We're a fair few chocolates into the advent calendar by now, and we've started feeling rather festive here at FlairBox.
You might've heard that we're offering you 30 days of free Premium Membership when you refer a friend to FlairBox. Because, y'know, Christmas is all about the giving and the receiving of gifts. Just visit your profile, click 'Get Premium Free' and decide which of your friends has been naughty or nice this year...
Elsewhere, we've been reflecting on our story so far, and how many people we've already helped get discovered on FlairBox. We built our Digital Stage after speaking to hundreds of industry experts and actors like yourself. And we've realised we have so much more wisdom to share with you from that period of consultation.
So, without further ado, it's time to chuck on some Bublé, pop open the tin of Quality Streets, and gorge yourself upon our FlairBox Christmas Hamper: jam-packed with resources for actors in 2021.
Actors Pro Expo
Actors Pro Expo was set up by actors, for actors. Sound familiar? They're exactly what we're about at FlairBox, and we're thrilled to be sharing them in our wholesome hamper this Christmas.
You've probably heard of Actors Pro Expo (formerly Surviving Actors) already, as we're always coming across them and their industry-leading events. Speaking of which: they're hosting a virtual event in February (11th to the 13th; 13:30 - 18:30 GMT) which we really encourage you all to take part in. This is the second online-only exposition they've hosted; the first featured videos, photos, on-demand meet-ups, live Q&As, polls, discussions, downloadable resources & games. We're excited for more of the same in February.
As well as hosting genuinely useful events, organisers Felicity Jackson & Lianne Robertson are also co-authors of Surviving Actors Manual. When lockdowns lift, Felicity and Lianne tell us they hope to get back to planning live networking events again - in London, New York and LA.
We can't mention Felicity and Lianne's book without also loading the FlairBox Christmas Hamper with a few more literary treats.
Even in these covid-coloured times, Yuletide is an opportunitiy to put your feet up by the fireplace (we use this one), peel open a good book, and absent-mindedly empty the box of After Eights. Here's what you ought to be reading:
❏ All the Sonnets of Shakespeare ed. by Paul Edmondson & Stanley Wells. The bard was also a hell of a poet. These will make perfect performance pieces this winter.
❏ The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth. A seriously handy book on why certain phrases please our ears - from "To be, or not to be?" to "Bond, James Bond."
❏ The Art of Character by David Corbett. Timeless tips on what makes a compelling character. It's aimed at writers, but we found it massively instructive.
Right, back to the digital world for this one - a handy little resource which blew our puny little minds when we were first shown it.
Most actors and industry professionals are on Twitter. Most follow each other. Most follow too many people to actually guarantee access to the information - castings, webinars, industry news - that they took to Twitter for in the first place.
So when we were introduced to TweetDeck, peace and order were restored to the universe. On TweetDeck, you can organise the industry VIPs you follow into lists, and check up on those lists, instead of scrolling aimlessly on Twitter. You can make lists of casting professionals, theatre directors, Hollywood reporters, or playwrights and their critics - anything that'll help you spot roles, opportunities, and gossip that bit quicker.
Run by Atypical actor Wendy Braun, Actor Inspiration is one of our favourite resources for helping you visualise success. Sound strange? Just check out her website's roll-call of successful actors who've benefitted from Wendy's guided meditation and holistic career advice. It helps that you're getting advice from someone who's already decidedly made it in acting.
We spoke to Wendy not too long ago, and it's fair to say she's also in the Christmas spirit: she's made her checklist for self-tapes free for FlairBox magazine readers. It's worth exploring all of the pages on Actor Inspiration: we're particularly fond of Wendy's #SuccessBreakthrough stories, which sees her put acting acquaintances in the hot seat, finding out how they achieved their Big Break.
If you're a fan of podcasts, The 98 Percent Pod is for you. Alexa Morden and Katie Elin-Salt bring the dreaded #ActorsLife to the airwaves with plenty of tips and tricks from guests along the way. Two actors chatting about being an actor, it's that simple but entertaining and humerous in equal measure. Now that tier 3 is upon most of us, the podcast itches the scratch of chatting to some fellow thespians every now and again too. To be honest, if you're not a fan of podcasts, you will be once you've listened.
Wendy's generosity has got us feeling all warm, fuzzy, and Biblical. As such, we've taken the liberty of imagining what Three Kings would bring to a swaddled young actor - in, say, Peckham Rye - 2,020 years after Jesus' birth.
❏ Not Gold, but a Neewer Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Digital Camera Video Light, of course! A must-have if you want your self-tapes to look stunning.
❏ Not Frankincense, but an AmazonBasics Lightweight Tripod with Bag. No more wonky videos - plus, now you can film out and about and not just in your room.
❏ Not Myrrh, but a year's subscription to FlairBox. We have a hunch that this would be the baby actor's favourite gift - but that's probably not for us to say...
Before you ask: yes, all three would make excellent gifts from you to you. Oh, and keep an eye on this months #SceneShare on Twitter as all of the above will be up for grabs in our ultimate self tape kit for the best entry. That's on top of the usual publicity with industry professionals that our monthly winners get.
With a name like B.A.B.E, you're expecting a resource aimed towards female actors. And to some extent it is - with a bundle of useful advice for women in an industry that's often rightly accused of gender bias and discrimination. We love the frankness of some of the B.A.B.E blog posts - about the trials and tribulations of being both an actor and a mother. We're sure some of you can relate.
Taken together, B.A.B.E makes for an inspiring and handy resource for male and female actors - because of the brilliant resources that the website's curator, Angela Peters, has drawn together. Angela also offers mentoring for up-and-coming actors, an insightful ebook, and a cheatsheet for acting auditions which we've found instructive in the past.
The Actors Company
We've been super-impressed by the events, workshops, and classes hosted by The Actors Company in the past. They've kept things going during lockdown with online-only events, but you can expect some seriously engaging classes - the majority of which are hosted in London - when lockdown lifts for good. If you're feeling a little rusty and cabin-fever-deranged, a class with The Actors Company will see you right in 2021.
You can check out new listings of classes here; or, if you just want to know each time they host a different class, it's well worth signing up to their newsletter.
The Actors Centre
Our friends at The Actors Centre have been adjusting to lockdown too. Ordinarily, they host possibly the best masterclasses and workshops for actors in London - helping with everything from writing to voicework. We joined forces with the folks at The Actors Centre for a remote Castathon back in November which, despite everything, felt utterly professional, welcoming, and helpful.
The Actors Centre run their classes - as well as a jam-packed programme of theatrical performances - out of the Tristan Bates Theatre. Expect them to come back with more verve and gusto than ever in 2021. In the meantime, do check out their online interview series with British stars, called 'The Actors Centre Meets'.
Watch this space, too - we're in discussions with The Centre about another collaboration in early 2021. You'll all be invited!
One of our prime motivations, when we set about creating FlairBox, was to build a space for actors to connect, communicate, and collaborate - to admire one another's work, and to get inspired by thousands of actors' performances on our Digital Stage.
We're still developing some of the features that'll really make our community buzz with support and advice. In the meantime, plenty of the actors we've spoken to have told us they love Reddit's Acting page. People on the subreddit are generally supportive, insightful, and funny - and if you're in a rush, you can just search 'Top' posts to see which threads have proven most popular with your fellow thespians.
Finally, we wanted to include some video content creators in our list - and straight away, we knew where to go. You can find StageMilk on YouTube, and they also have their own dedicated website, which hosts more written material.
We've found these guys indispensable during the recent months of lockdown - they always find a way to pick you up, school you up, and sharpen you up. By concentrating on the art of acting rather than the business of acting, StageMilk feels wholesome, trustworthy, and motivated by all the right things. When you talk to as many young actors as we do, you realise just how much love there is for StageMilk and their videos.