Thursday, 5 June 2014

Oral Presentation

I am so glad that I was able to attend the oral presentations and watch my peers present their work. It was great in terms of learning. It provided the opportunity to become well informed on various subjects and it was a very special session. I like the way it rounds up the course in a really nice way and you are able to reflect on the journey of others, not just your own. It was also inspiring to learn about certain subjects that I was not already aware of. It is also a wonderful way of getting used to communicating the  points that you will be discussing with your professional market one day. I personally came across many issues that surprised me. For instance I was questioned on my research content by Adesola and I was then encouraged to ask myself some questions that really made me think closely about the context of my subject matter. I chose to gather direct research from various actors that had written articles about their personal experiences and ideas, I read a lot about African and Cultural studies that did impact my views but I chose to focus directly on the Literature that I used. As my inquiry looks at racial equality schemes my reading on the issues such as white privilege could of infact have been included certain literature that I did not directly quote from and speak more of their ideals. It wasn't until after the oral presentation that I realised I was still hesitant about speaking of certain ideals within my subject matter to people of which I thought may not be able to relate (eg my peers who were not black Actors). I was genuine and thorough my work but I had bared the emotions of the reader in mind so as to not make the reader feel uncomfotable when reading about the issues discussed. Although this was the case I managed to deliver a strong presentation. It was a little nerve wracking but I got through it and I now feel more confident in moving forward with my inquiry.

Got there in the end!!!

In completing this degree course I have been through a remarkable journey. It has been a long process due to many of lifes obstacles but I am happy to say that I have finally completed what I set out to do. Not only have I learned so much about my subject matter but it has been an incredible journey of self discovery. I feel incredibly empowered as an artist and an actress. I have identified my flaws and strengths and have left this course wanting to continue with my inquiry and get the help that I need to support me through this as an academic. I aim to one day create a short film interviewing Black actresses from varied backgrounds and focusing on ways to create more work for ourselves in the industry and take note of what actors of colour are doing in America to make a living out of the profession. It has been a long hard process completing this inquiry and the skills and tools that I’ve acquired have been invaluable. I now feel a responsibility to move forward in my inquiry and educate others, to make it easier for actors in my position and to raise awareness to influential people in the Industry.

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Big Question (Task 4a:

I began this process with a lengthy brainstorming session.. Prior to starting module 2 I had just returned  back from a trip to a work and training related trip to  Los Angeles where I had the opportunity to train at an Acting school. I was so inspired by my trip and it stimulated me in so many ways. Some ways were quite indescribable! But  it led me to ask so many questions about how  the industry in the UK compares to that of the industry in Los Angeles. I found the main differences (apart from the amazing weather) were in the work ethic. The whole ethos, spirit and atmosphere in America is different and I believe this is due to the contrasts in attitude. Here in Britain we are taught to be extremely polite and apologetic in out nature. This was highlighted when I found me, a confident and enthusiastic Actress now felt somewhat timid, self conscious and apprehensive in my approach. In LA actors were bold, confident and fearless and I was in awe! Another huge difference I found was the work ethic. The level of hard work and passion didn't compare to what I was used to in the UK and therefore the whole atmosphere and ambiance was a new sensation for me. I learned that here in the UK we do not as easily let go of inhibitions and let our guards down, its just not what we do or how we communicate. In LA there is an attitude of ‘Anything is possible’. I was hugely inspired during mu time there and it triggered many questions during the brainstorming process

One of the factors I noticed was the fact that as a Black Actress I found there were  many more Acting opportunities for me in America. I was exposed to a new realm where women of my colour were in demand. Being British born and bred I am used to the industry here and the lack of jobs for Actors of colour. I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued to find that State side the opportunities were plenty for me and having a ‘cute’ British accent was an extra bonus (they love us brits!!!).
My recent findings led me to pose some questions towards some black actors/actresses in my work and social network. Here are a few questions asked:

  •        When in training were you fully prepared and in full knowledge of how to approach the Industry as a Black Actress?

  •     Post training were you made aware that there were any  physical or mental adjustments you may have to make in order to gain success as a Black Actress?

  •        Does your ethnicity define you in the Performing Arts Industry?

  •     Do you find the issue of race is still a  prevalent in the UK Acting Industry?

  •     Why do you think there are currently no leading roles for Black Actresses in UK Television?

  •         As a black Actor/Actress you are often type casted into the same roles?

  •         Do you attend auditions as many non race specific roles as you do race specific roles?

  •          As a black British Actor /Actress do you find you have many successful  role models to aspire to follow the path of within the industry and if so who are they?
  •        In other countries other than the UK where you are an ethnic minority, what are the main differences in the career routes/opportunities for an Actor of Colour?

Module 2: First Campus Session

I found the lecture with Rosemary extremely insightful and led us all in the right direction in terms of deciding what question to ask for my professional inquiry. This is something I have been struggling with for a long time. I had a vast amount of  questions running through my mind as my interests in all aspects of my profession (acting) is endless .  As a group we worked our way around the room and each in turn spoke about possible inquiry questions. I found this extremely useful as we were able to physically converse and assist our peers in the difficult decision making process. This was also a great way to find out which students were investigating questions that may interlink with our own lines of enquiry. By the end of this session not only had I a clear understanding of the question I wanted to ask, I could fully justify the reasons behind my decision and could identify the avenues I will venture into in order to fully answer this question. I am sure that along the lines of this enquiry I may some of my methods/ideas may change and therefore I am open to all possibilities. I am looking forward into the further discovery of a topic that is so personal to me and will undoubtedly help me in my career and hopefully many others.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Art Of Engaging

I've recently been thinking about a group session that stood out to me.  In tis session we spoke to Abisola via webcam and she introduced us to an exercise all to do with engaging. We held polystyrene rods together and had to move around the room with them in groups of three. We were only allowed to hold them up with our fingers which was a challenge as they were big and long. As we moved around the room we found that usually someone would slip and a rod would fall, and we would start again until we were able to travel round with no complications and even alter the levels we were travelling in and add meanders! I didn’t really understand the purpose of this exercise until the end when looking at what we observed from this exercise and how it relates to us.
What we observed:
·         When a rod slipped we recorded what  finger holding techniques worked and didn’t work and altered them accordingly
·         Each time we found someone would naturally appoint themselves as ‘leader’ and assure the group with a good strategy
·         Frustration would build within the group, which would then lead into elation as we successfully progressed (or progressed frustration as failure continued!!)
·         Whether  we enjoyed the experience or not, Did our attitude towards the exercise change  and did this determine the future outcome of the exercise
How it related to us

We thought about how we engage in work/studying situations.. do we give up as soon as a situation becomes uncomfortable? Or does this discomfort urge us to go on and complete a task?
How long did it take for you to become irritated by the of the task .
Do you depend on muscle memory when engaging ? Or more Visual aspects of working?
As the exercise continues and we got better at it I enjoyed it more, is this how I approach all of my work?

I had never really thought in depth about my way of engaging. Through this exercise I was able to learn so much about my working/learning methods. I find that when there is a task in hand I will always throw myself into it prepared to immerse myself in all it has to offer in order to experience the most I can get out of it. On the first day or rehearsals of a play I did this year I found I was ready to approach the rehearsal as I would any other, full of confidence and enthusiasm. How ever I found  it was a very different  scenario once I got there. The actors I was meeting for the first time were all RADA trained, and met the judgement of the upper middle class acting student type. We played a few warm up introductory games and instantly I felt inferior, less intelligent. I became worried that I couldnt put not put my words together as sophisticatedly as them. Instantly i though tf the excercise we performed in the lecture and as I began t revisit emotions I felt and I was more aware of the way in which I over come challenging situations to perform to the best of my ability.

Monday, 12 December 2011

What IS your profession?

Something that really interested me in the lecture we had was simply the question of ‘What is your profession’ or what it means.  We got into pairs and asked each other these questions – something which in theory should have been very easy.  Here are a few basic things we shared with each other.
Actress Dancer Singer
Various part-time jobs – Teaching/ receptionist /Retail
Graduated from Millennium Performing Arts
Want to gain academic knowledge/credibility from this course

Trained at London Studio Centre
Works at a bar/ Training to be a dance teacher and learning to teach syllabus
Trained at Arts Ed performing Arts school from the age of 11 which she found was too young.

Trained at Italia Conti from the age of 13, moved from Birminghm to  London
Teaches Dance at Stage Coach school
Went to college predominately as a dancer/changed to Musical Theatre
Studying – something to fall back on.

It was humbling to find that we all came from similar backgrounds and though we are completely different individuals our paths/choices all seemed to correlate in some way.  We spoke about how we all work ‘in between’ jobs to sustain ourselves and how we felt we are often acting/committing to  different roles each day eg one day I’m a receptionist, one day I’m a waitress, then a Bar Maid etc (something a lot of people in ‘normal jobs’ would not find easy to do) and we somehow learn how to multi role so well!  I believe our drive and determination to do what we love is what allows us to do this.

What do YOU do?
Through further analysis another issue we touched on was being able to explain what we do as a profession  to our best ability.
We spoke about how often when people ask us what we do we shy away from the question maybe due to feeling we may be judged, feeling our job is insignificant compared to what they do..or simply not being able to fine tune what it is that we do into a clear and concise manner.

How we over came this
We spoke in a group about our aspirations as Actress , Dancer, Playwright etc
We listed our jobs that we do to sustain ourselves.. Receptionist, teacher, retail worker
We spoke of general life  goals and achievements we have in mind.

I found the key is being able to speak about the skills you have positively.
If  you speak confidently (without arrogance) positively and charismatically about what you do these feelings will radiate through to the people you are talking to who in turn will be able to appreciate the sense of pride and certainty that you have for your chosen profession.
When networking it is very important to be able to be able to talk about yourself and leave the other person feeling good after speaking with you. The Performing  Arts  circle is a small one so Its important to make a good impression at all times!!  The profession is also hard due to lack of jobs, government arts cuts etc (we all know how painful this is!!)But when we are networking don’t want any of this resonating and bringing us down and making us sound dreary and dry!
When asked  What do you do ?I can now reply:
I’m a Performing Artist, I graduated from Millenium Performing Arts 2yrs ago. Since then I’ve been involved in various Commercial Dance work , I’ve also filmed various adverts and most recently I  was in a Play for 3 months in central London. I aspire to be An extremely successful Actress so I am auditioning whilst I work part time for Virgin Active where in administration and also I teach Zumba classes. I have a passion for teaching which I also get to exercise at ‘ The Funky Chick Academy’ where I teach Acting Singing and Street dance to kids AGE 3 – 16.  I am currently studying for a degree in performance practise at Mdx University. This is aiding my growth as an all round forward thinking artist.  Achieving a The BA honours degree is important to me in terms of creating future opportunities that may be open to me when becoming a graduate. I’m hoping for a big break soon but whilst I search and wait I have plenty of things to keep me focused through which are challenging me everyday
So obviously I would make this conversational and not just one big rehearsed paragraph!!! But the point I’m trying to make is that I would once hesitate when asked this question thinking I didn’t have anything creditable to turns out I have lots!!! J

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Planning Ahead!!!

Hi Guys I’ve been  feeling a little stressed at this past month so thought I would blog about it as  I  feel my worries and anxietys are issue that many of you will be able to relate to in some way...
I have recently finished a long acting contract so I was in the transitional period of changing jobs/getting work. As normal, as my contract neared an end I tried to secure as much part-time work as possible for once my Job contract had ended..However I was unsuccessful in securing anything. Since then I have been working a few odd promotional jobs and a few commercials, tv extra work  and commercial dance jobs but as we all know we don’t receive payment for such jobs for up to 3 months+ after the job!! I can honestly say these last couple of months have been the hardest months I have had to experience since devoting my life to my profession. Lack of funds has affected me in so many ways –professionally – not having the money to travel to performance Jobs I   was offered, not being able to do dance class or acting or singing lessons to perfect my craft, socially- not being able to engage in social activities like dinner, drinks with friends..:( All of these issues combined put a great strain on me mentally wish eventually affected me physically as well
I am a very pro active individual, always busy and focused. During my time of struggle I have been unable to focus on important things in my life as much as I should e.g this course..contacting agents..building my profile as a performer. I have been feeling very low and I’ve found this affected my motivation in ways that I could never have imagined. After great resistance concluded my only option was to go on the doll (receiving job seekers allowance) I never thought I would be in such a position, but I figured the government have created the scheme for people like me so as a tax payer I am entitled to seek help in times of need. I then learned that I would have been in a much greater position had I applied for this assistance much earlier. I also applied for support from my local council to pay my rent as I was payments behind with no income. They were very supportive
I had my first appointment two weeks ago and received a payment of which was very minimal but helped all the same.  I explained to my tutor how I have been looking for work relentlessly and have been unsuccessful and this is of course an extremely common issue in these times of our countrys financial predicament. Luckily last week I attended an interview at Virgin Active gym and was successful in securing the job (finally!!)I was extremely happy as this means regular income allowing me to clear accumulated debts, pay rent and also I get free gym membership (major bonus for me) :D
The main thing I have gained from this experience is the importance of budgeting and being way ahead of the game. I assumed that  with all my qualifications and experience getting a part time job would be so easy but I was so wrong. In our profession in particular we have to be extremely organised as the inconsistency of work can lead to big problems if we do not prepare efficiently. I just wanted to make sure people were aware of the services the government can aid us with if you are ever in financial trouble. As an actress dancer, I did not know I was entitled to this if I had known I would have applied as soon as I began looking for work and saved myself so much stress! I have now removed myself from the benefits scheme but it is important for people to know what is accessible to them in desperate times, I was so unaware so I hope this helps some of you!
 I am very happy in my new job and can now focus on my course and my career. I look forward to securing my next acting/dance contract in the near future and insuring I never get into such a position again !!