Saturday, 3 January 2015

Book Thoughts

One challenge I always feel I face with being an untrained actor is having some sort of technique or guidance, as it were, to make sure I'm ticking the necessary (if not basic) boxes to get me through an acting scenario. Be it an audition or a play etc. 

I have brought quite a few books over the years, Stanislavsky, Uta Hagen among others, some of which bored me to death upon opening, some contained tasks that proved difficult to do or indeed practice alone. After hearing of her book for a while and seeing quite positive reviews I decided to purchase Dee Cannon's book; In-depth Acting, and boy am I glad I did. Dee has been working in the industry for years, (here is a link to her WEBSITE, she also does some workshops and coaching) so she definitely knows what she is writing about. 

What I love about her book is that it is not intimidating, she was a tutor at one of the top drama schools in England and I will admit that did worry me initially about purchasing it. She is so used to teaching such talented people that I believed her book would be some sort of elite extension for them once they graduated. 
How I was wrong!
Dee's book is amazing, it is clear, precise and encouraging. I go back to her book whenever I need some pointers before an audition but what I think is important for someone like me who has not trained is to look at it regularly. Using fictitious jobs if need be, just to put into practice what her book teaches. I cannot tell you the amount of times I honestly felt enlightened about things that I was reading, things that I guess to some would be obvious, but to me I was hearing for the first time. 
I had an audition for something once and never before in my life had I felt prepared and confident in what I was doing until In-depth Acting, I took the book and script away with me to Thailand and on my free days sat there using it and the script to put into practice what I was learning. I didn't get the role in the end but boy oh boy was I proud of myself, and I couldn't believe how confident I felt. 

If you do decided to get the book (which I highly suggest) buy the paper version and carry it with you at all times, highlight, crease pages, scribble notes in the margins etc. But if your funds allow it, get the Kindle version as well which I have also, it's a nice back up to have and lighter than carrying the book as well. 

I would give In-depth Acting a 10/10, it has given me a confidence and a basic technique that I could not afford to pay for with regular classes at the moment. 

Buy from HERE and HERE


Just so you know, I have never been taught, nor have I met Dee. I feel as though my gushing and love of her book may seem as if I do, but all my love for In-depth Acting has merely come from the writings of a talented tutor.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Hackney Volpone rehearsals

Rehearsals are in full swing and opening night is tomorrow :-O (23/07/14), here are some of the pictures taken during the community cast rehearsals by Stefan Lacandler (click HERE to find out about more of his work).

Roberta, Anna, Keon, Carol, Mel

Anna, Keon, Carol, Mel

Keon, Carol, Mel

Brian, Ali, Steve

Elspeth, Roberta, Carol, Mel, Anna, Keon

All photo's: Sfefan Lacandler

Mel X

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Hackney Vopone, or The Fox

I'm currently in rehearsals for 'The Hackney Volpone, or The Fox' by NYLon Projects at the Rose Lipman Building from 23rd July- 9th August. I'm a community actor who makes up the ensemble. Cast and crew take it in turns to write a blog post for the website. The link to my entry is here: The Hackney Volpone blogpost. It went up on the 11th July and it is called 'creating characters' . Do take a look at what the other members of the production have written too. :-)

Have a great day.

Mel X

Friday, 11 July 2014

Discounted Theatre tickets for under 30's

As they say,
when the age is in, the wit is out.
Much Ago About Nothing (3.5.31-2)

Ok I know i'm not that bad but hear me out. When you want to be an actor especially if like me you are interested in stage acting, then going to the theatre is non negotiable. Now while I was a certain age, there were so many theatres that provided discounted tickets. The National Theatre, Old Vic, Barbican, Young Vic among others. Now i'm older...not so much. 

While I was on twitter the other day I came across the following article that had a breakdown of some ticket discounts you can get while you're still young and a couple you can get when you are older. Have a look and sign up to any that take your fancy. I think it's an awesome way to get involved in going to the theatre especially if you are new to it.

What's On Stage cheap tickets 

Hope this helps. 

Mel X

Ps. for any American readers I had a little Google session and came across this: Broadway ,now because I'm from the UK I cannot vouch for this, I just saw it and thought it would be of interest. Because the UK is so small in comparison to y'all ( just being an honorary American for a moment) I know there would be many different theatres in all your States. The best thing would be to ring up your local theatres and ask if they have any schemes/discounts for Under 25's and Under 30's. xx

Pss. Europe and the rest of the world. Please do the same, call around and find out what's available to you. If you are within the age bracket, you're entitled to it. xx

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Some people LOVE being all over the web, facebook, twitter, instagram what else? Some people HATE it! One thing I am learning however is, as an actor it is good to get yourself on a structured amount of platforms as you can.

When I say structured I mean:

Spotlight/CastingcallPro- For acting jobs (the latter is a bit more social)
Twitter/Facebook- If you are usually against these platforms then use it only professionally, have your headshot as your profile picture, connect with like minded people and follow arts related pages.

This is already four sites and may seem a lot however its broadening your network and allowing you to get a larger view on what is going on in the business. 

So why another? Why Ideastap?

On their website they market themselves as being:

IdeasTap is an arts charity for young, creative people at the start of their careers.
Whether it’s funding, jobs, career development, advice or creative collaborators you need, we can help – whatever your discipline. We work with major arts organisations to bring our members incredible, exclusive opportunities – from commissions to competitions, funding to training.
Did we mention that membership is free?

They help with funding, they have opportunities in the shape of their Spa (no aromatherapy oils in sight!) or briefs, access to creative space there is a dedicated jobs board with listings from all over the country and all disciplines, and so much more i'm not kidding you really should check it out!

IdeasTap is NOT just for actors, when i'm on the site which is literally nearly every day, I'm always coming across opportunities for dancers, photographers, writers (stage and screen) among others. It really is a pot at the end of the rainbow for us arts-y folk. 

If you are still not convinced have a look at the website, join up for FREE to gain full access have a look around, look for and 'connect' with friends, sign up to the free activities going on at the spa and try it out. You'll either love it or hate it but i'm sure it will be all love. 

If you want a friend when you sign up you are more than welcome to 'connect' with me, I don't get anything from it, i'm lol (click MB ).

Mel xx

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Epic Stages


I've been thinking what to write next for this blog because I don't want it just to be full of random ramblings. Well at least not yet anyway. :-)

I have some news which I have been somewhat reluctant to talk about as I'm still not 100% sure if I can do it.

Early this month I found out I got into the National Youth Theatre's first ever Epic Stages course. I cannot even explain to you how excited this news was to me, especially as I decided to make 2013 the year that I 'put myself out there', and to actually get a yes was amazing.

Now I'm sure you're probably thinking err shouldn't you be happy? 

Well fear not, I am :-) what's bothering me is the fact that I can't afford it. The course is £2000 to some people that may not be much, and if that's the case that honestly is great to know you would not be stressing the way I am, but to me... boy is that a lot. What makes it worse I was gratefully awarded a £1000 bursary from them and I STILL can't afford it! (oh boy if I ever make it in this business I would make it my AIM to sponsor as many young people as I can because this is noooo joke). By the way, my student loans company (UK) sent me my statement (not drama school a regular uni course) let's just say the 5 figure sum I owe really has opened my eyes to how far removed I feel from achieving my goal sometimes.

I'm in the middle of setting up a crowd funding website because that and some of the emails I have sent out is the only way I hope to fund that money ( I dread to think my very first yes, will turn into an earth shattering no if I don't manage to).

Anyway, none the less I am very, very happy about the course. I was not going to mention it until I knew I had the funds but right now the only thing that is stopping me from stressing out (I have been up at around 5 am these past few days through worry) is shouting it from the rooftops and being proud of myself.

If I do manage to raise my funds I'll be sure to write a post on how I did it.

Much love and have a good day

Mel x

Friday, 24 May 2013

The Mono Box


I decided to write this post about a new-ish company
 which I feel quite literally saved my life. Now this may sound a little extreme, but in all honesty it is true. This company is called The Mono Box . Founded by two lovely ladies who work in the industry Polly Bennett and Joan Iyiola. The Mono Box is a collection of plays donated by industry professionals including Directors and Actors, which has created a sort of mini- library for us Actor lot. The company opened it's doors late last year (hence my new-ish above), I was scheduled to attend the very first day but I unfortunately couldn't make it. Naughty me (slap hand hehe), but I immediately signed up for the second one. I didn't quite know what to expect if I'm honest. On twitter and facebook it was sold as if you were in need of an audition speech you should book a place (it's not a drop in, which I think is a good idea because they are getting very, very popular).
The first time I went Ella Hickson (Eight, Boys), Vanessa Kirby (Great Expectations, Labyrinth) and Helen Sorren were the guest speakers.
When you get there you register and pay your fee (it's not expensive, they need to keep it running, but it's so awesome you won't mind). You can chat for a bit with all the other actors that have come along (as long as you're not late), when the session started we had a introduction from Polly, Joan (who is lovely and has such a kindness about her) was away rehearsing for a play (she was there the second time I went), Polly is so nice and sweet but most importantly fun. I've been to places such as some of the top theatre book shops and I just feel like I can't relax there or ask for help, I don't feel like I can't approach anyone. Here however, everyone makes you feel welcome and at ease. She's what I would call a 'right nutter' haha she told us a few stories about her past that were very much a LOL moment especially an audition she had at NYT years ago.
The Q and A starts, the industry professionals are introduced and then they are asked a few questions by Polly and Joan after which the floor is opened to all us eager eyed budding actors. Both times I have not asked a question. I know sometimes you feel as though you should in these situations but I hate forcing myself to create a question that has not come naturally. I 'd rather ask something if I really had a query, not just for the sake of it. Sometimes from just being silent you can learn a lot from the questions other people ask. Some answers I have known already, others I've whipped out my pen and got note taking because It's a serious sunlight through parting clouds moment. 
If I can remember correctly I think this part lasts roughly an hour after which we are divided into two groups to browse the plays, what I LOVE about it is that 90% of the plays have been marked with a coloured sticky note type thing (you know the really thin ones) showing where a speech is within the play and most of the time it can indicate what gender. They make it clear to look, not just at the speech but sit down and have a read of a few pages to get the feel of it. If you find something that you like hand over the page with the speech and they photocopy it for you and you can take your newly obtained speech home. It would be a good idea to purchase the full play in your own time, you can get them inexpensively on Amazon or Ebay etc. 

I intend to go again because it really has been a blessing for me, I think especially if you have not been to drama school it would be a good idea to go at least twice. Unless you're an avid reader you may not be as likely to have a set mini library  in your 'actor brain' of plays as I assume you would when you train.

To sign up to their next Mono Box session or for general enquires click on their website below and send them and email under contact, or find them on twitter. 

Click us:

The Mono Box

Polly Bennett

The Mono Box Twitter        

The Mono Box Facebook

p.s. My advice would be to go at least twice 1st time to focus on finding a modern speech, the 2nd time to find a classical one.

Mel x