As a creative and artistic person, there are many interests and pursuits I follow which link into my career as a performer and which has served me accordingly. To be a performer in any discipline, one has to be not only open-minded but has to be open to receive new ideas, concepts and new ways of thinking and doing things. I don’t believe one can succeed remotely on any level as an artist, be it a singer, actor or any other kind of performer, if one holds on to narrow views and beliefs, some of which are inherently judgemental. I always say that if I judge a character I am playing, I cannot play that character convincingly, if I am allowing preconceived notions, morals or personal beliefs to get in the way of what I am supposed to be – Which is a someone else in a performance be it on Film, or on a Stage and being convincing, truthful and making him believable. I can’t do that if I have come into the frame with a closed and narrow mind. Let’s discuss my interests.
One of the reasons I got involved in the Performing Arts was my love and interests in The Arts, whether it was watching Television Arts shows like ‘Aquarius’, ‘The Southbank Show’, ‘Omnibus’ and more recently BBC Television’s ‘Imagine’. So my work as an Actor/Performer is a key interest of mine which I pursue on a full-time basis, as well as anything that is creative and original.
Film and Television
Both media are the real reason I do what I do. When growing up, Television was a fairly new medium when compared to other media such as Film but at the time of my childhood both had something in common and that was innovation. At the time, new people were coming into the media, some were young, some weren’t but what they all had in common was they were prepared to be bold, they were prepared take risks and try new things. And as such growing up at the time, the above was not lost on me and is still a very strong influence on me. I have always had a keen interest in not just watching both media but actually working in them. I am someone who likes to do different things and embrace new ideas and ways of doing this. My career as an Actor has allowed me to follow this mantra whenever possible.
What I have always looked for from both media is to be informed, educated and entertained, with good, well written product, be it factual or fiction. I also look to attain the above from my work wherever necessary. I have always found a keen history and knowledge of both Film and Television impresses directors because it demonstrates one has a good understanding of what they do, as well as demonstrating an awareness of the mechanics of film making and the collaborative effort required on all levels to make any production work i.e. Teamwork.
Until I started reading a lot more than I used to and actually began writing I realised one didn’t have to pass English Language and Literature examinations or get a University Degree or MA to be a good writer, though all the above does help. I have found that having a love of writing and the ability to express one’s self is far more important than trying to prove you can write in examination conditions. Unfortunately, I learnt this lesson rather late in life but have made up for lost time, even if I have had to go right back to basics. I began with writing a personal journal and from there to writing the first of three blogs that I write on a semi-regular basis (I only write when I have something to say).
I am developing several writing projects, as well working on my first Play/Screenplay idea. It is my intention to broaden my writing to include short stories, a novel and screenplays, as I would like to produce my own projects for Stage and Screen.
The still image (especially black and white,) has always caught my attention and has always been a good historical document which stands the test of time down the ages. The camera’s first true application was documenting the American Civil War in the way no war had ever been documented up to that point in History. There is no voice except the one that comes into one’s mind when looking at the images.
With the advent of digital technology, I have pursued my interest in photography far more than I had in the years before, even though I had an expensive Canon EOS camera for ten years and never used it simply because I had to put a roll of film in it, take pictures and then pay to have them develop. There was no chance of examining my work until well after I had taken them. Using something as simple as a Smartphone (I do actually own a couple of digital cameras,) enables one to take absolutely great pictures and the ‘phone is always in your pocket and at hand to capture a moment. I have used Adobe Photoshop to produce great art and images.
Working as Photographic Model, I have worked with some great up and coming photographers, as well as working with keen amateurs with a long-standing history of work. I really enjoy working with photographers and producing interesting and cutting edge work of a high artistic quality. This is an interest I have continued to explore and pursue.
In his excellent book ‘True and False’ David Mamet once wrote:-
“The actor is onstage to communicate the play to the audience”.
"That is the beginning and the end of his and her job. To do so the actor needs a strong voice, superb diction, a supple, well-proportioned body and a rudimentary understanding of the play."
What does Mr. Mamet advice have to do with my interest in health? A keen mind needs to exist in a healthy body and a healthy body will produce a healthy mind. I take my health seriously. ‘All roads lead to Rome,” as the saying goes. I have found through trial, error and the hard way that performance of any kind will very quickly reveal one’s fitness levels or the lack of any. I have always done some form of exercise but on entering the acting profession, I had not done any form of physical activity nor exercise for a few years and found out just how overweight and unhealthy I was. I don’t make mistakes but learn great lessons from any situation and what I learnt came from Mr. Mamet’s book and ever since have exercised regularly if not necessarily in a gymnasium. But by doing this my blood pressure is not as high as it was, my waistline is below thirty-four inches, I now have a flatter stomach and a “great pair of pins” [legs] as one young lady once complimented me on. On a serious note, I follow a regular exercise regimen that includes running, push-ups, sit-ups and yoga stretches.
The end result is that I look fitter, far younger than my years and have a keen healthy mind. Not to mention being more confident and having a ‘can do’ attitude even through the most difficult of times, when nothing is happening nor going my way. There is a lot to be said for taking care of one’s health. It is never a question of ‘if’ something, anything will happen but a question of ‘When’.