We've been talking to thousands of actors over the past 6 months, and a universal problem is, of course, that there are very few opportunities to work at the minute. While we actors are accustomed to prolonged periods without work, it's easy to slip into despondency when there aren't any opportunities to audition.
As frustrating as this time is, it also offers the perfect opportunity to expand our horizons as actors - and, indeed, to focus on what's important to our overall wellbeing.
As Andy Nyman so astutely shared in our interview a couple of weeks ago: if you're a happier actor, you'll work more.
Having spoken to so many performers, we wanted to share five of the most inspiring tips we've heard that'll keep your creative juices flowing. - keeping you at the top of your game when that game-changing opportunity does come your way.
1. Watch Live Streams of Plays
From The National Theatre to The Old Vic, there are lots of incredible shows at your fingertips, streaming online while audiences are prevented from heading to the theatre in person. Being exposed to shows - live, or via live stream - will keep you learning and loving your craft.
Some particular favourites have been: NT Live's One Man, Two Governors, The Bridge Theatre's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Soho Theatre's Fleabag. We can't wait to see Andrew Scott in Three Kings by Stephen Beresford as part of The Old Vic's 'In Camera' series. Keep an eye on Whatsonstage.com - they have a great article on all of the shows you can see here.
2. Keep Reading Plays, Scripts & Monologues
As simple as it sounds, it's very easy to get out of good habits during such a difficult time. Doing a scene or monologue once every couple of weeks is the perfect way to stay on top of your acting. Don't be lazy, and make sure you prep each scene and character properly to make the process and outcome as useful refresher, and a novel learning experience.
One big plus at the moment is that many other actors are also looking for someone to act with. If nobody springs to mind for a certain role, hop on social media, and post in groups or tweet to pages (we love connecting actors to one another on Twitter, just tweet us here). Get onto FlairBox to share your best videos - and find like-minded, complementary actors to collaborate with of 'clap' to show your appreciation of their talent!
3. Learn From the Best
Online classes, workshops and lessons can be tough - but the wonderful outcome is that anyone can access acting advice and acting tips from the very best in the world, wherever they are in the world. You simply don't need to be burning through your income to study and perform in London anymore.
Casting directors like Manuel Puro and Sophie Holland run self tape courses and one to one sessions respectively in order to help as many actors as possible. The Actor's Centre have a wonderful online programme of workshops. Flip the problem on its head and take as much as you can from as many incredible casting directors, schools, groups and workshops as possible. They really do want to help you through this time - but it's up to you to make the most of these new, valuable resources.
4. Self Development in Your Personal Life
We all have that one thing we've always said we should do more of. For some people it's yoga, for others it's cooking, horse riding, going to an art gallery, or making model buses out of cardboard buses...
The sudden increase in you spare time during COVID isn't a one-off - there will be other slow periods later in life. How you make the most of them is what matters. Concentrate on your happiness and wellbeing, and try to pick up new skills that could make you perfect for the next big role you spot on FlairBox. Every time you pick up a new skill, you're making yourself that bit easier to cast.
5. Watch More Movies & TV
We know it's not the same watching movies from home - but in what other job can you class watching films or TV shows as 'research'? Getting comfy and chucking on a well-regarded piece of film or television isn't lazy, so long as you're scanning the actors, the filming style, and the script for lessons and learnings.
Find actors that you can learn from, or characters that may challenge you - and give them a watch. Watch more of them in compliations on YouTube. Collapse down a Tom Hardy wormhole if you have to. Immerse yourself in the world of the characters that stimulate you the most. Try them out for size at home, in front of a mirror or a camera. The best of these scenes can pop straight up onto your FlairBox profile - transforming your passion for a character into a casting asset.