Any actor will tell you, getting an audition does not guarantee you the part! Getting the part does not guarantee you a scene that will make the final cut! And making the final cut does not guarantee you that your big moment will ever be seen!!
I have had countless disappointments, set backs, let downs and bare faced false promises and yet I KEEP GOING! It's all one huge learning curve. Yes, at times I take some much needed time away because truth is, acting messes with your head, your heart and really drains you both physically and emotionally. But I stay creative in other ways. I paint portraits and I love it! I write, as you may have gathered from this blog. I'm also working on a couple of scripts of my own and I have a documentary I'm slowly putting together. And I record voice over which is so much fun! All of these things keep my mind sharp and hone my creativity.
I'm a positive person in general. I always try to take positives from every negative situation. Disappointments are part of life but we must move on from them. Making mistakes are part of life but we must learn from them.
Portraying a 15th Century monk in a feature film was one of the most deep and spiritual experiences of my life and yet, here I am, four years on with no talk of a movie release, no footage to share, no reward to be seen. That was a hugely disappointing blow because of what everyone poured into the project. It's quiet ironic that a movie can be one of your biggest disappointments and yet, at the same time, be one of your finest moments, never to be seen.
For those of you wondering what is it like to 'become' someone else for a movie, here is a little insight to my process but first it is important to realise there is no such thing as a right or a wrong way. Each actor will find their own process but here's a little insight to my journey...
I do not believe in switching a character on and off like a light switch. I just cannot do it, nor do I want to. I want to live and breath like that character. Call it method acting if you wish but I do not go around talking like the character in my day to day life. However, inside, I'm certainly overcome by that character. I think like them, I react like them, I feel like them. I threw myself in so deep to that role that my mind & soul genuinely went places I've never been. It's perfectly normal to experience butterflies or nerves on the first day of a shoot, no matter how experienced you may be but this role was very different. I've never arrived on set in such a calm & relaxed manner. I was truly blessed to work with a wonderful director who would testify that there was nothing unusual about finding me alone with my thoughts in the castle church for hours on end in between scenes and I loved it! Peace & tranquillity. I think 'zen' is the perfect word to sum up my state of mind during the entire shoot. Anyway, that's just a little insight to life on the other side of the lens and a little peek into my own preparation for a role that I thoroughly enjoyed and I was incredibly proud of. Whether or not the movie ever sees the light of day... we'll have to wait and see.
I personally don't consider myself a method actor to the extremes of the legendary Daniel Day Lewis but i guess the point I am trying to make is just how deep i throw myself into a character and it does genuinely consume you. Playing the monk made me so relaxed and content it was surreal. The flip side of that character is when I played tough guy 'Ronan' in 'Plan Z' I was incredibly highly strung in the build up to that shoot! I could sense that and needed to give myself a little reality check to take it down a notch a times. Getting into character does mess with your head a little. You tap into every emotion in the book and i do believe it gives you a great sense of understanding of various people from all walks of life. I don't make a conscious decision to behave like my character in my normal day to day life but it absolutely creeps in and I allow it to happen. It's all part of my process and when i arrive on set I'm ready to roll! It's so much more than just learning lines. You need to 'feel' what you're saying. Having the perfect understanding of the scene, the setting and history of your character (which is entirely you're own imagination) makes learning your lines the most natural thing in the world. They simply just fall into place. That's also a sign of a great script writer. Before I arrive on set I have the entire history of my character developed. Where has he come from, what are his character traits, habits, body language. None of it is accidental. I create a life for that character & make him my own. There's a lot of stuff that go unnoticed to an audience but the tiniest details can make the difference between a good performance & a great performance and in the words of the great Robert De Niro- we must always be true to our character.