'Those with something to fall back on invariably fall back on it. They intended to all along. That is why they provided themselves with it . . . One could say, '"I am a fool, for I have not provided myself with an alternative"; one could also say, "I see nothing else worth my time," which is, I think, a rather strengthening attitude. Those of you with nothing to fall back on, you will find, are home.' - David Mamet
“The technique of any art is sometimes apt to dampen, as it were, the spark of inspiration in a mediocre artist; but the same technique in the hands of a master can fan that spark into an unquenchable flame.” -- Josef Jasser
Slowly we are being given meetings and workshops on the Industry. Our first task is to get new head shots then sign up to Spotlight. Headshots are hard. You don't want to pose you want to be yourself, but you don't want to look bored and you don't want to look like you're trying too hard. My new headshot is above. What you think? Not all my photos have been touched up yet but im happy with the result, I look like something is going on at least. And mainly because the chap who took mine was so fairly priced and used to be a Central student so was really easy to get along with. I can't reccommend him highly enough. Check him out:
Heres one more which I really like the look of. Its my face! What do we think? Who would you cast me as?
The intensive finished and we are coming into the fourth week of classes. Briefly, we have been learning mask, storytelling, Stanislavski, Chekhov, cultural materialism, period dance, stage combat alongside our regular voice and movement classes.
The classes are demanding and thought provoking. The teachers are world class, inspiring and constantly excited about their topic. And not just the teachers but my 14 fellow students. I have felt so inspired by each of them on different days and in different ways. We support and nuture each other, we are truly starting to feel like an ensemble. "you are only as strong as your weakest person". This rings true and is always a reminder it is not about just "I".
I have cried once or twice and failed on an almost daily basis. This is the best thing about Central. They encourage you to risk and work to your boundaries then surpass them. Trip and miss them everyday but keep pushing, keep failing aka discovering, every day. In and out of class. Its an exploration I hope to keep with me all through the year and beyond.
Unlike a BA Acting course here, part of the MA Acting course includes being able to work alone and the ability to manage your time and use of it outside of class. This includes organising your own rehearsals, reading (there is so much to read!) and beginning to create your own daily vocal and physical practices. This structure of the course I really enjoy and personally it helps me to work in a self motivated and driven mode. Not everything is handed to you ever! Im writing this so any people considering applying,understand the difference between the two courses. The MA is designed to enhance and teach those who are ready to work on their own initiative and who have either already a degree in performing or relevant experience. This course does to an extent hold your hand and does push you. But the teachers will only be able to push you and demand more from you if you are ready and willing to demand more from yourself.
Spent my hangover today making these for all the amazing people who donated to help pay tuition fees. Whose gonna get one? :)
Happy Sunday x
Our Russian Movement teacher likes to remind us whilst holding what is an attempt at a split for 5 minutes.
3 weeks into drama school and I feel so wonderful. I feel more confident and excited than I have done in 3 years. I feel alive and awake and like my past is at last just that, and I am still a good person, talented and unique. My fears and self judgements are not. Everyone does it regardless "I've no experience" "the teacher slated me" " I don't know what I'm doing". Or in my case I know what I'm doing just scarred by an industry that can tear you apart for being yourself and theres no one to argue with about it except yourself. I finally feel liberated of my self doubts. I believe I will be better than what I am and I deserve my place at central to try and achieve that.
That's all us artists do.
Because that's what and who we are and I personally will never try to convince myself otherwise, ever again.
I will be waffling for the rest of my life.
On a more practical note, 3 weeks has involved some of the following:
Playing with a shoe
Dirty dancing lifts
I'll let you make of that what you will
Our Shakespeare teacher is ridiculously knowledgeable and passionate. He is demanding and makes you feel as though you cant find the switch to where your brain should be and on the rare occasion when you do its like you have won an mini, personal Oscar.
He scares the shit out of me.
Bring on the next lesson.
The deadline for making the payment of £16,500 for this course is the 1st of September. Its the 29th of August. If its not made by then - your place, your treasured place of 1 of 30, from around 3000 will be offered to someone on the 30 person waiting list. Who, no doubt, have been saving all year to make the payment at the drop of the phone call by cheque or bank transfer - why yes! which would you prefer?
I have still not made the payment.
Not because I love the thrill of uncertainty, but because I dont have it yet. £16,500 is more money than I have ever hoped to earn in a year let alone possessed in my bank account. When I first applied the tuition fees were headlined clearly in bold italics to remind me of what was expected to pay upon offer of a place. I thought, just get a place first, then worry about that. Hurrah, I am offered a place. Just apply for the AHRC grant and lots of other grants, then worry about asking the bank for money. Oh look, I didn't get the grants, I'll apply to the Career Development Loan and ask my uncle for the rest. Worry about paying it back when I get it. Uh-oh, the bank didn't approve my application and my uncle doesn't have "the rest". I am out of options. I'm not going to Central, my heart is broken and I am angry, frustrated and deflated.
"Why dont you ask for donations Ellie? Write to people? You cant give up. "
"Emma, its sixteen thousand pounds. I dont think my mates would have £16 to spare at the moment."
"You have to try."
"You're an idiot. Do it."
So I did it. I made a website, got in the local press and facebooked the hell out of my plea. Along with all of this, some very generous donations from my friends, family, people who I now wish to call my family! along with the amazing act of my parents - extending a mortgage by £10k (which I will be paying back for the next 5 years), I have raised enough to pay my fees. I am going. I just have to make this payment. My parents mortgage hasn't come into the bank yet hence the waiting.
Its been a sickening, long and exhausting trial but I know it will be worth it. I questioned before applying for a very long time about the excessive cost of the tuition fees. Are they worth it? What is the worth? £16k can buy a lot and allow you to do a lot of other things. A mortgage, a round the world ticket. But what would I do with a house? Sit underneath its tiles and gaze at my new table covers whilst day dreaming of what I could have done with my career. Travel to Peru, China and India telling myself all this culture an experience is filling the stage shaped hole inside. Nothing. Nothing else in the world means more to me than respecting my craft and myself enough to train my voice and body, expanding my skill, my abilities, my dreams and my career. Acting is the only thing I have ever been sure of and really known. And I have to remember why I applied to this school, no other school, this course in the first place. Its world renowned, its relevant and exciting. I just hope they can give me back as much as I am going to give them. And I'm not even talking about the money.