wouldn’t have been available for this shoot.  And I wouldn’t have spent two days on a film set meeting fellow actors and a bunch of fresh film makers.

On top of this I found myself on a student film set again, which hasn’t happened in a while.  And this got me thinking I need to explore this avenue again because there’s a lot to be gained from flexing my acting muscles more regularly instead of holding out for weightier credits.

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Free Headshots

My look is changing regularly at the moment. This, of course, makes having an up-to-date headshot quite tricky. Professional headshots set me back upwards of £100 and can comfortably soar past the £300 mark.

When I bought my DSLR camera, one of my hopes was to regularly update my own headshot. However, taking a professional pic is no mean feat and there are good reasons actors use professional photographers. All the same, over the last few years, through much trial and error (very much), I have gradually crept closer to an acceptable finish. What I’ve discovered is this:

1. A helping hand is kind of essential.  Ideally someone equally keen to learn about f-stops, apertures, iso’s, focal lengths and so on.  [A big ‘THANK YOU’ to Jo for being my supah trigger-buddy x]

2. The light makes the shot. I have found one or two spots where the natural light seems to do something special.

3. The magic happens on the computer. I use Darktable and GIMP (both very powerful and free) for processing. I always strive for an honest shot so I don’t do too much – just make ’em ping a little.

Anywayz, enough jabbering. The shots above are my most recent: with beard and now without.  I’ve taken the advice I received after my recent casting director mailout and got rid of the beard.  Feels good to have a shave again…aahhh, supah.