Thursday, 13 December 2012

3 months, 2 weeks and 2 days later

I am currently on the way home for Christmas and couldn't have asked for a better time here since I moved. I've made a brilliant start to my career and will make sure 2013 is an even better year than this one. In the final 19 days of the year I can safely say this has been the best year of my life. I made what could easily be argued as the most foolhardy decision I ever have by moving to London without a plan or agent or agenda. I did it to try and make it on my own but above that reason is I would never have been fully happy in my heart if I didn't. I got impatient and depressed and I wasn't going to wait another year to try for drama school to possibly not get in again. The way I decided that moving to London was the best idea was by asking myself what would make me happy right now. It was always going to be the foolhardy decision which I am so glad I made. The determination in me called for a better Sam who would jump into the middle of it all and hold his own. I will never stop being proud of this moment looking back and seeing how I've grown into someone I am starting to really believe in.

I have earned my Christmas. I'm pleased I'm already thinking of the new plan of action for 2013 with agents in mind and just battling to earn enough to stay another year. I'm going to let the determination bubble up over Christmas so when I'm back to London next I'm out ready to fight for my place again. I won't be blogging again until 2013 so want to say thank you to everyone I know. Anyone who has read the blog and supported me in any way. You keep me going. I could not do this without your support. Everyone I've met has made me who I am now so thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never have words brilliant enough to express my gratitude. Have an amazing peaceful Christmas and brilliant new year. God bless. X

Thursday, 29 November 2012

An Early End of Year Thank You

I'd go ahead and say last week was my favourite week I've spent in London so far. Monday and Tuesday I auditioned for 5 various projects, all paid, most of them adverts that would be shown on TV. Thursday I was part of an online video games advert with by far the most fun crew I've worked with considering it was a 13 hour day. A few days later I finished a herbal cigarette advert and acted in a short film that will do all it can to get to Cannes Film Festival. A day later I performed the very difficult task of playing a giant kangaroo, dressed in a mascot suit for many hours, in a cash loans advert which may very well be shown on ITV. And I finished all this with about 14 hours of desperately needed sleep. It's been a hell of a week for acting. I remember thinking at the end of it how I used to amuse myself with the idea that one day when people ask what I do I would be able to say 'actor' without feeling like a ponce. Someone asked me that same question about 2 weeks ago and I replied with 'I'm an actor...I guess'. I really can't get my head round saying it without feeling like I need to assure them I'm not a ponce or big headed about it. On the other hand I suppose its better than saying I'm unemployed and assuring them I won't try and pickpocket them later on.

Try as I might I can't help but get excited about coming home for Christmas. Everyone in the acting world seems to want a work free Christmas so there isn't a great deal of work in December. I have a music video, an advert and 2 short films to shoot in December. It's very likely they may be the only pieces of work I will get before the new year and with so little work up for grabs when I'm looking its hard not to feel festive and excited about being home. The way things are going I feel I have earned this years Christmas. I am proud of the things I have done in the past 3 months and 2 days. I've even managed to earn just over a months rent in income which after 3 months I'm over the moon about. I want to keep my concentration and there shall be no more reflecting until I'm on my way home and this years work is over. As big as this year has been in my life next year will have to be bigger.

Something I would recommend doing for everyone which I did last night is go through old photos on Facebook or other albums. I only got as far as summer this year and already I believe this year has been the best year of my life so far. The things I've done, the times I've laughed harder than I ever have, the hope I've worked hard to make real and the people. I cannot think too much about the support people have shown to me because it overwhelms me. A thank you isn't enough for everyone. Some people have told me they are proud of me but that is nothing on the pride I feel to have such friends. There are no words. There is a great deal of Bournemouth love felt and I carry the love and support with me to every audition and every performance, because at the end of it all I do it for Bournemouth and my friends as well as myself. And its only been 3 months. Just think what I can do with 6! People don't need to worry about how next year will go for me and what the next step will be. Have faith. I got this.

Friday, 16 November 2012

No Luck Needed

I would like to begin this blog with the reason its been a while since my last. I never want to repeat myself in these blogs and always think there's only so many ways I can say something dramatic like 'this is going to be harder than I thought'. Sometimes its hard to get across my thoughts without sounding cheesy. I always wanted to try and get people reading this to understand the journey like it was something everyone can put themselves in a similar position of.

I will be writing about something that's been on my mind for a few weeks now, and at the risk of offending, I think superstitious people are crazy. I will hold up my hands now and say for about 3 years now I have walked over 3 drains in a row, let black cats cross my path and happily walked under ladders with a smile on my face. A word of warning to anyone who believes the drain theory and is thinking of moving to London...its filled with the buggers. And I have walked over them 3 in a row on the way to auditions and big jobs and I consider my current situation blessed with luck, if there is such a thing. I even walked over one this morning and am currently on my way to film an advert which will make it to some fairly obscure tv channels but another tv job is under the belt.

I have been going through a seesaw motion of thoughts recently. A small thought growing is saying although its been a great start it will take a further few hurdles to go through to a stronger financial position to be able to stay another year come August. That thought is met with a larger more relaxed mind set. I have been here 2 months 2 weeks and 3 days and I've achieved beyond what I thought possible. I know I'm focussed and understand what I need to do to be a success but I want to enjoy every minute. I realised last night that I have no idea where I will be in a year and honestly that thought excites me. The next year will be a hell of an adventure and I know no matter what happens I will look at this next year in the future and think what a great year I had. But for now I'm taking small steps and am just focussing on earning my Christmas and working hard from now until home time and rest. God bless London and the experience I have had so far. I will never stop being thankful for it all.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

A Great Week

It's probably right to blog about the last 7 days. I've had the most successful week since I've moved. Tuesday I was asked by the wonderful Kate Hollowood to be an extra in a TV series she's starring in. Thursday I was an extra in a short film with 2 famous faces and Friday night I was involved in a commercial shoot for To add to all this these jobs they were all paid which is was brilliant. Confidence is at a high and concentration is as ever immovable. I was telling a friend the other day about how great these jobs are and how lucky I am, but the thoughts are constantly with the showreel. I am seeing how building a showreel from scratch is possible, and for me I will definitely get one together with the projects I am already a part of, but it will be a while.

It's a waiting game once you've auditioned for something and your waiting to hear back, but there's one giant waiting game happening outside of this. I'm currently waiting patiently to film my first shoot where I will be able to use the material for a showreel. I will then patiently wait for that footage to be released and then wait again to receive the footage. I'll go ahead and wait once more after finding someone to put a showreel together for me to complete it...then! Then I am ready to face an agent. I want a showreel put together by the end of the year. That is my aim and I'm sure with the things I will be filming and finishing that can happen in time. Already at the back of my mind a cautious voice is reminding me it may be possible I will have to pick up a part time job after the new year. A part of me is already feeling the heat to get things going quicker, but then the majority of me tells me to slow and calm down and reminds me how much time this may take to start getting somewhere.

I am fully in the moment now and caught in the current of working harder to keep the momentum going. I think if I did step out for a moment and sit down I would think its amazing what I've done here so far. I've only ever thought forward since I've moved here and when people praise what I believe to be the good luck I've had so far the normal protocol is generally: Thank them a hell of a lot, shrug it off, make sure both feet are on the ground at all times, and make sure I build on getting a damn load more work to be thankful for. I want to come home for Christmas with brand new stories and successful jobs under my belt. I want to enjoy Christmas once I'm home and know that there was never a time I didn't give my all to keep chasing my career so I can relax and enjoy the holidays knowing I deserve this break.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Someone New

Due to recent events which shall be told later in the blog I'm realising how, financially, not a lot has changed. I am currently not earning a great deal from the jobs I am doing and if I want to stay in London I do need to start earning soon. Now despite all this negative talk my morale could not be higher. Right now I am on target for really brilliant things. I've already mentioned the sketch show which I was successful in getting a part in, and have recently discovered an audition I did for 3 films I was successful in getting a part as well as being offered an extra role in one of the films because they were so impressed. I guess I've just been getting on with things and not thinking about the long term plan but really I'm right on track to getting up a great show reel in the coming months and hopefully at least applying to agents before the year is out. I still stand by if I get an agent before 2013 then this will have been by far the most successful year to date for me.

Days are getting busier and busier so I'm happy. Today I auditioned for a short crime thriller and found myself confident and calm throughout. There wasn't a moment of nerves and when they seemed to enjoy my audition all the way home I was feeling so content with how I'm handling everything that's come at me so far. I can only hope my luck continues and in 6 months time I'll be planning my 2nd year living in London. I remember saying before I moved I needed to be a brand new Sam Stevenson when I get to London and already a month and a half into it I can see differences. The first couple of extra jobs I had I generally kept quiet and only became myself until I got to know people more later in the day. The last extra job I had I went in and was shown to where the extras were sitting, about 15 quiet shy looking types, and sat right in the middle of them and talked to the group nearest me. That's the Sam Stevenson I doubted I could be but confidence has grown and I couldn't be happier with who I have become more of.

To date since moving to London I have been:
An extra in 4 music videos, (one of them being for a very famous singer but for legal reasons I can't divulge any more information!)
1 TV sketch,
Accepted as a major role in an up and coming sketch show,
Been chosen to be a model for a clothing company,
Chosen as lead male for a commercial,
And the recent news of the short films for Cannes film festival.

I'm also currently waiting to hear back from a TV series audition I had last week, a video audition I did for a short film in Bristol and a busy day tomorrow auditioning for a music video and a feature film audition next Tuesday. 2 of the listed jobs were low paid and that's as far as its gone financially so far. I don't see this as a negative. You can't if your in it for the long run. Listing all these things I've done and have ahead of me its probably clear to see why morale is so high. I've already done so much and I haven't even started going for serious work yet. I feel like I'm where I want to be now. At the bottom of about 5 different ladders and I can choose to climb them all. It could be too early to say not getting into drama school was the best thing that ever happened to me, but I've a feeling I'll be saying it sooner than I think. I hope so anyway.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Homeward Bound

So I'm heading home this weekend for the first time since I moved. The journey home made me think about whether I am returning proud and happy with what I've achieved so far. I think there's a lot I can be proud of and I'd quite like some point this weekend to find a break and reflect on what I've done so far. I'm so used to not stopping and constantly looking for the next job, I think this weekend will be good for me if I can find some time to relax and just be proud of myself.

It's been a good week. I've had auditions planned and am almost too busy which is how I like it. More extra jobs in music videos meant I met some more brilliant people. A contact from a previous shoot even contacted me and asked my availability for a shoot next week so the networking is really showing its benefits.

I feel a bit like I've earned this weekend. I have kept my focus only in London and I think I'll realise how much I missed family and friends when I see them. I am also starting to see why London may think people from Bournemouth are mostly elderly folk due to 90% of the people queueing for the coach home were above 70. But hey this is my Bournemouth and I wanted to do it proud. So all in all I am returning to Tuckton a happy man looking forward to a hug from my parents and seeing some faces I have missed a hell of a lot. God bless home.

Friday, 28 September 2012

A Tough Week

On reflection its been a tough week. It's not nice when I have a brilliantly busy week like last week and then a very very quiet week afterwards. It's gone so fast and its only today I am happy with in terms of actually applying to jobs and showing my determination. I can't have another lacklustre week like this again. I guess I should look at the big picture and the positives. Things will simply get better and I know that. It's just hard sometimes at the end of the day when you've emailed all the contacts and applied to everything you can apply to. I need more things to do towards it. I know this time last week I was on a massive high about the position I was in and am in now with so many positive things to take from London so far. I beat over 200 people to a role in comedy. Can't have that happen and feel this dejected all in one week. So I will focus on that, only for a moment, and then be my usual self and get my head down under the opinions of positive and negative and focus on the job at hand.

Being lucky enough to get this role for the sketch show made me think about what I'm meant for. I think as far back to Primary School making other kids laugh with lame jokes, entertaining my friends in Secondary School in drama lessons, making up jokes, writing sketches, stand up one liners, sitcom ideas, and writing some proven comedy material throughout Uni and putting it to the test against the audiences and grade and coming out strong. Makes me think about what your born to do if that is a thing and not just a cheesy idea that people say about the greats. This isn't a 'second thoughts about whether I want to do acting' as my heart is in this through and through. It's more of a thought on what potential I have in front of me and how this could be the beginning of something really special and limitlessly enjoyable.

I keep thinking if I could get an agent by the end of the year then it would have been the most successful year of my life so far. But then I think, hang on, I've moved to London this year. I've passed a real life audition. I'm doing comedy which I love with all my heart. No screw that even, I'm doing what I love full stop. This has been such an important year. Already this is a success just moving to London and making that step let alone getting any jobs. The faith is growing as is the determination. I remember before I moved writing down to my future self that its all about tactics and territory. That I should start somewhere and call that my base and just slowly get my name out around that area and take over more and more territory. I have done that but in a different way. The people that I've met carry my name around with them now. I make sure I'm the name that will pop up in the inbox for the third time this week asking for jobs. My territory is already growing fast and I will keep it growing until people know exactly who I am, what I do, and the determination I have in my heart to be first to the role. Yes its been a tough slow week, but next week is a new game and I'm already prepared to make sure its one I can be proud of.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Building Up Steam

I didn't really think I'd be doing another blog this early after my last. I thought I would give it a few weeks of trying to hold some jobs down to have something worthy to write about, but after a call with my Dad I realised I actually have a heck of a lot to write about.

The successes so far to date have been 3 extra jobs for 2 music videos and 1 for channel 4 and a lot of contacts made. If there's one thing I've learnt so far from being an extra its that its dangerously close to the TV series Extras in a lot of ways. The theme so far seems to be that I will encounter one odd person out of all the extras I work with each project. If it is any more than one there will always be one who will exceed the amount of madness than any other. The first extra job I had for a music video included a guy who would laugh for about 2 minutes over nothing and seemed genuinely nuts. I'm not sure if I should be surprised at the high amount of crazy I meet or the lucky amount of people who are really brilliant to know. Already a guy I met at an extra job 6 days ago has asked me if I want to be involved with some more extra work in a few days time. Its showing already how important it is to know these important people and even more so how important it is to be friendly and courteous to the people I meet.

It was only yesterday I already felt truly happy with the position I am in right now. The weekend coming up will be one filled with filming a project for a 48 hour film festival which people have travelled from all over Europe to see and join. I just had an audition this morning for a comedy sketch show pilot in which I made the guy, who was part of the company and reading in for the other part, laugh half way through the audition and told me after that it takes a lot to make him corpse. I've got another audition next week for a photoshoot of a night out and getting some more headshots done with a friendly face. All these positive steps make me think about what I dreamt about happening when I moved to London. I know part of me dreamt about big things happening and really shooting up the ladder, but really yesterday I was so happy because at the moment this is a reality I could never have dreamt of happening after just 2 and a half weeks of living here. I have focused on my goals and I'm becoming a person I really doubted I could become.

London is truly what you make of it and I'm starting to believe I may have the determination and heart for what it takes to stay here for a long time. Its odd for me for the first time to have some real true self belief. I can't ignore that I am yet to have a low point and I'm sure it may come in the next few months but right now I'm living this dream that I created and composed myself, and I can only get stronger from here. I'm happy to say its looking more and more like moving to London truly was the best decision I've made so far in my life, and one that I want to look back on in 5 years time and know that this was the start of Sam Stevenson the professional actor.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

My First Week In London

I had a brilliant blog all planned out for this. I would talk about the hardships of London and how scary things are at first and how I miss home, but really I'm absolutely loving it. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got here. I really hadn't thought about what I would do with my time until my parents left and that was it. The London experience begins.

How the last week and 2 days have been is brilliant. I spent a good 5 days finding my feet getting to know where I live and spending a fair amount of money with horrifying ease. The area we live in is brilliant. My flatmate and I walked around the outskirts of Hampstead Heath on the first day which was beautiful. You notice immediately the changes of everyone in London compared to home. People are more open to talking in London. They aren't really louder here, they just talk more. You could talk to anyone so much easier than back home and a lot of the time you just find yourself in conversations you have no idea how they started.

My drink with actress Kate Hollowood set me straight. I always said starting Monday 10th September I would start work and I started it by asking for advice from an old friend. She gave me a plan, a starting place and a solid aim of where the bottom of the ladder was and how I could climb it. I was honestly pretty apprehensive about meeting with her expecting that I would leave thinking the way to start my acting career is impossible, but maybe that was just my worried mind gearing myself up for a nasty reality check. I left Kate feeling really positive. The reality check I got was that there's a lot of hard work ahead of me but entirely possible for me to achieve. She told me about how she had been in my position before and just seeing how successful she is now I was raring to go, and after a week and 2 days, I can't see myself being discouraged any time soon at all. We both agreed I'd be fine and would start climbing the ladder soon. (Determination kicks ass)

If I could draw a diagram of what I need to do it would look something like this:

Star in multiple short films to build up a showreel -->
Send showreel to agents -->
Agents impressed and call  to be my agent -->
Still no where near made it but boy are we doing great.

I always said luck is the heart of an actor a lot of the time and I do feel lucky with how this week has gone. I got cast as an extra in a Channel 4 sketch which will be shown in October for 'Stand up for Cancer', I've got an audition for a comedy sketch show which is trying to get on TV, and I will be in a film that is part of the 48 hour film festival later in September. I really can't complain how this week has gone but I know I need to work harder and harder to keep this up and get the bigger jobs. Really I feel it hasn't even started yet despite some good initial jobs, but I'm a fighter. I've got people back home to prove my worth to, people here I want to make proud, myself I don't want to let down, so negatives are now a thing of the past, dated, history. I'm here for an adventure and I'm excited to say its starting to look like a promisingly successful one.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

And Then He Went To London

If I could achieve anything in the next year it would be to make people proud back home. A part of me does it for them. The people at work I was so much sadder to leave than I let on, the friends I camped with on my final weekend in Bournemouth, the family that believe wholeheartedly that I could make something of myself. I see it now. Some of the words that were said as I left by some people. I want to make these people so proud, and its easy to say I already have by doing this move, but I want them to look at me in a years time and say 'you did it'. I will not be happy with trying my utmost best and not making it. I am powered on peoples belief that I, Sam Stevenson can make my mark on London. I want to look at others in auditions and think 'you won't get this part because your not Sam Stevenson'. There's a hell of a lot of fight in this actor. If we were to take star sign personalities into account then, as a Gemini born in early June, I have enough passion to fight until I am the best actor I can be and be proud of who I am and just exactly what I conquered. I have a lot of work ahead of me that I have the heart to resiliently battle through.

This is it really isn't it? This is where life starts and I'm not ready at all, but that's ok. I predict I will have days far too full of doubt to not worry about, but that's ok too. I know wholeheartedly that I have the determination to stand up from those days and take the reigns of the dream. I want to smile through it all and remember no matter how serious things get, or how hard, know what's on the other side and chasing this dream will be the adventure of a lifetime.

I always thought on the journey up to London I would put on some sad music, think about home and just have some time to myself to be sad about what I'll miss. And that's exactly what I did, for about 15 minutes. I realised on the journey up its hard to be sad when you've got such an exciting time ahead, and that's what I felt. After the first 15 minutes of the journey successfully feeling sad I couldn't help but smile and feel so excited about where and what I'm moving to. And now I'm here I couldn't be happier. So now all that's left is to dive head first in and get battered and bruised and take control of this capital.

Monday, 13 August 2012

"This is it. Don't get scared now." Home Alone

I thought about something the other day that I was surprised I haven't been thinking about this whole process of moving to London. My friend told me 'you said 2 years ago if you didn't get into drama school you would move to London and now your doing it.' I guess I never really thought about the plan as things were going along, but London was the inevitable conclusion. I remember how impatient I got. Almost panicking about how little I had achieved with acting when I looked at the big scale of things despite pretty much doing exactly what I wanted to achieve in Bournemouth. Hearing about friends who were extras in well known films and thinking I haven't got anywhere near that kind of success. I would say the impatient panicked feeling was at least 50% of the reasoning behind the decision to move. It would always be the best idea in my head and in reality and I still think I have no idea just how hard it could be to find the bottom of a ladder to begin climbing.

About a month ago when we began looking for a London flat, it became real. I remember how scared I felt about the vulnerability of moving there without any acting work lined up. The phrase 'its about who you know not what you know' would scare me because even if I didn't know anyone of use I don't really know that much in the first place. I never really think about the past productions and plays I've been involved with. The amazing moments, the standing ovations, the laugh lines, I suppose I'm a very in the moment person. I am constantly making lists of things I can do next always thinking about the next thing I can get involved with. It's a good way to be. I find myself making lists most days at the moment. It's such a mad rush to get something going in London before I move. It's like a ring toss and each ring is a contact or path I can go. It could be that all the rings are successful in where I want them to go, or none of them.

I realise luck is the heart of an actor. It's luck that one of my contacts will take me somewhere and its luck that that contact will present me with even more opportunities. It's luck that I've come this far. I think I'm about to learn the more you get out there the more you can take charge of your luck and that's exactly what I intend on doing. I need to be a brand new Sam Stevenson and take the reins on my luck and make sure I'm always in the right place at the right time. You can look at any actor and say they were always going to make it big with their skill but its luck they got their first acting job and second and third and so on. I've got to be a fast learner, adaptable and really if I never give up on it the odds of not making it as an actor would actually look pretty slim...right?

Its inspiring hearing some peoples views on the move. I never really knew what to expect in terms of reaction but how many people have supported it so wholeheartedly is inspiring. Not just that but the faith some people have in me. How can I not be inspired by people who seem to truly believe I will make it as an actor. I have made a vow to myself to never stop being thankful for everything that happens. I used to get speechless when I talked about shows that had big audiences. How could I put into words the appreciation I had and still have for these opportunities given, the cast members I worked with, each audience member that spent money to come see the shows, the people who praised our performances, I wouldn't even know where to begin without falling short of words once more. I could easily argue life has been pretty great to me so far. I've always got the part I've wanted since I started doing local theatre, and the experiences I will keep with me forever. But this is it now. I'm going to London and I've got to look forward. I've got to be someone I've never been before. My main thought on the next year of my life is something I will make sure I remember throughout. Whether I will have a year of failure or a year of success I will have an adventure. And really that's all I can ask for.