Tag Archives: Film

Medical Roleplay and The Man with a Plan

As 2014 chugs merrily on, I’m encouraged by the opportunities that are springing up – some on the acting side, some on the writing and some on the Dramaturgy.

I’ve recently started working with a company in Lancaster on some medical roleplay for the local hospital.  It’s a fantastic way to keep your “hand in” between stage and screen roles and the people involved are marvelous.  It’s also nice to see employers who are still pro-active in employing local actors –  it’s a frequent complaint that I hear in my position at my local Equity branch: why do many Northern theatres and TV producers mainly audition for performers in London?  Why does this still happen when there are so many talented performers right next door?  Are the actors in London better?  In most cases, the answer is simply “No”.  Yet it happens.

Sorry, bit of a rant there.

Writing plans are a touch hush-hush but things may pan out in very interesting ways as the year goes on.  Keep ’em peeled!

What I can say is that I’ve a radio drama script in contention at the Beeb – it’s a play that I wrote from my previous experience as an ambulance call taker and dispatcher.  Feedback has been positive so far but you can never tell; the commissioning structure at the BBC isn’t the most straight-forward process in the world.

I was down in London t’other day (as a Dramaturg) to meet with Puppeteers and producers about the process of writing for puppets.  It was a fantastic event that threw up a bunch of interesting questions.  I’ve written for puppets quite a bit and it’s great to be able to share some of my experience.  If you’ve a puppetry play that you could do with a little feedback on, even if you’ve not started scripting it yet, do drop me a line – timaustin2000@googlemail.com.

Back to the acting:  last year was a slow year, with many other concerns (a lot of them to do with feeding myself each month) distracting me from pushing hard on the acting side of things.  I’m determined that this will change in 2014 and, to help myself capitalise on my experience and ability, I’m drawing up a plan.

If I could give one piece of advice to new-comers to the acting biz it’d be to plan.  What are the types of shows that you’d like to do (be specific!)?  Who makes them?  When will they be most open to hearing from you and what’s the best way of getting in touch?  How can you be seen by them in performance?  If you’ve nothing coming up, is there a way of making some work of your own in their area?

All these questions go into a year planner on my wall.  A career is a career, after all:  Acting is not a hobby.

So I’ll end on a question – just pop your answers in a comment, below.  How do you plan out your acting career and what kind of actor do you want to be?

Until next time, stay frosty!

Tim x

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Winning Awards in a Fascinating Year.

At the start of 2013, I acted in a short film called “Life Like Mine”.  As the year draws to a close, then, it’s a great time to announce that the film has now garnered not 1 but 3 awards at the Angel Film Awards at the Monaco Film Festival.

The awards, now in their 11th year, are among the most prestigious on the short-film circuit.  These three awards are a testament to the hard work and talent of the crew and I’m delighted to share in their success.

What a lovely way to end the year.

And what an interesting year it’s been.  I’ve continued my successful partnership with Yorkshire-based Rough Magic Theatre, performing a number of street shows with the company and starring in their brand new theatre piece “Officer Buckle and Gloria”.

I’ve also spent a good chunk of the year training my screen performance with the help of Beverley Keogh in Manchester, as well as auditioning for a number of shows, among which was a brand new BBC sitcom.

The feature film that I shot last year, The Rise, has also had its cinema release and is now out on DVD.

My work with the local Equity branch has also been rewarding, with recent discussions and efforts delivering real benefits for performers in the region.

All in all, a fascinating time.  What will 2014 bring?

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, all!

Tim

Life Like Mine Update.

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I should be getting the rushes of the scenes I filmed for “A Life Like Mine” this week.  With these in hand, I’ll be putting together a new showreel very soon – keep a weather eye out!

So how did the filming go?  I had three scenes to shoot and all were completed in the space of a day.  Location shooting took place at the University of York’s frighteningly expensive-looking new Media Campus.  Only completed last year, the whole place looked so new that I was scared to sit anywhere in case I scratched something.

Cue “it wasn’t like this in my day” grumblings.

But it was a great shoot for a fantastic team of film makers.  My scenes were shot with former Coronation Street regular,and two-time rear of the year (No I didn’t look!), Scott Wright.  Charming fella and a good laugh – we now tweet,… it’s the 21st century “Let’s stay in touch!”

It was a comedic set of scenes, which will be nice for my (currently) comedy-lite showreel.  If the raucous laughter of the crew after each take is anything to go by, the producers should have a hit on their hands.

…..

In other news, I’m now a month into my TV acting course with Beverley Keogh and I’m enjoying it immensely.  I’ve found it incredibly useful in fine-tuning my screen technique and, as an actor who has worked and trained for the stage before now, I feel sure that this will help me to stand out in future screen castings.  I’ll be blogging about my work on the course over the next few weeks.

I’d say this though:  never be afraid to keep training and improving, as an actor.  If you’re a professional, you’ve got to keep working to be the best you can be and not rest on your laurels.  The industry is full to the brim of laurel-resting actors who think that, now they’ve graduated, the work should fall in their laps.

It won’t.  You’ve got to work hard to get anywhere in this industry and I’m putting that work in.

See you next time!

Short Film Casting and Further Training

lifelikemine

In early 2012, I was snapped up for a small part in the Feature Film “Wasteland”.  2013 seems to be getting off to a similar start, as I’m heading back before the cameras again.

“A Life Like Mine” (http://www.lifelikemine.co.uk/) is the story of a life coach whose own “perfect” life is not all it seems.  It’s a blistering drama that is being filmed in York and Scarborough by Martini Shot Productions.

I’ll be on set this weekend, filming scenes with Coronation Street actor Scott Wright.  It’s going to be a fun shoot, and a lovely little part to get my teeth into.  Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for updates!

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act4tv

I’m also pleased to announce that I’ve been accepted onto a screen acting course run by Act4TV, an offshoot of the great Beverley Keogh Casting.

I’ve always been an advocate of continued training – never let your skills get stale!  And, although I’ve worked on film, I trained and have performed mainly as a stage actor.  As anyone who has done both can tell you, they’re two very different beasts.

I’ve always been keen to broaden my understanding of screen performance and update my skills.  Not only does it improve my work, it’ll also help me in future castings.  The better my work, the more work I’ll get – simples.

I look forward to getting started this weekend.

Tim

 

Setting Up and Getting Going!

Hello and a warm welcome to 2013!

It was certainly a hectic end to the year for me, with performances with Rough Magic Theatre taking me right into the tail end of December.  I also performed on stage at The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster in November for the 2012 Theatre Uncut, with a fantastic monologue that went down a storm.

That said, 2012 wasn’t a break out year for yours truly.  I spent much of the year building up my finances and launching a part-time copywriting business to support my acting career.   While this took up a lot of my time, it has now set things up admirably for 2013.

So the push is back on:  further training, more meeting and greeting, more blogs, more networking, more VideoTim clips and more!  I hope to hit the ground running, with more film work and, hopefully, my first TV roles in 2013.

In other news:  I’m now the press secretary for the North Lancashire and Cumbria branch of Equity.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, I think it’s important to get stuck in and take control of your career, and one of those ways is to become an active member of your local Equity branch.

Even before its official launch, the North Lancashire branch had successfully lobbied for the return of job-creating theatre projects in Lancashire.  We’re now working hard to ensure that there are more training opportunities in the North West, now that the Actors Centre in the North has closed its doors.  Get in touch with me if you’re interested in getting stuck in with Equity in the North West! You can find more information at http://www.equity.org.uk/.

And finally, I’ll be investigating the possibility of working as a “simulated patient” at a few local hospitals.  A question to other actors:  have you worked as a Simulated Patient and, if so, have you enjoyed the experience?

Stay Frosty!

Tim

Wasteland Trailer

Okay, Okay I know – I’ve been a bit quiet of late. But that’s not because I’ve been idle! Visits to Media City, auditions, discussions of new projects and more performances of Alice in Wonderland for Rough Magic Theatre,.. it’s all go on planet Tim!

Before my next post, however (and trust me, it’s on its way!) I’d like to share this: the first trailer for Wasteland, the British heist movie that I filmed in Leeds earlier in the year. Enjoy!

Of Excitable Pooches and Fluffy Jackets: on the set of Wasteland.

I recently completed a day of filming on the upcoming British movie Wasteland.  I thought I’d jot down a few words about the experience.  Note; I’m not going to be talking about plots, scripts or famous faces – if you want to know about them, go and see the film 😉

I spent the night before in a swanky Leeds hotel but, sadly, the unfamiliar surroundings and the excitement of the new project kept me restless past midnight.  In an attempt to lull myself to sleep, I began channel hopping – I ended up watching Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”.

This was not a great idea.

With swirling visions of scalped Nazis and burning cinemas rolling about my head, I finally got some shut-eye, ready for a 7am call.

Rising the next morning like an extra from Dawn of the Dead, I quickly showered and made my way through the eerily quiet centre of Leeds to the shoot location.

After a brisk 30 minute walk on an empty stomach, I was greeted by the smell of eggs, bacon, hash-browns and toast – God bless movie caterers!

Fully fed and coffeed, I made my way to costume and make-up.  I was promptly given a neat “short back and sides”, to get the look of the character just right.  I was later used as a fake-tattoo guinea pig, with the make-up team covering my right hand in various inks and sprays.  Y’know, this acting lark is just an excuse for us adults to play Dress Up, I swear.

I can’t tell you too much about the shoot itself (Rowan, the director, knows people; scary, scary people!*) but the sheer scale of a feature film shoot always amazes me – even for the simplest of scenes.  The morning shoot had 4 actors and one location but there must’ve been nearly 20 crew members milling around – cutting off traffic, winding cables, holding light reflectors and re-touching makeup.

My scenes ended up being pushed back in the running order so I spent much of my time watching the filming from behind the camera.  I love to see how it all works; the steadicam cameramen and their runners, the gaffers, the director, the 1st and 2nd AD’s, the sound people all working seamlessly together like a well oiled machine.  And by “well oiled” I mean “highly caffeinated”.

It was a lovely sunny day (see if you can spot it in the film!) but the wind was sharp and biting.  Happily, the thoughtful costume team provided us delicate-skinned acting folk with fluffy puffer jackets to keep warm.  Which was nice.

It was late afternoon before I got the other side of the camera, dodging curious school children and making friends with an excitable Alsatian.  Filming went well and hours seemed to zip by in the blink of an eye.  I was soon getting back into my civvies and heading off for another night in another hotel.

10 hours on set, who knows what will end up in the final edit?

Such is the life of an actor.

Tim Austin is an Actor 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 watch his showreel by clicking here.

*okay, he doesn’t really. Unless you count Timothy Spall.