An Actor's Year in Review: 2020
Time's been a bit funny this year, hasn't it? Still, we've been assured by the time barons up at the Royal Greenwich Observatory that a year has indeed passed since the London Eye last fizzed with fireworks at midnight.
For some of us it's been an endless Groundhog Day of a year, filled by furlough and frozen contracts; remote working and Zoom auditioning. For others, the year's rushed by in an avalanche of new opportunities and new media.
It's definitely been a year worth reflecting upon. That's why, in this article, we've picked out a major item of FlairBox news, acting news, and coronavirus news for each month of 2020. It's the perfect round-up for actors looking to process the events of a very unique year.
We start the year by recruiting advisors and technical superstars to help design our casting platform. FlairBox begins transforming from an idea into a reality. Our mission, to create the best app for finding acting jobs in the UK, is underway.
If you cast your mind back far enough, you might be able to recall that Ricky Gervais returned to host the Golden Globes back in January. Here are the best bits.
Something called COVID-19 is starting to creep onto the front pages of newspapers. On the news are images of a Chinese city in lockdown. Everyone's thinking: thank goodness that's not us.
Designs are being drawn up for FlairBox. We've started developing the idea with a few casting directors, so that we're creating a casting app that suits their needs. We're finalising the features we want the platform to have.
Parasite wins four Oscars, including Best Picture. It's the first non-English language film in history to pick up the night's biggest prize. The "brilliantly brutal" masterpiece of social commentary is now available to watch online.
This COVID-19 business isn't getting any better. Cruise ships are turning into floating prisons. Some cases have been recorded in the UK, too. Face masks start being sold in newsagents. The UK keeps calm and carries on.
We find an incredible developer in our CTO Peter Hickling - and the ball really starts rolling. Our app for actors, by actors - helping you get seen, cast, and celebrated - begins to take shape.
Harvey Weinstein is sentenced to 23 years in prison for sex crimes. It's a huge victory for the #MeToo movement, and a big step in the right direction for Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole.
After some dithering and delay, the UK is placed under national lockdown on March 16th. Life, for 67 million Brits, changes overnight.
It's one of the most exciting months of the year as FlairBox starts to materialise before our eyes. We spoke to hundreds of actors and dozens of casting directors and agents to make sure our casting platform for UK actors would be a market leader come launch day.
If you aren't tweeting about what Carole Baskin feeds her big cats, you're reduced to a spectator this month. Conspiratorial Zoom gossip flies right over your head until May. Elsewhere, BBC Three has its best ever week on iPlayer when over 16 million people tune in for the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's debut novel Normal People.
The UK unveils a number of 'Nightingale' emergency hospitals, created in less than a month. At 8:00pm every Thursday night, most of the country is by the window, clapping for the NHS.
Our first Magazine article is published, introducing FlairBox to actors looking for roles, casting directors looking for actors, and agents looking for both. We're starting to get dead excited for our test launch next month.
The scale of pain in the entertainment industry is becoming clearer. Tens of thousands have lost jobs in the US and the UK. Casting is happening - but it's remote, on digital casting platforms for actors.
Coronavirus is no longer the biggest story in the world: George Floyd is. There are protests against racism across the world, including several British cities. Institutions of all kinds - including in our industry - begin introspecting. Access and inclusivity in acting begins to trend.
Our incredible CTO Peter Hickling puts the final touches on the FlairBox app. Our app for actors is ready for testing. Some 350 actors take part in our initial launch, and their feedback helps us perfect the world's newest and best casting platform.
We publish our interview with inspirational B.A.M.E. founder Suraj Shah. Saraj is focussed on providing opportunities for actors from under-represented backgrounds to get cast in the UK. Like FlairBox, he's aiming to get actors cast by sharing roles exclusively with his group. Later in the month, we share Rob and Elliot's top tips for self-tape success.
News is filtering through into the media from a number of vaccine development firms. There's Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna - all in final stage trials. The race to supply an effective vaccine is on the final straight.
This month's post in FlairBox Magazine is an interview with Andy Nyman, author of the timeless and essential acting tips book The Golden Rules of Acting. Andy's advice is first-class: the best tips for actors we can find.
Race remains centre stage for the film industry as protests against racism continue across the UK. In July, a landmark report shows how the BFI could be doing better to address racism. The BFI responds positively, urging the industry to enact change.
Things in the UK are starting to feel far more normal. It's a hot summer. There are masks, but lockdown is pretty much over, and we're all seeing friends and family again.
We're talking with hundreds of actors and casting professionals. We keep hearing how difficult it is to stay creative with so many institutions closed and classes called off. We publish our Guide to Staying Creative to keep spirits up.
The first film to hit cinemas since early March is released: Christopher Nolan's Tenet. It's Nolan's rallying cry for film-lovers and cinema buffs. Despite everything, it nets $300m at the box office - though the majority of that is made in China.
Well, it looks like China's pretty much back to normal after the coronavirus. Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, holds a pool party. It makes front pages around the world.
We're getting really, really close to launch day now. Our fantastic group of 350 trial actors have delivered their feedback. Our actors casting app is being perfected behind the scenes. Our digital launch beckons in early October.
Borat 2 emerges out of nowhere. The film includes the outbreak of COVID-19, which changed the direction of Sacha Baron-Cohen's sequel to the 2006 hit.
Most restaurants are continuing Rishi Sunak's Eat Out to Help Out scheme into the Autumn. Spring's lockdown feels a world away, even though the whole dining out experience has changed dramatically since March.
FlairBox is officially launched - finally, a platform designed to #LetTalentTalk. We're dazzled by the response: the FlairBox Story is entering a new chapter, with actors joining our casting app in their hundreds, and casting directors sending out casting calling notifications from the get-go. We make sure you know what you're doing by sharing our crucial Guide to Being Discovered on FlairBox.
The Cineworld Group of cinemas and movie theatres announces a huge cut-back, closing hundreds of venues across the UK and the US. It's a blow to the box office - but streaming is waiting to step into the space left behind by Cineworld.
Donald Trump tests positive for COVID-19. The world watches anxiously. The President recovers and is back on the White House balcony by the end of the month.
At FlairBox, we're watching as your self-tapes and clips flood onto FlairBox. It's becoming a place for actors to share their talent and get cast online. In November, we also start transforming FlairBox Magazine into a high-quality industry journal - with tips for actors and news for actors released each week. Plus, we host a Castathon with our friends at The Actors Centre. It's a huge success.
Wrexham Supporter's Trust officially back the football club's takeover by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) and Rob McElhenney (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia). The Hollywood pair are reportedly looking forward to making the North Wales team a "global force." Fantastic.
England is back under lockdown, and stricter measures are introduced in Scotland and Wales, too. Looks like we're in for a rough winter.
Our end of year sale is on until Monday 4th January - reducing Premium Membership to only £3.99 a month. We close the year with over 1,000 actors on FlairBox. Over 100 of you receive a self-tape request in December - that means 10% of you impressed our casting directors in December alone!
Wonder Woman 1984 is released online: it quickly becomes 2020's top streaming release. For certain industry experts, this kind of stream-only release is a sign of things to come. Warner Bros will be releasing their entire slate for stream only in 2021.
Despite William Shakespeare getting his coronavirus vaccine, it's a rough Christmas and New Year period for the majority of Brits. Many are celebrating alone, or away from family. We prescribe lots of wholesome telly and films. We're all looking forward to a brighter 2021.
Happy New Year
There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful about the turning of a new year.
We learned a lot from this IndieWire post on diversity, which has some positive things to say about the future. Entrepreneur also published a hopeful article about the business behind films: apparently, the boom in streaming is set to keep studios very much alive.
Some of 2020's most highly-anticipated films, delayed by the pandemic, are all due for release in the first months of 2021, too.
And FlairBox has plenty lined up for all of you in 2021, including dozens more UK casting calls, Hollywood casting for actors, and a raft of new content for you from FlairBox Magazine.
For now: keep posting those self-tape clips, keep auditioning, and keep positive. We're sure it's going to be a brilliant year.