ACT. DON’T JUST TALK.
A blog from Alexandra Maxwell
Manager of 53two & MAP
I’ve never written a blog before. I don’t like writing from a personal point of view because who would care and why would you…?! But I have an opinion on something and yes all views are my own….enjoy!
I find it funny…when I say funny I mean extremely irritating…that people feel it’s ok to be a snob in the industry. It’s not. Don’t be one. The end! But seriously unless you happen to follow the likes of Drew Barrymore and Gwyneth Paltrow and have a Hollywood film director as a godfather, the film and TV roles might not, unfortunately, just fall into your laps! Or you could be one of those people that insist it’s all about being in the ‘right time at the right place’ and rely on ’Tinkerbell dust’ for luck….OR you could get off your arse and work hard!
I’m not writing this from a place of hierarchy, that would be somewhat ironic considering my point! Who am I?! I’m no better or worse than anyone else, I didn’t sail into a drama school and sail out into a theatre job or TV role. (Even if I did I would’ve had to work hard doing that!) If anything I have no idea what I’m doing and often openly tell people I’m very much blagging my way through life! But, oh, I’m having so much fun doing it! I think what has mattered is that I’ve come from a diligent background and know the only way I will achieve what I want is to work hard. There’s simply no other option. I thrive off achieving the unachievable, surrounding myself with inspirational ambitious people and picking myself up after lows and using it for motivation to achieve highs. I came to Manchester a few years ago for training. There was an addictive creative buzz and a strong work ethic that I respected here. Yet I feel in the last couple of years, and I’m confused as to why, but there’s a growing air of arrogance and laziness in the industry around me at the moment. I’m a bit dumbfounded by it. I don’t react well to it and even last year my mental health suffered as a result of it. A few friends and colleagues suffered the same which made me realise it wasn’t just me and that I wasn’t imagining it! WHY?! Since when was it ok for someone to believe they were better than others or didn’t need to work as hard? You’re not and you do!!
Not only as an actor have I noticed this but through my job too. Part of my job with MAP is to organise our classes; booking places and sending out prep so everyone gets the best out of the training they’re paying for. The courses we offer are incredible…I would say that wouldn’t I?! Well I’m saying it because I’ve done them. And I had to work bloody hard while doing them, they are tough!! I cried, I struggled and half the time I was shit! But I put a lot of work in to get the most out. And bloody hell I did! I honestly look back now and think about just how clueless I was before! When I did Karen Henthorn’s Screen Acting course the same 10 people I started with continued onto each of the next 3 levels of the course and we all finished together and cried at it finishing! We have not had another group start and finish together. It’s such a shame! It takes a lot of hard work and people find maybe it’s too much for them. Some choose not to even start…they pay their deposit, talk the talk about wanting to train and then when I send the prep out ‘surprise surprise’ we have drop outs…suddenly they are unable to make the dates work.
Sometimes, yes, day jobs can clash or life problems pop up last minute but I do believe 9 times out of 10 it’s because they’ve been asked to do some work (btw this is learning a 45 second monologue not learning War & Peace!!). This infuriates me. They are missing out on an incredible course because they simply can’t be arsed!! But it’s ok, they can tweet an inspirational quote about how you can never stop learning, they can talk about how important training is but that’s all they do…talk about it.
I’ll calm down now! I guess in a nutshell my point from what I’ve learnt so far, whether you care for it or not, is this…being the best you can be isn’t just about wanting it, it’s not just having a positive mindset or buying a new notepad entitled ‘Never let go of your dreams’ (though that’s all lovely!) - it’s all a waste of bloody time if you don’t work hard!! So if you’ve found yourself up on a high-horse, get down and join us down here having fun! Yes it’s sometimes scary but without putting work in you won’t feel the absolute joy of it paying off!
Actor & Theatre Manager/Producer