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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Talent Boost Blog - Story so far

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The following blog was written when I was on the BBC/Actor Centre Talent Boost course:
Ok I’ve left it a bit late to start blogging about the Talent Boost course but, today is the end of our time with the lovely Sue Dunderdale and it seemed right to surmise the first half of the course.

To be honest I never expected to get onto the course, simply because I knew I had quite a bit of camera experience. However I was extremely happy I did. To a certain extent I felt guilty that I was taking a place from somebody else who had less experience. This is possibly still true but I had my own questions I needed answering and my own learning to be done.

I knew for example my technical experience may be more than some of my peers within the group but it was like I’d forgotten how to act. Working in a Soap is like no other Acting job you will ever do. As I mentioned somewhere before, the pace of a Soap is so fast its very easy to lose your way as an Actor.

I have now been able to take a step back, take a breather and allow myself to re-address both script and character work. I’ve re-learnt to not be scared of silence between characters. I had gained a tendency to speed through speeches, I learnt I was scared to slow down and allow the words to breathe.

We had the luxury of rehearsals and it was great to re-learn how to make those connections between characters that aren’t necessarily said in words. Having time to dissect a script was just brilliant. To discover every thought and meaning. Every journey and shift of authority. All these things are taken for granted.

Learning to SLOW DOWN was essential for me. It’s allowed me to relax again and actually enjoy myself when I’m acting.

Another extremely important thing I’ve taken from the first few days is a severe reality check! This Talent Boost course was created to enable minorities to gain experience for camera work – as they may not have the same opportunities an ‘non’ minorities. Right?

Now I’m a clever girl and its VERY obvious in the TV and Film industries that minority actors are NOT represented enough at all. I’ve been carrying the burden of being a short, northern, black/mixed-race actress. There are politics even within that description – the politics being – am I ‘black’? Am I ‘mixed-race’ – whatever? I am at a disadvantage for work because of how the leaders of the industry view those points. I’ve ground my axe, I’ve bore my cross, I’ve made use of every ‘minority’ opportunity I could. HOWEVER – I still get work. Be it sparse, crap, bitty, un-respected parts that just tick the ‘Equal Opportunities’ box - whatever – I still have bits of work.

The SEVERE REALITY CHECK of this course is THERE IS NO DISCRIMINATION LIKE THE DISCRIMINATION OF DISABILITIES! Full stop – The End – go home!

On this course I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with people who NEVER get cast. I have heard their stories and this area of the industry is the darkest! One of my peers described the discrimination of disabled people as being akin to the discrimination against black people before the civil war – This I have come to agree on and here’s why:

There are still to this day, buildings that not all people can access. They may have made ’adjustments’ for SOME disabilities – but possibly not ALL disabilities. Now just imagine – if there was a building today that didn’t allow black people to enter . . . .

Thought about it? There would be uproar and it would be changed instantaneously! But disabled people STILL to this day face these base level issues and IT IS ACCEPTED!

Yeah – just think on that for a while . . .

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