Tag Archives: Movies

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

Life Like Mine Update.

DSC_0470

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!

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

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.

A Year in Review.

As  2011 fades into the mists of time and 2012 springs, Bambi like, into the face of today (don’t start!), it’s time to reflect on the year past and look forward to the year ahead.

And it’s been a hell of a year! In 2011 I;

    • Was cast in 3 short films (2 of which are now complete).
    • Performed on stage in “Whiff Whaff” and directed another play for “Theatre Uncut”.
    • Reprised my role as the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland” at the Hebden Bridge Festival in West Yorkshire.
    • Performed improv at Contact Theatre in Manchester.
    • Auditioned on The West End and for a Hollywood director.
    • Was chosen to audition for leading roles in “Merlin and the Legend of King Arthur” and “Much Ado About Nothing”, among many others.
    • Published my first showreel.
    • Wrote sucessful play scripts for Morph Films and Rough Magic Theatre.
    • Created VideoTim, a YouTube channel dedicated to new original monologues.
    • Secured both a performing agent and a voice over agent.
    • Attended various equity and networking events, including the recent innaugral gathering of a brand new branch in North Lancashire (more on that later).
    • Became a columnist for Frost Magazine.
    • And began writing this blog.

    Whew!  I hadn’t quite realised just how busy last year had been.

    But that was 2011; What about 2012?

    Well you never know what the future is going to bring but it is my hope that, with renewed hard work and determination, things will really begin to take off. 

    I’ve already got performances at 3MT in Manchester on the cards as well as workshops for Red Ladder Theatre in Leeds. I’ll be visiting the BBC studios at Media City in Salford soon and completing a significant series of articles for Frost Magazine.

    But what else would I like to do this year? Let’s throw caution to the wind and set out my stall for the year ahead;

      • I’m still very keen to work with the team at Big Finish Productions, an audio drama company that I’ve admired for many years.
      • I’m hoping to build on my relationships with regional theatres in Lancaster, Leeds, Manchester and across Yorkshire and Lancashire. There are a few companies that I’m particularly keen to work with, including the brilliant Pilot Theatre, Northern Broadsides and (if they’ll have me!) Forced Entertainment.
      • I’d like to get more comic material on my showreel as it’s a little short on range.
      • Training ambitions this year include Horse Riding and Fencing.
      • And I’m looking for my first mainstream TV and movie roles in 2012!

      You never know what’s around the corner in this job; I was contacted about a presenting gig for Disney the other week.

      Let’s see what 2012 has in store!

      Tallyho!

      Exciting Times!

      Filming continues on “Date Night”, the short film I’m starring in somewhere in the depths of Lancaster, with exterior scenes due to be completed next weekend.

      I really enjoy the challenge and discipline of working on camera; it’s an art in itself and very different to working as an actor on stage. There are yawning chasms of time between shots while lighting and cameras are rigged, sound is checked and notes are given. During this time, you have to hold any emotion or energy that you were expressing in the shot before to re-create it for the next; it’s a great test of mental discipline!

      And I love it, just as I love working an audience on stage. Indeed, I’m not sure which I prefer more, stage work or filming; it’s all good!

      That said, I’m really hankering after more film work after “Date Night” is complete, the trouble being that my contacts in the film and TV world are a little limited. Though things change. In fact, if you’re a film or TV producer, or if you know a really good one, do drop me a line.

      My First article for Frost Magazine is now live and you can read it here. There will be another online this weekend and I’m preparing a very exciting set of articles and interviews over the next few weeks, all of which is pretty hush-hush and on the QT.

      I’m also in the very early stages of setting up a possible showcase in Manchester, for the benefit of producers and directors in the town. Early days but it’s looking pretty exciting.

      Y’see, you’ve got to make yourself heard in this business; anyone can have a decent CV and hundreds of people have “graduated from an accredited stage school”. But if you don’t put in the leg work and get yourself seen, you’re going nowhere fast, bucko. So that’s what I’m doing; putting in the leg work, and I’ll tell you all about it next time,….

      Don’t be a stranger!

      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.

      “Date Night” Filming and Updates

      Filming has now begun on “Date Night”, a short film that I’m acting in somewhere in the depths of Lancaster. I can now give you a few more details,… but not too many!

      “Date Night” is in production at LFC Productions in Lancaster and is being directed by the wonderfully creative Liam Treacy, who also wrote the script. It is a two-hander between myself and actress Collette Knowles and,… well, I can’t give any details about the plot or I’d have men with very sharp sticks knocking at my door in the dead of night.

      Last night (16/08/2011) saw the first night of filming. Interior scenes were shot at a secret location. I can tell you that it was a restaurant and that it was impossibly swish. Needless to say, no food of theirs went anywhere near my mouth! This was a great relief to the lobsters but a mild disappointment to my taste buds.

      Cameras will roll again later this week for exterior shots and pickups. I’ll be uploading some photos from set in the next couple of days so stay tuned.

      Further to my post below, I can also now reveal that I have been accepted as a columnist for Frost Magazine, a superb online lifestyle and arts magazine. I am in the process of writing my first entry which should be up online sometime next week. You can read the magazine by clicking on the link below. I’ll update you with details about my columns and articles soon.

      Read Frost Magazine here; http://frostmagazine.com

      And now, The News,….

      This Tuesday sees me back before cameras, this time for the upcoming short film “Date Night”.

      A near-silent romantic drama, “Date Night” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that’s sure to turn a few heads. I can’t give much away about the plot or my part in it but I’m really looking forward to playing a part with some real emotional clout. More news, links and juicy tit-bits from the set on my next blog post (probably in the next couple of days)!

      Okay, I know you’re going to ask; no, I didn’t get that West End gig from a couple of weeks back. On the upside, the audition gave me a reason to write a new monologue for my Videotim YouTube channel (you can find it here) and the piece has been getting some great reviews. In fact, my agent, having seen the video, is now beating his way down new paths and knocking on a few storytelling doors using this video as ammunition. Always a good thing!

      You may have noticed that I’ve changed my main profile image to the right and on my “About Tim Austin” page. This is in response to advice I’ve been getting recently about playing “to type”. It has occurred to me that my old image, while a slightly nicer shot, didn’t reflect my slightly geekier, odder character. It was, in short, too “leading actor” when I’m more a “lead villain” or “elfin” type. There may be changes to the written profile as well soon, with this in mind.

      The eagle eyed among you may also have noticed that my Spotlight CV now houses a copy of my Showreel; this is a major step forward. Many casting directors search exclusively for profiles with a showreel so this opens me up to a much wider slice of casting network online.

      On the subject of opening myself up to a wider audience, I’ve approached an online magazine with a view to becoming a columnist. I can’t tell you which magazine, as things are at a very early stage and they’ve not given me any green light yet, but it would mean “ActorTim” blogs becoming predominantly news based in future. Articles about my thoughts on the industry, interviews and reviews would appear elsewhere.

      If you’d like to follow my progress and get regular updates about what I’m up to and where you might see me in action, please subscribe using the button on the right of the page. If you’d like to continue hearing my thoughts on the industry, along with reviews and interviews, stay tuned and I’ll have news on my journalistic ambitions soon!

      Take care and stay frosty!

      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.

      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/