Tag Archives: About

London Calling

Hi-de-hi campers! Another couple of weeks have passed by and, my my, haven’t they been eventful? First up; A Price on Life! Yes, Morph Films’ internet short about the privatisation of the NHS is now complete and viewable on their YouTube page. And yes; I’m in it.

Would you like to see? Well then; Tim’ll fix it for you;

Beyond that, last Saturday (the 23rd of July), I attended a great industry networking event in Manchester called “Surviving Actors”. I love events like this and it was a joy to be a part of it.

Being an actor can be a lonely existence. Unless you’re in the midst of a performing community or currently part of a large cast, you may go weeks without meeting another actor. As such, you’ve got no-one to talk to about your career and little by way of support along the way. You’ve also got no way of really gauging your success or discussing your triumphs and failures. Of course there is a community online, with messaging boards and social media, but it’s just not the same as sitting down over a coffee and talking to someone. Get-togethers like “Surviving Actors” are a great place to do just this and I met some very interesting and diverse actors, directors and companies while I was there.

What the event really brought home to me was just how far I have come since my very first blog post back in March; it gave me a valuable sense of perspective. I’ve come a very long way on my journey so far – further than I had credited myself for. I left “Surviving Actors” with a renewed sense of optimism and a spring in my step!

And I had good reason to do so; A few days before I made the journey to Manchester, I received an offer of an audition from, would you believe it, the Ambassadors Theatre in London. Yes, me auditioning for the West End! Who’d a’ thunk it?

As such, I’ve just returned after a couple of days in ol’ London town. I auditioned on the main stage at the Ambassadors, which is currently hosting “Stomp!” (and has been since time-immemorial!) It’s an odd experience, telling Christmas stories while surrounded by trash cans and cyber-punk drums! How did I do? Well, that’s for the casting directors to decide. I’ll let you know 😉

If you’d like a taste of what I performed for them, check out my post RE VideoTim (above).

Well, I’ve rambled on for long enough and I’ll bid you adieu  for now. Don’t forget to watch “A Price on Life” and take a look at the new VideoTim’s! Comments, feedback and chit-chat always welcome.

Tim Austin is an Actor and Theatre Dramaturg working nationally and internationally from his base in the UK. You can find his Spotlight CV here; http://www.spotlight.com/8218-3497-0502 and read about his work as a Dramaturg here; http://dramaturgtim.wordpress.com

Keepin’ on Truckin’

On Tuesday I met the wonderfully creative and talented Steve Byrne, artistic director at Interplay Leeds. After congratulating him on his increased National Portfolio funding (and if you know Interplay, you’ll know how much they deserved it!) we got chatting about our past work together and possibilities for the future.

Steve seemed keen to work with me as a performer and we discussed some projects that he has in the pipeline. Nothing concrete, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be back in rehearsal with Interplay before long.

I also had a chat with Darren at Morph Films about filming A Price on Life, the NHS protest piece that I developed a few weeks back (see my post below). We hope to be putting it in front of cameras sometime early in June, although we haven’t got a firm date fixed yet. I should have more news on this in my next blog.

I’ve been busy applying for new castings all over the shop this week. The most exciting of these is an opportunity to perform for the simply wonderful Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah on their Stig of The Dump tour later this year. I’ve wanted to work with the Blah’s for simply ages and I have many fingers and toes crossed for an audition. I love the ethos of the company and, having worked with disabled actors and audiences quite a few times in my career so far, I am always excited when a new project like this comes up.

My chat with Steve at Interplay got me thinking beyond my acting career, however. Having worked with me when I was Dramaturg on Daughter of the Winds and Happy Days, Steve was curious to know why I hadn’t been actively chasing Dramaturgy and writing work in recent months. I started explaining to him that there was little interest in this side of my career when it suddenly hit me; that wasn’t actually true.

In recent months I have been asked to write two plays and provide Dramaturgical feedback on a full movie screenplay! Red Ladder seem keen to engage me in more script reading too, although their plans are a little up in the air due to their recent ACE funding cut.

In fact, whenever I start talking to people about my career so far, ears seem to prick up when I mention my Dramaturgy. Life, as they say, is what happens when you’re busy doing something else – and I can testify to that.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to push ahead with the launch of a blog dedicated to this side of my career – You’ll find it at dramaturgtim.wordpress.com. It’ll launch tomorrow night (17/5/2011, about 20.00 GMT) so keep your eyes peeled!

You may also have noticed a major facelift to the site. I’ve re-jigged it to make things more accessible and information about me easier to find. Please take a good look around.

I’m off to a meeting with the Arts Council later today so I shall have to disappear off. But you stay frosty, y’hear?

Tim Austin is an Actor and Theatre Dramaturg working nationally and internationally from his base in the UK. You can find his Spotlight CV by clicking here and a full biography by clicking here.

A Month in the Playground

It’s been a frustrating and mixed few weeks since my last post.

“Disowned”, the short film that I was due to complete late last month (wonderfully witty and clever script!), had to be shelved due to a sudden and unforseen funding withdrawal. This left quite a sizeable hole in my timetable and was a blow to the momentum that I was building up. It quite took the wind out of my sails and now leaves me one segment short of a full showreel.

But, swings and roundabouts, I was asked to write a short play to protest at the cuts and back-door privatisation of the NHS. My friend Aliki, one of the driving forces behind Lancasters’ Theatre Uncut show, joined me on stage for a rehearsed reading of the play at an NHS fundraiser and the script was flatteringly well received. Indeed, so successful was it that the good people at Morph Films have offered to film it (a replacement segment on the showreel! Yay!) The script has also been posted on the Proper Gander Goose blog, to be used (for free and gratis!) by protest groups and performers anywhere in the UK.

Swings. Roundabouts.

Having liked my performance in Whiff Whaff a couple of months ago, Joe Sumpsion – Artistic Director at The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster – offered me an audition for their upcoming “Merlin and the Legend of King Arthur”. This was a fantastic opportunity to perform in a nationally-recognised piece of event theatre. Great News!

Swings. Roundabouts. Slides.

I didn’t get the part.

Not that I’m particularly upset at this – if you got upset every time you didn’t get a part, you’d be a pretty lame duck as an actor!

Indeed, I’m very proud of how well I did in the audition and my performance was welcomed very warmly – but it wasn’t what they were looking for. And that’s fair enough, frankly; the play’s the thing, as Billy the Bard once wrote. I am hopeful that I can work with them at some point in the near future and we’re staying in touch.

Sand pits. (Am I stretching this analogy now? Be honest.)

With nothing new on the immediate horizon, I start my own set of filmed monologues (see below or click on VideoTim in the sidebar). The first of these, An Invitation to Dinner, is very well received and I’m very proud of the finished product. I’m up again! Feeling good, feeling positive!

SeeSaws.

But I seem to hit a brick wall. With the lovely weather and two 4 day weekends in quick succession, I find it nigh-on impossible to publicize myself. What follows is 2 painfully frustrating weeks where calls and e-mails seem to dissapear into the ether. Self promotion can be a difficult thing at the best of times but, with more days off than days in the office, casting directors and producers seem to blank me entirely. Oof.

Well what are you to do? You dust yourself down and get back on the wagon, that’s what! My determination undimmed, I pick myself up and continue to chase down new projects and new collaborators.

After all, what else is there to do?!

Tim Austin is an Actor and Theatre Dramaturg working nationally and internationally from his base in the UK. You can find his Spotlight CV here; http://www.spotlight.com/8218-3497-0502 and his bio here https://actortim.wordpress.com/about-actortim/

3 Weeks of Serendipity

Welcome back to actortim, glad you could make it. Pull up a chair, there’s tea in the pot – don’t mind the dog, he’s always does that.

I’d like to start off with an admission; Three weeks ago, before I started writing this blog and, indeed, before the idea even entered my brain, I was feelin’ blue. My career seemed to have lost momentum and I was struggling to focus. Without money and without an agent I felt, rightly or wrongly, that I wasn’t getting very far.

Which just goes to show; Sometimes I don’t know shit.

Fast forward three weeks. I’m now deep in rehearsal for two plays (performing in one, directing the other), I’m due on location in Liverpool in a few weeks to shoot a short film, I have a list of new arts contacts as long as my arm (and they’re all lovely – each and every one of them!) and – here’s the biggie – I’ve now got myself an agent. What a difference 3 weeks make.

No meet and greet, it seems, is a waste of time; EVERY contact is useful. My sudden change in fortunes is a testament to this.

A few months ago, I decided to meet up with Lancaster’s short film society. This was way back in 2010; there was clearly no money in it and I had no idea how serious they were about their work before I met them, but I went along anyway. Nothing much came from that initial meeting and, to the untrained eye, it might’ve seemed like a bit of a loss. But, among those talented and generous filmmakers was a lady who would, 3 weeks ago, call me up out of the blue to let me know about Theatre Uncut – a national demonstration against government spending cuts. I was invited along to a workshop audition and, well, here I am! Ta Daa!

And even this Theatre Uncut project might seem like a bit of a gamble. Although it’s a great cause, and one which I’m proud to support, there is, once again, no money in it – and you have to be careful about giving your time for free in this business. But I plunged into it nonetheless (anything to make my disgust at this current political shambles heard!)

But had I not taken that chance, had I decided that I had “better things to do” that day, I would have missed a superb opportunity to meet and greet some of the regions’ brightest and best media and theatre talents, many of whom began donating their time to the cause. And had I not taken this gig, I wouldn’t have an agent today.

So keep your options open, take time to meet other artists, performers and peers – whether you can see an immediate benefit or not. You never know where it may lead you.

Jammy Dodger, anyone?

Learn more about Theatre Uncut at www.theatreuncut.co.uk

Resigned to a Life Less Ordinary.

Greetings, salutations and felicitations!

Welcome, dear reader, to a brave new world. My name is Tim Austin and I’m an Actor, Dramaturg and Writer based up in North Yorkshire (UK) and 5 months ago I did something very, very silly;

I resigned.

I chucked in a drab but reliable 9–5 office job to focus all of my energy on making it as an actor.

Now don’t look at me like that! And stop sniggering at the back! I know full well that it was a reckless thing to do – I had whole queues of people who were perfectly overjoyed to point this out to me at the time – but I had my reasons. Not least of which is this:

I’m not a 9-5 career kinda guy.

I never have been. I’m a theatre and film guy. I’m a thespian. A dyed-in-the-wool grease paint wearing, Shakespeare quoting, singing, dancing, wet liberal luvvy. And do you know what? Resigning was the best thing I’ve ever done.

But now comes the hard work, and it’s this hard graft that I’m here to discuss with you, my dear internet brethren. I’ve decided to blog about my experiences as an emerging actor so that others can share in the joy, the pain and the general insanity that ensues when trying to get ahead in this wonderful industry of ours.

Over the next few weeks, months and years, I’m going to be baring my soul, sharing my insight and venting my fury (delete as appropriate). Sometimes it’ll be funny, at times it’ll be a little irreverent, and often you’ll wonder why I bother – but I guarantee this; it’ll never be dull.

So join me as I hurtle into an unknown future! And don’t stay silent, I’m going to need your comments, support and advice all of the way! See that “Leave a Reply” box down there? That’s yours, that is.

This is a full on conversation and I’m opening it out to every writer, actor, producer, director and wannabe in the world! So don’t be a stranger. In fact, you can start right now by giving your thoughts and votes on the following quandary;

Next week I have a meeting with an agent to discuss representation. My question is this: do you have to have an agent to be successful as an actor? Extra points to anyone who can answer this question from experience!

Votes and comments below! Don’t be shy 😉

ACTORTIM

www.spotlight.com/8218-3497-0502