Tag Archives: Acting

Work Begins on Seven Songs!

Rehearsals have now started on Seven Songs of Love – Rough Magic Theatre’s upcoming show, which combines storytelling, shadow puppetry and english folk song into an immersive exploration of infatuation.

I’m working as a performer, puppeteer and co-director on the piece, with an initial scratch space showing for bookers and audiences on the 16th and 17th of July at Beverley Puppet Festival (beverleypuppetfestival.com)

We’re testing out prototypes and making changes to puppets in this first week so it’s a very busy time, now that we have our rig and space up and running! We’re also in the studio recording a couple of songs (most will be performed live but there are a couple of shadow plays that won’t allow it).

It’s a busy month and a fantastic show to be collaborating on.

If you want to see the scratch space show, pop onto the link above and search for “7 Songs” for dates, venues and times.

See you there?

T x

Showreel Updated with Added Heart To Heart!

Heart To Heart is now heading off onto the short film festvals circuit and I’ve had a gander at an early cut (It’s fantastic). The producers have kindly allowed a clip onto my showreel. And here it is! Enjoy,…

Heart To Heart – First Pictures Released!

A few screengrabs of my most recent short film role to tide you over until editing is complete, the film is out there on the festival circuit and I can slip some footage into my showreel.

Enjoy!

Short Film, New Theatre Show, Further Training and Auditioning for TV.

Well hasn’t the time flown?

It’s been a busy ol’ few months – let’s see what I’ve been up to, shall we?

Jurassic Earth.

Having secured touring work as part of the cast for Jurassic Earth back in January, the next job was to rehearse the show and work with the puppets. Cheeky things they are too! My first show was postponed by the dreaded Covid but I eventually went out to perform on the show last month, which was tremendous fun. More dates to follow!

Short Film at Media City.

I’m just back from filming a lead role on a short film in Salford, including some studio time over in Media City – genuinely one of my favourite places in the world.

It was a great script and a great idea, which I won’t spoil here.

I look forward to seeing the finished film once they’ve graded, edited and scored it. News and clips when I have them 🙂

New Theatre Show for July.

An opportunity to create a new show with my longtime collaborators at Rough Magic Theatre presented itself in February, too.

Beverley Puppet Festival were offering Scratch Space showings and funding for new shows in July and we pitched one that’s been sat on the backburner for a while. We were delighted to be awarded funding and space to develop, and premiere, the show.

Work has begun in earnest on “Seven Songs of Love” – a combination live-action, storytelling, musical shadow show based on traditional folk songs. You can see an example clip below. You can see the scratch performance over the weekend of 15th-17th July and we hope to be touring the full show in 2023.

Further Training.

In February I started working with casting director extrodinaire Sarah Leung, picking her brains on the industry and how best to navigate castings. We also arranged some one-to-one workshops to polish my film performance. It’s essential to know what casting directors are looking for and what they need to see when you put yourself forward.

Of her many invaluable suggestions, one really resonated: tape constantly.

Don’t just wait for a casting to come along – find scripts online and film yourself daily. Keep practicing. Keep improving. Keep working, even if you’re not in front of a casting director. This will keep you sharp for that moment that you do step into that audition.

It also means that you can build a library of performances that you can send to Casting Directors later.

Whitstable Pearl.

I put this advice into practice immediately and it came in handy when I was asked to audition for the TV show Whitstable Pearl a few weeks later. This was a self-tape audition that I ran a few takes together for. I wanted to give them a few choices to pick from and I enjoyed the process immensely. I was also very happy with the results.

Sadly, the role was eliminated in re-writes so nobody ended up being called back. As a practice exercise it was invaluable, however. It also validated my approach to representing myself while I’m in between agents. Which was nice.

I’ve not even mentioned playing hide and seek with the tremendous Sarah Punshon or discussions on directing a shadow short movie.

There’s plenty more to come!

Until then, stay Frosty!

Tim x

Tim is currently seeking representation and casting opportunities. If you like what you see on his showreel and gallery, he welcomes approaches from casting professionals.

Herding Dinosaurs into 2022!

Image courtesy of Bigfoot Events.

In 2022 I’ll be Working with Dinosaurs (see what I did there?) as I join the cast for the national stadium and walkabout touring show “Jurassic Earth”.

While my focus into this next year is on Film and TV work, joining Jurassic Earth was too tempting a gig to pass up. I’ve a very long history of performing in family shows and street theatre, and I thoroughly enjoy it. Working an audience, interacting in unpredictable situations, improv and just plain making people laugh: it’s in my DNA.

So I’ll be touring the country throughout the year as part of the ensemble, hosting, educating and compering events and stadium shows with some of the biggest dinosaur puppets in the UK.

So expect to see me guiding, entertaining, acting alongside and (probably) running away from T-Rexes near you very soon!

Thoughts About 2022.

So it’s a red hot start to my year, with a casting right out of the gate – but there’s so much more to come. My previous acting agent retired before the first COVID lockdown and I’m searching for a new one to partner with me on the journey ahead.

I have also set myself a few goals for the year, the first of which is to step back in front of cameras for two TV gigs in the coming year, minimum. To help me do this I’ve given myself a goal of 5. Always aim high: you won’t always get there but you’ll get further than you would if you didn’t.

I will be working with a Casting Director this weekend to learn more about her work and how I can improve my chances of remaining in the eyeline of the CDs I want to work with.

I’ll also be creating my own work – both with long-term collaborators Rough Magic Theatre and other creatives. I want to display my ability and make my own opportunities: sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring doesn’t cut it in the 21st century. You have to get out there.

I’ll be talking more about my writing work in the upcoming year, too. I have one eye on writing a full novel this year and I hope it’s something I can find time to do. My work in short stories and flash fiction is fairly well established – it’s time to try long form.

So there’s a lot to be doing in the year ahead and plenty of exciting news to come! Say hello and follow the blog to keep up to date.

Until next time: stay frosty!

Tim x

Tim is currently seeking representation and casting opportunities. If you like what you see on his showreel and gallery, he welcomes approaches from casting professionals.

Overcoming the Anxiety of Getting Seen.

Being a working actor can be terrifying. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most fickle and over-subscribed industry on Earth, with hundreds, if not thousands, of actors applying for every single role that you apply for.

To make matters worse, if you don’t have an agent you’re probably only seeing 10% of the roles that are being passed about by those most terrifying, and wonderful, of gate-keeping humans: Casting Directors* (pay attention to the asterisk – it’s coming back later!)

I’m reminded, now that I’m back pounding pavements, just how difficult it is to be seen by the right people to make any progress in this business. The level of anxiety that can produce is very real. But how can we overcome it?

I’ve been reading up on advice given by Casting Directors and one phrase really jumped out at me:

Stay Positive.

Christ alone knows how difficult that can be when you’ve sent off your 10th pitch of the day and recieve crickets for your reward. The sheer force of silence on the other side of the casting divide is both deafening and deeply disheartening. But I understand what they mean when they say Stay Positive. I get it.

Because if you have the tenacity – if you get out there and be positive about yourself, your ability, your look and your aims, the right casting director will eventually see you at the right time for the right audition. You just need to trust the process.

Here’s the thing about that: *Casting Directors are lovely people – I know a couple of wonderful CDs (hello you!) and I can say this with complete conviction. Casting Directors want to find great actors and put them forward because they love TALENT.

They love finding a great actor as much as an actor loves finding a great role. If you are confident in your ability to deliver a performance that will win the part why should you be afraid to reach out and ask to be seen? I mean, don’t do it constantly – god no! They’re busy and don’t want to be bombarded – but a very occasional hello to remind them you’re active is fine. Encouraged, even.

Belief in your ability is what will hold you together. Not to a concieted or egotistical level (no no no no) but with a confident conviction that, actually, you are good at what you do. That you can demonstrate this. So long as you have this belief, you’ll be able to keep on punching through. Keep on fighting. Keep on reaching out to the people who need to see you.

Sometimes that belief will falter so go out and talk to other actors, directors and producers. Get out there and become part of a supportive network who will keep you fresh, keep your talent sharp and help to remind you that you deserve your part in the mix.

I was very humbled to recieve some beautiful feedback on an audition the other day. I was so nervous heading in for it – I hadn’t gone in for a face to face audition since long before Covid, but I had a monolgue that I knew I could deliver really well (rehearse, people!) and an idea of the character I was casting for that I knew would show thought and consideration.

Indeed, I used the nerves I felt outside that room to enhance my monologue – a character filled with an internal rage and self loathing. I turned that nervous energy inward, just as I’d learned to do over the decades I’ve been at this.

I came out of the audition knowing that a) I’d done my very best and the applause I’d recieved meant I hadn’t fucked it up (phew!) And b) that, actually, I probably wasn’t a perfect physical fit for the role, compared with other actors there.

I was very happy to hear, afterwards, that my instincts were right: the Director and Casting Director loved what I’d done. They loved my audition and my monologue to a point where it made them reconsider the character.

I’d come so very close to the lead role I’d gone for,… but my physical look meant there was another choice who – rightly – got that part instead.

(NB: I never feel bad about loosing a role if the right person gets it. Never. I love film. I love theatre and TV and drama and creating great work: why would I be upset that the film I wanted to be in is now cast perfectly? Makes no sense.)

But what it gave me was reassurance: I’d proven to myself that I was needed in that room. That I was worth their time. That I can deliver a performance that can make Casting Directors, Directors and audiences sit up and pay attention.

And for that I was so grateful.

It gave me my Positivity.

What else do you need? Well I’ll be going into that in some depth over the upcoming weeks – how to plan, who to connect with, what to create yourself (and why) and more. Hit subscribe and keep up to date to learn more about my process and my progress.

Tim x

See you next time!

Tim is currently seeking representation and casting opportunities. If you like what you see on his showreel and gallery, he welcomes approaches from casting professionals.

Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

Back In The Game: Why Now Is The Time I’m Returning to Acting and Writing.

You could argue – with some success – that I hadn’t actually left acting in the first place, but it’s true to say that I stopped actively chasing work after the birth of my son in 2017.

Anthony was born very premature and required a lot of time and care in the early months of his life. I needed to be available and I needed to secure a steady, reliable income to be so. As such, I became a permanent member of staff at my local GP surgery (where I’d been temping for many years).

I settled my finances and secured my immediate future but lost my ability to audition.

It needed to be done.

Some work still came my way even without chasing it. I find this a constant, though very welcome, surprise when it happens. A publisher in New York approached me to narrate an audiobook for a NY Times bestselling author (through ACX) in 2018. Working around my surgery hours, I completed the project in early 2019. I’ve also had consistent work from a medical roleplay company that has kept my acting tools sharp throughout, with 2 or 3 one-day gigs a month.

I also gained very strong interest in providing the continuity voiceover for a medical fly-on-the-wall documentary series that was pitched to BBC2. Sadly, the pilot didn’t result in a series comission and Covid meant that the project fell by the wayside.

See what I mean about not actually leaving acting work? It’s probably more accurate to say that it never really left me.

So why am I going back now?

To answer that I have to go back to 2012 when I started a one-person Copywriting and Public Speaking Agency to support my acting and writing ambitions. Having worked as an award-winning copywriter for BT for many years, this seemed like an ideal opportunity to provide income and freedom – and it was immediately successful.

Sadly, in 2015 I suffered a bout of depression. This was compounded by the passing of my mother and grandmother in 2016. My agency work was placed on hold while I got myself back into shape and returned to a lesser degree when I worked at the surgery.

I’d always promised myself that I would move back into performing if the agency started to take up slack from the surgery. In late 2019 this seemed to be happening, with a run of success that closed off the year with a bang.

And 2020,…. we all know what happened.

2021, however, has seen the agency take off once again, with enough work to support myself and my family, and the freedom to choose when I do it. It’s my “side hustle” once more.

You HAVE to have a side hustle as an actor and performer. Unless you’re already independently wealthy, you won’t survive the infrequency of the work you get as an actor until you “make it” – and 99% of us never hit the dizzying heights of “main stars” like David Tennant or Idris Elba, though we must fight to.

My good friend and colleague Catherine Balavage (http://www.frostmagazine.com) once put it best: you have to be an Actorpreneur. Give yourself the income to support yourself and the freedom to chase the work. She wrote a fantastic book on the subject that you can read here.

Which is why, now both of my children are more independent and my side-hustle is secured, now is the time to pound on doors and chase the work once more.

I am intensely proud of my work at the GP surgery and forever grateful for them for providing me the stability I needed when I needed it most. It was with a heavy heart that I handed in my notice in August and left for the final time in September.

So I’m back. Properly back – applying for castings, dialling up old contacts and hitting the streets once more to fight for my place in the great market of creatives. I have already secured a new showing of Alice in Wonderland with my long-term collaborators at Rough Magic Theatre and am waiting to hear on a few other potential opportunities that have drifted my way.

I had my first new headshot photoshoot in many, many years last week with the BRILLIANT Ania Pankiewicz (https://www.aniapank.co.uk/) and will be sharing the results very soon.

And let’s not forget The Secret Keeper, which continues to bubble away as we re-submit funding for the pilot, which will be back in the hands of Arts Council England some time next week.

This is where I’ll be updating you on my progress and sharing my insights as I move forward – it’s very exciting to me and I hope that you’ll find it equally interesting.

Subscribe to the blog, follow me on the ol’ tweets and I’ll see you all again soon.

Stay frosty!

Tim

https://www.spotlight.com/8218-3497-0502

https://www.mandy.com/uk/actor/timothy-austin-1

https://www.thetalentmanager.com/talent/157692/tim-austin

Tim is currently seeking representation and casting opportunities. If you like what you see on his showreel and gallery, he welcomes approaches from casting professionals.

Photo by Nikola Johnny Mirkovic on Unsplash

Returning to Blogging and the Maddest Project EVER!!

Lordy,… is that the date?!

Okay, it’s been a long while since I last posted – more than three years, in fact. But that’s about to change. Considerably.

That’s not to say that I’ve been quiet and not doing anything in the last three years – far from it. Let’s see (in no particular order),…

  • Had a bout of depression. Worked my way out of this over time. Not easy – people who live with depression long-term have my utter admiration for fighting through every day. Keep your chins high and never be afraid to talk or ask your GP for help.
  • Had a baby boy with my wife. He’s now 3 and utterly delightful.
  • Recorded an Audiobook for a New York Times Best Seller.
  • Continued to work in medical roleplay.
  • Was in early discussions about a major TV voiceover gig. Then came Covid 19. Shittles. Hopefully those chats can resume soon.
  • Had a baby girl with my wife. She’s now 1 and a proper trouble,… and utterly delightful.
  • Used my performing and marketing knowhow to run a successful Public Speaking Mentorship business.
  • Worked on a pitch to create a puppetry, choral and storytold stage show of Beowulf. Sadly, these discussions haven’t yielded a show. Yet.

And now,…

The Secret Keeper.

With Covid basically shutting down the theatre industry, many producers are turning to online options to create new theatre content. My running mates at Rough Magic Theatre are joining them.

And so am I.

The Secret Keeper is a new, original 12-part online shadow-puppet murder mystery series set in a dystopian, broken-cyberpunk future UK. Filmed entirely in cinema-wide 21:9 4K HDR, the aim is,… not simple: To create a shadow puppet online series designed to work on film – edited like an animation, written with the twists and turns of an HBO epic and crafted to thrill.

And I’m the fella they’ve asked to write and co-perform it.

No pressure, then.

World-building, plotting and early design work is already under-way, with RMT’s Collette Knowles knee-deep in research and drawing to establish the look and feel of our world. Over the next few weeks I’ll be firming up the storyline of the series and storyboarding the full serial, episode by episode – looking at what can be done with the medium, how to streamline the show to make filming and performing efficient, and how to keep the twists coming.

So much to do. I’ll be posting about it here, weekly. You can also learn about it over at http://puppetlady.wordpress.com, where the show will premiere (along with YouTube), later in the year.

As an example of what can be done as shadow puppetry on screen, here’s a fantastic short called Baku by John Atterbury – Enjoy!

There is a LOT to do to get this show off the ground! So keep your eyes peeled and subscribe to the blog and share it around.

We’re nuts!! But the good kind of nuts,…..

Stay frosty.

Tim.

Books, Acting and Things: ActorTim is BACK, baby!

Where does the time go?

But let’s not start with all that!  I have been having a very busy year as a performer and as a novelist.  Let me tell you all about it,…

As you’ll have seen in my last post – oh, so long ago – I spent part of my Summer working as a storyteller in my home of Bentham.  I have also been hard at work as a medical roleplayer in Lancaster and Manchester.  It’s one of those jobs that is an enjoyable and reliable “filler” between more visible acting work.

I continued my association with Rough Magic Theatre last year, returning to perform as Lewis Carol and The Mad Hatter in a short summer tour of their “Alice In Wonderland” show at a number of festivals.  I also returned to the role of Fred Fettler in “Fred Fettler’s Pony 3000”, a street theatre show that went down a storm at Lancaster Encounter, a summertime festival in Preston.

 

Beyond acting, I have been busy writing.  My “Christmas Tails” collection of short stories has been selling well over the holiday season and I’ve been typing out stories for the sequel collection, due out later this year.

Santa Cover

Just before Christmas I released “The Santa Beneath The Ice”, a short comic/Noir crime thriller set in 1900 New York.  It quickly drew a set of Five Star reviews and sold in good numbers – though the fashion on Kindle these days seems to favour full-length novels.

With that in mind, I have already begun work on my first full-length novel featuring Keegan and Lestrade, characters that I grew very fond of during the writing of “Santa”.  Their first full-length adventure (currently under the provisional title “The Ripper of Red Hook”) will be written over the course of 2016.  I’ve already mapped out the mystery they will face and many of the characters they’ll meet on the way.  Lets see what happens!

I’ll be blogging solidly about my experience writing this first full-length work over the next year.  If you’re curious about how it feels to write a novel and what challenges a writer faces, subscribe to this blog and keep updated on my progress.

Which reminds me: this blog is going weekly.  After an eon in suspended animation, I’m ensuring that I update it every Wednesday from now on.  I hope that you can join me.

Until Wednesday, though,…

Stay Frosty.

Tim xx

“Local Performer to Debut Riverbank Tales”

DSC_2904

On the 30th of May, High Bentham will see the world première of 3 new short stories by celebrated local actor and writer Tim Austin.  Told to visitors in venues around the town as part of this year’s “Carnival Bentham”, the event marks a departure into straight storytelling that Tim has been planning for a long time.

“I’ve been writing for stage, page and audio for a while now,” explains Tim. “And much of my work has been short stories.  I’ve already performed self-penned shadow theatre shows and even a monologue or two on a West End stage but this will be the first time I’ve written and performed a story without props or puppets – the purest kind of storytelling.”

Tim will be telling stories about life and fantastical events on the River Wenning, which runs beside and through High Bentham.  The hubris of kings, magical creatures, an adventure in the undergrowth and the great Wenning Oak (a local landmark) will all feature.

The River itself provides the inspiration for this year’s Carnival Bentham; an event that’s now in it’s 4th year.  Along with Tim’s storytelling trail, the carnival will include a vibrant mix of street entertainment, a street procession, live music and fun competitions for all.

“I’ve been involved in the Carnival every year since it started,” continues Tim. “It’s a great event!  This is the first time I’ve been presenting my own work there and I’m really looking forward to it.”

As well as a busy Actor, Tim is a prolific writer, having penned many theatre plays and shadow shows for long-time collaborators Rough Magic Theatre.  He is also a published short-story writer, with his “Christmas Tails” collection riding high in the Amazon book charts every December and another collection on the way later this year.

Tim will be performing on streets and inside shops around the town.  Carnival Bentham takes place on Saturday the 30th of May. For more details on the event, please visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CARnivalBentham

(From a press release submitted to local newspapers)