Featured Friday : Elliot Grove

Welcome back to Featured Friday! I had a very exciting week filming for the Nightriders, some of you may be familiar with from a previous Featured Friday post. I just want to give a special thanks to all that helped out and made that wonderful project happen, I can’t wait to see it progress.

This week I am very excited to introduce Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance Film Festival and BIFA, as this weeks feature. I feel very honoured to have had the pleasure to talk to him and get to share our interview here. As you may know, Raindance Film Festival will be mainly online this year but don’t miss out on streaming some amazing films from 28 Oct. – 7 Nov. and some other events going on worth checking out.

Interview with Elliot Grove

Elliot Grove

What gravitated you towards the film industry, and how did you get your start? 
I am a farm boy from southern Ontario, Canada. I became fascinated by movies when my stick Protestant Amish parents told me that the devil lived in the movie theatre. One day (I was 16) I snuck into the Devil’s house in the small village near where we lived. One only had to pay 99 cent back in those days.I had no idea what a movie was. I was just told never to go to the movie theatre. I paid my money and walked into a large room – a bit like church. Chairs where lined up, facing the front. The curtains opened and the first face of the devil I saw was Lassie Comes Home. I cried like a baby and at the end I rushed up to the screen to see if I could feel the bark or the fur and it was all gone in a twinkling of the eye and I was totally hooked.
I ended up in art school in Toronto where my sculpture teacher got me a short stint with Henry Moore. I am a qualified technician in cine Perdue – list wax bronze casting – the ancient art of the Greeks. After that I got a BBC job s a stage hand and worked on many iconic British TV shows like Monty Python and Dr Who. I then moved back to Toronto in the late 70’s and worked for 9 yers as a scenic artist on many truly horrible movies – ones with words like ’Slime’ Gore” or ‘Massacre’ in the title.
I moved back to London and at a moment of a total low started the festival.

What inspired you to create Raindance Film Festival? 
It was really a thought experiment – can you make a movie with no money? No training? No real film experience? And people I knew like Edgar Wright, like Chris Nolan were all making films for next to nothing, with no training or NY experience. The festival was starts to celebrate their work, and very nearly filed due to the fact that Raindance was considered to be a disruptor by the establishment – and in many way still is.

Besides Covid, what has been your biggest challenges over the years to bring Raindance to what it is today?
I am often asked this question – and the answer is always the same ‘How do you create public awareness and appetite for the independent films we have at Raidance?’ No audience, no box office, no sponsorship and no money. We would have failed years ago hd it not been for the generosity of our patrons, or members, our filmmaker, and most importantly our audience.

What makes a good short film?  Take me to  world I already know and show me something new that makes me a better person, or, take me to a world I do not know and teach me something that makes me a better person.

What do you believe to be the pros and cons of holding the festival this year primarily online? 
Creating a new distribution model in the COVID era is an exciting creative opportunity where artistry, innovation and commerces compete for my attention 24/7

Do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers, especially while trying to navigate the current climate of the industry? 
Its a terrific time to be breaking into the industry because all the big players have been stopped stone cold. And everyone is screaming for content. The opportunity is really quite simple: Make a film/web series/podcast/VR Immersive piece that is so bold fresh and original that no one else has thought of before, and thy will send the limos!

Thank you so much Elliot for joining me on Double-j-creative. To learn more about Raindance visit: https://www.raindance.org/festival/ for more information and the line up for this years festival!

Also, as some of you may know I recently launched a short film project supporting mental health the struggles young dancers face with body image and eating disorders. If you are interested to learn more or would like to support us and the film please visit our funding page :

https://igg.me/at/physiquefilm/x/23090417#/

If you like my blog be sure to like and subscribe. Get in touch if you want a feature!

Disney : Hidden Secrets at WDW

Cinderella Castle WDW

Welcome to Disney creative Monday’s! First off I would like to just say how much I am thinking of all those 28,000 people who have recently lost their jobs at the parks. It is so sad to hear, and I am wishing everyone well and hope one day they will have their chance to return to the magic. I know how important how each and everyone’s job at the park pays a special role in creating a memorable experience at Disney. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

For todays post, I thought I would like to share some of the clever Disney secrets hidden throughout the park you can keep your eye out for next time. The Imagineers at Disney are creative and love to leave a little something behind to either make their mark or giving it that detailed touch of magic. Here are a few I’ll point out for you:

Disney Hidden Secrets

  • Cinderella’s Castle, secret suite – I will admit, I have long wanted to stay here! Unfortunately it is only open to sweepstake winners and very special guests. It is beautifully decorated inside, and even has a jacuzzi. Fun Fact : It was originally made for Walt’s family to stay in, but he passed away before WDW was finished.
  • Secret Tunnels underneath Disney – Ever wonder how cast members and characters get from one place to another without being seen? Secret tunnels are located below the park to allow cast members to easily move throughout the parks. There are dressing rooms, cafeterias, prop storage and things guests would never think of seeing. The underground tunnels were originally thought of so that guests were undisturbed throughout their experience.
  • Forced Perspective – I talked about this in one of my earlier posts about Main Street U.S.A, but Disney uses this technique to make some buildings look bigger than they actually are. One example is Cinderella Castle. Ever notice how the bricks become increasingly smaller as you climb to the top?
  • Old-fashioned Telephone Secret Chat – At the end of Main Street their is a Hat Shop with a telephone. Next time you are there, pick it up and you may heat a conversation going on.
  • Hidden Mickey’s – Throughout the park there are MANY hidden Mickey’s. How many can you find?
  • EPCOT a Real Working Community – Did you know that Walt was designing EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) to be an actual community for people to live in and work on projects to help the future? I wouldn’t have mind living there.

These are just a few to the MANY magical secrets at Disney. My sister gave me a book for my birthday one year called, ‘The Hidden Magic of Disney World‘. If you would like to read more, and prepare to point out some hidden secrets next time you are there, I highly recommend.

Hidden Magic of WDW – Susan Veness

I hope you enjoyed this post. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @Double_j_creative!

That is all for now, have a great week (:

Sources : Disney

Featured! Q&A with TV/Film Hair and Make-up artist Jenny Watson

Welcome to Featured Friday!

Today I am happy to share with you an interview I had with Jenny Watson, TV/Film hair and make-up artist. A little bit of a back story, in 2019 I was fortunate enough to get a small featured role on Peaky Blinders and is where I met the lovely Jenny who became my hair and make-up artist! It was an amazing two days and not only did she do a lovely job getting me ready to look the part, but she was so kind and really helped me out on set. So glad I had the chance to meet her and can still keep in touch today.

So, if you are interested in becoming a hair and make-up artist, or simply just interested in her career, keep reading for her exclusive interview!

(I was suppose to look like I had slept on my make-up all night after sleeping in a pub ahah)

Q&A with Jenny Watson

What inspired you to become a hair & make-up artist?

I’ve always been interested in hair and makeup but I chose to do my a levels instead, which led me to uni to do psychology and eventually a career in child care. I was room leader of a preschool for 5 years and I just thought to myself is this what I want to do forever? I always wanted to be more involved in hair and makeup so I did a few friends weddings to see how I felt and I realised what I really wanted to do and had done for a while was TV and film. I thought why not just go for it, so I left my job and researched courses for media hair and makeup and here I am. 

How long have you been a hair & make-up artist, and how did you get your start?

I started my course at The Iver Academy in 2016 and finished in July that year, so have been out in the industry for 4 years now. Iver is an incredible school, I learnt so much from them and still do. They have an agency for current students and graduates depending on the level of the job, so you can gain experience whilst on the course. My first opportunity on a major show was given to me by one of my tutors, Jane, as they are all currently working in the industry. She took me on to Harlots as work experience for the day and that turned into a paid trainee job in the crowd room for the duration of the series. My second job was also through my Iver tutors and through these jobs you make more and more contacts and get more jobs. 

What do you find your biggest challenge has been in your career?

Honestly my biggest challenge is now with Covid 19. I’ve been really lucky that I got off to such a good start straight out of Iver and although there has been quiet periods the work has always picked up. However these past 4 months have been the hardest by far with no work out there and even though some things are picking up there is not much out there at the moment. 

What is your favourite time period to recreate?

I absolutely love doing period work. I’m not sure I can pick a favourite. If I had to I would say the 20s and 30s as both hair and makeup for women was fabulous as was the hair and facial hair for the men. It was a very groomed and expressive period, I love it. I do love all the 18th century upper class hairdos as well with all the intricate up-dos. Although, I’m glad this isn’t the fashion now as I don’t think I’d have the time in the morning to do that to my hair! 

You worked on Peaky Blinders, what was your favourite thing about being on that production? And how does it feel to have worked on such a big production?

I loved everything about Peaky. It was my dream job!! I remember watching it before I trained thinking I would give anything to work on the show, and it happened! I love the whole cast, crew, the looks, watching these fantastic actors do their job but I think the best bit for me was the team! I love each and every one of them they are all super talented and amazing people and learning from Loz (Schiavo, the designer) is just a dream! She’s incredible and has taught me so much! We were set to reprise the team again but got shut down due to Corona, and I’m not sure if I can rejoin when they start up as I may be on maternity leave which is such a shame!! But having worked with the team on that show is something I will always treasure! 

How do you find jumping from one project to the next?

Jumping onto different projects can be hard but also refreshing. It’s always sad to leave a team but each new job means new experiences and new ways to be creative, whether it’s a different period or main team to crowd it’s a great chance to learn new skills and meet new people. 

What advice do you have for aspiring hair & make-up artists?

My advice for aspiring makeup artists is really research the course before you do it. Iver Academy and the tutors their are the reason I am here in my job today, so always make sure that the course is right for you while you’re on it, and once you have graduated. Also, nowadays it’s about having both hair and makeup skills, so make sure you invest time in learning both. Be prepared to work hard, realise you will never stop learning and persevere and you can get where you want to be!

And there you have it!

A big shout out to Jenny for being the first featured post on Double-J-Creative. You can find her on Instagram @jennywatson887 and follow what exciting productions she’ll be working on next. Hopefully work with you again one day(:

If you are interested in becoming featured be sure to submit!

I look forward to seeing your creative talent x

Are you a creative person? Then you’ll want to read this!

Are you a creative person? A writer, musician, actor, dancer, or even a filmmaker wanting to share your talent or story with the world? Well, now you can! I’m inviting you to share your creativity with a chance for a featured spot on Double-J-Creative.

If this sounds like you, keep reading for information below!

Who can submit?

Anyone! Whether you are just starting out, had your break through moment, or famous it doesn’t matter I welcome everyone and anyone.

What should I submit?

By submitting I will feature your work in a blog post depending on what you want to submit. This can be anything from video footage (whether that be of your talent, film, or link to youtube) , agreeing to be interviewed about your time in the industry, promoting your project or simply sharing ideas.

The WHY

I want to use my blog to create a community of creatives where we support each others work and help each other grow. This industry can be harsh at times with rejection and so much competition, but by coming together and sharing our talents we can support one another. I myself have known the struggle of having a project I care so passionately about but don’t have the launching pad or community to share my ideas with. So now, I’d like to share my projects with you as you share yours with not just to me but everyone we reach. Together we can be heard and share our creativity with the world.

All new featured post will be available every Friday. If you feel you would like to share, get in touch!

**Please note that all material will still be yours and will only be shared in a blog post that you are agreeing to.

Don’t forget to subscribe and follow if you wish to keep up to date with the latest posts(:

Disney Animation : The Hand-drawn Classics

Welcome Disney lovers, and if you aren’t a fan of Disney, continue reading anyway to maybe learn something about the company you didn’t know.

As some of you may know, I studied Disney Animation in my last year of University and fell in love with the history behind the company. People sometimes only acknowledge Disney for what it is now, but there is so much more and how it continued to be the successful studio it is today. Today, I want rewind all the way back to the original hand-drawn animation and how it evolved.

Mickey Mouse

Disney Animation Studio The Beginning

The Disney Animation studio was first found by Walt and his brother Roy Disney on 16th Oct. 1923. At the start of the company they had a series called, The Alice Comedies, which were short silent film with half animation and half live action. These lasted from 1925-1927, when they decided to go a different route and the birth of Mickey Mouse was not too long after. Mickey was the first to have a short with synchronised sound by the company – Steam Boat Willie (1928).

Over the years, the studio continually improved their animation skills and started a series of experimental animated shorts called, Silly Symphonies. Here are some of the processes early animators went through when it was all hand drawn :

  • Animators take the story board and begin developing characters. Every movement is drawn by the animators (24 frames per second of film)
  • Animators sometimes use a mirror at their desk to capture facial expressions for the characters
  • Test photographs capture each drawing in sequence, one at a time, before playing it back on the projector called a Moviola
  • Next is the inking department, where every line is carefully traced in detail on Celluloid paper.
  • Final stage is colour
  • Backgrounds are painted in watercolour and later combined with the character celluloids to be photographed on the master camera in Technicolor

Note: Some of these techniques are still used, but with the technology of computerised animation these days, some may vary.

Walt Disney Studios Disneyland Paris

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White is Disney’s first animated feature film released in 1937, which became an amazing success and milestone for the studio. Snow White had 250,000 painted celluloids and photographed nearly half a million times on the master camera to complete the film. It launched the studio into a new direction and along came films such as Fantasia (1940), Pinocchio (1940) and Dumbo (1941). Although not as successful as Snow White, because of WWII going on, the Disney company was continually developing and progressing animation in a whole new way.

Due to Walt’s death in 1966, sadly the company began to decline. Even with animated futures still coming out, the company was struggling to stay afloat. Until, the resurgence happened.

Disney Renaissance (1989-1999)

After a few difficult years after Walt’s death, the studio decided to get back to Musical animated films, and along came The Little Mermaid (1989). The film was a major success and went on to win an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Score and Best Song for “Under the Sea”. Disney once again found its footing, and reclaimed its classical Disney style. Beauty and the Beast (1991) also found major success, nominated for multiple Academy Awards and won Best Song Score. These successes continued to lead the studio into producing Aladdin, Lion King and so on. Many of these films went on to be critically acclaimed and commercially successful, all of which are based on well-known stories.

To summarise

The Walt Disney Studio’s has had many successful films, most recently Frozen 2 that is computer animated. But, what I love about hand-drawn animation is the aesthetic and feeling of it. Don’t get me wrong, I think CG animation is great, but when you go back to the classics you can almost feel the animators work through every movement. Some of my favourite classics are Robin Hood, Bambi, Sword in the Stone and Beauty and the Beast. They all have a unique quality about them I can’t quite put my finger on, but I just get a different feeling when I watch them compared to CG animation.

When you look back at how the studio started and how animation continuously evolved, it is quite amazing to see how far animation has come. I do love the recent films Disney has made, but I’d love to see another classic hand-drawn film again. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thought on whether you are an hand-drawn classic Disney fan, or a CG?

Follow me on Instagram @Double_j_creative

Morning Routine for a Productive Day

Let’s talk about routine. During COVID lockdown, I’m sure most of us can agree that any routine we did have was thrown out the window and the days have started to feel merged together. Personally, as someone who is use to routine and sticking to schedules, I can definitely relate and have had a very strange couple months trying to get back into some “normality”.

But things are starting to get moving more, people beginning work again and things trying to go back to routine. It can be difficult to get start new habits, but I’ve put together a simple morning routine suitable for anyone looking for a way they can jumpstart their morning again! A good start to the morning is great way to set up the day and get you motivated to do all that you want to achieve. You can adjust to how you like, and what feels right for you.

Below, is recently how I’ve been starting the day and I have noticed a nice flow. I have a yoga matt in my room, so as soon as I’ve drunk my water, I love to stretch out on it and do a little morning flow before I sit down to work. I usually only work from about 8.30-10.30am answering emails and getting all the important tasks out of the way before getting out for some fresh air and stretching my legs. I feel it is so important to get out earlier in the day and then maybe again before nightfall. I honestly can’t sit still all day, so this breaks it up for me and it helps me generate ideas or think clearer on what needs to be done later.

A little tip: Try and write down your daily to-do’s the night before so you have a clear vision of what the day entails. Even better, right the whole week on Sunday (goals, errands, appointments, etc. ). I am a firm believer in writing down goals to achieve them.

Disney : Favourite Disney Princess Animated Film

This week I am featuring my favourite Disney Princess animated film, I say princess film because it narrows down the selection, other wise it would be too hard. But anyway, drum roll please…

Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast Lego construction Downtown Disney, CA

Released: 1991

Genre: Musical

Awards : Academy Award Best Original Score

Now, of course I love the recent live-action with Emma Watson, but I’m a sucker for the classic and original animated feature. I remember in second grade we had a ‘show and tell’ day and I brought my Mrs. Potts tea set and dressed up in my Belle costume. Out of all the Disney princesses, I’ve always felt most like Belle because of her curiosity to explore and how she is not like other girls. Still to this day, I love listening to the soundtrack and curling up at night with the film.

Beauty and the Beast Fun Facts :

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • Belle was the second princess (first being Cinderella) to not be royal by birth
  • The Beast is a mixture of animals : Bear, Buffalo, Gorilla, Lion, Boar and Wolf. All these animals can be identified on different part of his body. For example, his arms, claws and body resemble those of a bear.
  • The prologue was written 200 times to get the opening of the film just right.
  • First animated film to be nominated for Academy Award in Best Picture, sadly it didn’t win, but it did win an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
  • The song ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (sung by Angela Lansbury) was recorded in just one take
  • Next time you watch the film have a look at the sign post Maurice runs into in the forest, you just might recognise so familiar names. (hint: Burbank, Anaheim, Valencia)
  • The ballroom scene where Beauty and the Beast had their first dance was choreographed from the scene from Sleeping Beauty.
  • Beauty and the Beast was Disney’s first musical on Broadway and premiered on Palace Theatre in 1994.

Exciting news!!

Beauty and the Beast WDW Live Performance

A few years ago my mum gave me her original Beauty and the Beast jacket she got when she saw it on Broadway. I have always wanted to see the live-stage performance and I have so far seen Disney’s Lion King, Aladdin, Mary Poppins, Newsies and soon Frozen (2021). BUT I am very excited to say that for all my UK friends out there it will be officially coming her next year on tour! I am beyond excited to finally get a chance to see it come to life, and maybe even be apart of it with castings going on right now ( fingers crossed my singing voice is up to par).

Make sure you set your email alerts for when tickets go on sale by visiting the Disney Website.

Get in touch!

What’s your favourite Disney film? I’d love to hear! Don’t hesitate to get in touch and share your love for Disney. I am also always open for collaborations.

Also find my on Instagram @double_j_creative (:

Source: Disney and OhmyDisney

What is your ‘why’?

For what ever you aspire to be or do in your life, there is an important question you should ask yourself – why?

What is yours?

I recently watched a career’s video, and this idea of ‘why’ really stuck with me. Why be in a job you don’t enjoy? What is it adding to your life? It is so important to me that when I get a job, and one day soon I pray I do, that it means something to me. Not only because it will make me feel excited to get out of bed every morning, but so that I can put 100% into the work.

If you are in the creative industry you know that it can be very competitive and sometimes hard to get your start. This is when having a ‘why’ is crucial, because if don’t know what is driving you through this industry, I can tell you it is probably going to make it a lot harder when you get rejected over and over again. As an actress and writer, constant rejection is part of the package (especially at the beginning of your career) but I do it because I have understood my ‘why’.

My reason – WHY

Being an actress is hard. Many people will think it’s not a career or it’s all glam all the time, but no. If you read my recent post interviewing the 98% Podcast (and if you haven’t I highly recommend) the two girls highlight that only 2% actually make it to that top “A-list” spot. That’s not a very big percentage if you think about all the aspiring actors out there, and yes, I am one of them. It’s not a career you take lightly, it’s important to understand that there will be rejection, you have to invest in yourself and sometimes pick up awful jobs to make ends meat. Sometimes I wonder, why the hell am I doing this to myself? Wouldn’t it have been easier to have ‘normal’ job? But something about someone asking me what my ‘why’ is for continuing to pursue it – which I have been for almost eight years now – puts it all into perspective, and is the motivation that keep me persevering.

Here’s what I wrote in response:

I act because it is a way to explore my imagination and break out of my shell. Naturally, I am a very shy person, but when I become a character and tap into another world it is freeing and exciting.

I act because I have never been able to see myself doing anything else. From a young age I was performing, making my own talent shows, plays, dancing and at fourteen I got interested in TV and film.

I act because it is my passion and to be able to make someone smile or feel something, is something special.

What ever your ‘why’, let it be the thing that motivates you to pursue your dream job. If you can’t answer that question with a good answer, then maybe it is time to reconsider what it is you are doing and if it makes you happy.

A lot of the time acting, scriptwriting and pursuing a career in the film industry is really tough, but when I think about giving up or throwing in the towel, I know I would regret it and I couldn’t imagine what other job I would be doing.

Challenge

So I challenge you today to right down you ‘why’ for whatever you choose to pursue. Once you get your why, write it down and hold onto it. Through the rough times remember what it is that makes you fight for your career/dream.

Feel free to share, or reach out if you are stuck and need some help.

Be sure to like and subscribe to my blog for new posts every Monday, Friday & Saturday!

Featured Friday : 98% Podcast

Alexa Morden & Katie Elin-Salt

Welcome to another Featured Friday!

Over the past couple weeks I have discovered the amazing, hilarious and insightful podcast – the 98%. Two lovely ladies, Alexa Morden and Katie Elin-Salt, joined forces to explore what it is really like for the majority of actors by sharing advice, interviews and a few laughs about the reality of the job. It’s become my regular listening playlist for my walks, or if I am just sitting around the house doing odd jobs. Although, I have to tell you beware if you are listening to this on a walk because they will have you laughing out loud! Just last week I was walking around London listening to one of their episodes of them sharing audition stories, which I could definitely relate to, but one of them was so funny I couldn’t help but burst out laughing not caring who was looking at me. I highly recommend checking it out and giving it a listen.

I was so delighted when I reached out to them recently and they agreed to have an interview for a Featured Friday spot! So let’s jump to it, and find a little bit more of the behind the scenes of the 98%.

Interview

  • Let’s start from the beginning, from your website I see you two met from a commercial casting and kept in touch. What prompted you two to start a podcast?
    • I (Alexa) was in Vancouver for half the year of 2017 and was having a bit of a tough time mentally. I personally found at that time that listening to interviews with other actors actually made me feel worse because in my mind they had everything I wanted in terms of their career, while I was doing everything I could to get there and it wasn’t working. I realised that actors are always comparing themselves to others (specifically the 2% who are “working actors”) because they are the only actors we hear from. We never see or hear from the majority of actors who aren’t going from table read to premiere every other week even though I KNEW they existed because I and all my friends were them!! So I toyed with the idea of starting a podcast because it was the only way we’d have a voice that wasn’t contingent on someone else making it happen. I was also listening to the podcast My Favourite Murder at the time and loved that they were just two aquatints who bonded over a common interest and as a listener it was enjoyable hearing them learn things about each other as the podcast went on. I had only spoken to Katie properly once before this but I knew she was funny, honest, passionate and talented so I sent her, I think, a 5 minute voice note on WhatsApp babbling on and asking for her honest opinion on my idea of a podcast talking about the reality of what most actors go through but never talk about. I knew she’d be honest if she thought it sounded shit because we weren’t even friends at that point so she didn’t have to be polite! But luckily she loved it and I soon realised it would be way better with her as a host too so we could bounce off each other and share stories that neither of us had heard before. Katie has lots of impassioned thoughts about this industry that I knew she wouldn’t be afraid of sharing..which was proved correct when I got back to London and we had our first meet up where we chatted non stop!
  • Did you find it difficult starting out? And did you think it was going to get as big as it is now?
    • It had its difficulties in terms of me having no idea how to make a podcast! But I dedicated hours to research and learning and bought a microphone and I’m a very organised person so as soon as I have some sort of grasp on something I take it in my stride and am able to keep multiple tabs open in my brain at all times! We would imagine and joke about it going mainstream and having thousands of listeners and being able to quit our day jobs just to podcast, but as actors we were both used to not getting ahead of ourselves and not expecting anything. Which I think helped a lot. I see other podcasters in facebook groups asking how to get more listens and how to make money from podcasting. That was never our goal. In my mind if we got any more listens than just my parents or we were able to help just one person then it would be a success. The fact we’ve reached so many people and continuously get told how helpful the podcast is is still surreal, I can’t really explain it! I’ll never forget the first time we got an email from someone saying that thanks to our honesty on the podcast they had started therapy and had a complete turn around in their attitude and mental health. No matter how “big” the podcast gets – those are the moments that stand out the most.
  • As an actress myself, I find it so important to find other creative outlets, that’s why I started the blog in the first place. How has the podcast 98% allowed you to explore yourself as artists/actors – Or has it? (Btw one of my favourite things about the podcast is the introduction theme songs!)
    • While the podcast isn’t an acting job, it is a creative outlet that has helped me enormously. I found that even writing scripts came to dead ends because you’re waiting on other people to give you the green light. With the podcast we are in charge of it and don’t have to wait for someone else to grant us permission to do it and make it happen. It’s given me an identity outside of auditioning and therefore a channel to find fulfilment inside myself. Seeing hard work actually pay off is an amazing feeling and we both can’t recommend enough that actors find something, anything, that gives them a creative outlet that doesn’t rely on someone else (agents, casting directors, directors, bosses etc) allowing them to do it. Even if it’s an instrument or jewellery making or photography or something!And in terms of songs…Katie is the only other person I’ve met that loves writing parodies to songs as much as me (like, it’s just something we do randomly throughout the day) and we joke about being the Lennon and Mcartney of jingles ha. We are always singing a made up song about something! So I love that we were able to include that in the podcast…despite it adding a lot more work!! And you can find all our theme songs on our website as a sort of playlist!
  • I love that you are able to bring in a variety of guests – casting directors, agents, directors –  How did you start approaching them, or did they come to you?
    • One of my motto’s is “you never know unless you give it a go” so when we started we just tried our luck! A lot of our guests are people we know, especially when we started, because we knew that’d be the easiest way to get people on and the vibe would instantly be friendly. We are specific about who we have on though and have a clear idea on why we are approaching them over others. We didn’t want to ask people just for a sake of it. We’ve had to say no to people that would be great guests because they didn’t quite fit what we’re about. Or others who we’d love to chat to but the topic would be too similar to something we’ve done. When we then started getting approached by people as time went on I was floored! Industry professionals we followed personally were getting in contact with US about coming on! It just shows that so much of this industry is smoke and mirrors. Every one of our guests has been a delight and genuinely loves what we’re doing and wants to help actors. 
  • I know that it is probably not the intention, but do you think you have benefited in any way from bringing on guest speakers, like casting directors?
    • We’d be lying if we said we hadn’t fantasised about our podcast being an out-of-work actor ironically bringing us both acting work haha, but honestly it’s helped us more long term than that. We’ve benefited because of what our guests have taught us and the curtains we’ve been able to pull back for the first time. I am a more confident, content and understanding actor now because of what I’ve learned doing the podcast. Which I hope is the same for our listeners! When I had my final audition for the feature film I ended up booking last year the director said he’d been listening to the podcast after he saw my audition tape and looked me up. (Yes! They do look you up!) I was instantly nervous because I was so used to the “this is what I’ve been up to” spiel. I knew that he now knew I hadn’t worked for a while (and everything else we’ve talked about on the podcast!!). But he loved it and it took all the nervous energy out of the room. We spoke about some of what we discuss in the podcast…dodgy castings, being a 98% actor and our love of independent film. The podcast wasn’t the reason I got the part but because I had nothing to hide behind and no bullshit to try and spout it made it the best audition I’ve ever had. Katie and I felt like we took a risk being so honest about our actor lives on the podcast but really, why is it a risk? It’s the way things are, nothing to be ashamed of!
  • You are now on your third series of the podcast, how do you feel you have grown since 2018?
    • I love that our twitter has grown. We didn’t want our twitter page to just be dedicated to marketing the podcast. I love podcasts but don’t follow their social media because it’s all just advertising for a podcast I’m going to listen to anyway! So we really enjoy being a hub for all things actor, podcast related or not, and being able to be a voice for many people who don’t feel able to talk publicly about things when we do. But really in terms of the podcast I feel the same as the very first episode. We just want to provide support and laughs and be the “audio handbook” we could have really done with ourselves years ago. That will never change – even if they do make a movie about our lives and pay us millions of pounds! 😉 And while we have had a few recent guests that people may know more than others, our chats (don’t like calling them interviews!) just show that we are all people. Many podcasts have guests with large followings which leads to more exposure. That is not even a thought process for us. Every guest is as important as the next and we love that our steady growth comes from content not popularity!
  • What is your ultimate goal you’d like to see the podcast achieve?
    • I haven’t really thought about that before. I remember reaching 100 downloads a week or so in and sending an excited screen grab to Katie. So everything since then has just been a bonus. I think we are on track to reaching 100,000 total downloads for the whole podcast by the end of Series 3 which would be incredible. But if we don’t – no worries! We started the podcast as an outlet for ourselves and to be a help and support to others. That hasn’t changed and the feedback has exceeded our expectations! In a dream world we start earning money from the podcast, quit our day jobs and can podcast full time to bring multiple episodes a month! I’d love to do it more but it’s just not possible. I do all the editing, admin, marketing, communications whilst working and auditioning and Katie has her fingers in so many pies outside of the podcast with her many talents that we just can’t put more time in without giving up work that pays our bills! Plus it actually costs us hundreds of pounds a year just to host the podcast online for people to listen to for free, run our website and record our episodes. So if we ever got to a place where we weren’t out of pocket, that would be a huge weight off our shoulders!!
  • Can we expect a series 4?
    • We’ve been so busy trying to make Series 3 during a pandemic with me in Canada, Katie in the UK and our guests elsewhere that we haven’t even thought about doing a Series 4! Originally Series 4 wasn’t the plan because I’ll now be based in Vancouver but now we know we can do it all via zoom!! So maybe it’ll go to public opinion on if podcast zoom is the new podcast room and if people are left wanting more…answers on a postcard!! 
  • One last question, I always ask my features for any advice they would like to give to other creatives. Could you give any advice for young actors or creatives just starting out, or wanting to explore new opportunities to express their talents? 
    • It’s hard to think of anything to say that we haven’t covered in the podcast so…give that a go first! But I’ll try for a few succinct points…
    • – Everything is temporary. So; enjoy every moment of the work you have in the field you desire. And; the shitty job you’re doing right now to pay your bills won’t be forever.
    • – But! Try and find a pay the bills job that doesn’t crush your soul…
    • – Keep a list of all things you accomplish that make you feel proud. (Big or small!) Focus on them and not the things that are outside of your control…
    • – On that note…”Control The Controllables” !! (S1E5 of The 98%!)
    • – Buckle up and take things in your stride. The things that don’t go your way are almost never to do with your talent or ability so don’t let yourself get into self doubt.And the most important thing:
    • – DO NOT LOOK FOR YOUR SELF WORTH/VALIDITY IN THE INDUSTRY. YOU WILL NEVER FIND IT THERE!!! But when you find it within yourself, it opens a lot more doors.

Thank you so much to Alexa and Katie for featuring on Double-J-Creative, they truly have helped me with this podcast in more ways then one. If you wish to help them out with their podcast, you can do so by visiting their patreon page. Also, something very useful for actors is WeAudition. Because of lockdown, self tapes are more on the rise and this platforms helps you by connecting with other actors in order for you to find a reader, or earn money yourself for being a reader to someone! I recently signed up and by using their code 9825, you can get a discount!

If you wish to keep up with the podcast further follow them on twitter :

@ the98percentpod @ alexamorden @ katieelinsalt

As well as visiting their site :

https://www.the98percentpod.com

I hope you have enjoyed this Featured Friday and please if you would like to be featured as well do not hesitate to get in touch!

Have a great day x

Disney+ : Top Picks

Have you got DisneyPlus yet? If not, you are missing out on the thousands of TV, films, shorts and MORE! From National Geographic, Disney Channel, Marvel and the Classics, fill you evening with fun entertainment for you or the whole family.

Disney+ released in March of this year (earlier if you are located in the US) and I’m sure we can all agree it eased some of the pain during lockdown. With Disney creating new content directly for the platform, with the addition of previous content, there is a wide range for all ages to enjoy. Whether you want to reminisce in your childhood year of Disney Channel, or jump into something new, this platform has got you covered.

I was quite excited for the platform to launch that my best friend and I actually pre-ordered our subscription. Being a previous Disney Life streaming member, I was envious of all the new content coming out and the access to more brands. I’ll be sharing some of my top picks of what I started watching first.

Disney+ Watch List

Some of my Disney+ Watch List Picks
  • High School Musical The Musical : Okay, there is really no surprise here. I grew up watching the High School Musical films and I am not afraid to say I was obsessed. From singing ‘when there was me and you’ for my first grade talent show, to carrying around the HSM2 song book at the playground literally memorising all the songs. Fun fact : I got to audition for High School Musical 4 and made it into a call back in Dallas, TX. Unfortunately, the film never got made, but I will say that making a spin off tv series to honour the HSM legacy was a great way to go! I especially like that it has a more matured nature than what is usually aired on Disney Channel.
  • Short Circuit : Back at university I got the opportunity to learn from Amy Davis in two modules; History of American Animation, and Disney Studies. Both have definitely strengthened my appreciation of the two, and I have a new fascination with animation and the process of how it’s made. Short Circuits is a series of experimental films created by talented artists at the studio where anyone can pitch an idea, with a chance of getting it created. I’ve loved getting to watch these amazing shorts in all different styles of animation coming to life. It inspires my imagination and makes me want to be able to make my own. (I need to learn how to draw and animate first though lol) *Note: Into the Unknown Making Frozen 2 is another highly recommended series if you are interested in the process of animation.
  • Prop Culture : I have watched a few of these now and it is amazing to go into the back-story of some of the set props from the Disney films, discovering where they came from, where they are and what makes them so special.
  • Togo : I have already watched this twice and both times I cried my eye out at the end. This is a beautiful story about the overlooked pup , Togo, who was a champion dog sledder in 1925. You may have heard the story of Balto completing the journey to retrieve a medicine for the epidemic in Alaska at the time, but you may have overlooked the dog who actually ran 264 miles during the relay. 20 dog sleds participated in the relay only averaging 31 miles compared to Togo. This a truly heartwarming, adventurous and inspiring story I recommend giving a watch. Make sure to grab a box of tissues.
  • Disney Insider : Go behind the scenes of the Walt Disney Studio like never before! This is a really cool series that unveils a variety of topics within the park, movies, music, destinations and more. Each episode, averaging around nineteen minutes or so, goes over three different topics for you to explore and learn more about. It a great way to get an inside scoop of the inner workings of the Studio.
  • Mickey Mouse : Because who doesn’t love some classic cartoons on a weekend morning? The mouse is back in an all new series that started in 2013-2017. They are very short, but sure to make you smile and brighten your morning, even if you only have 2-3 minutes.
Sunday Morning Healthy Oat Pancakes & Cartoons

While I could go on and on about all of my favourite tv and films on the platform, I’ll keep it brief. I do watch a lot of Disney Channel, Original Movies and more, but these were my first go to’s for the new content on the platform. I love to learn and watch documentaries, with the occasional light hearted cartoon series here and there. So grab that cosy blanket and maybe sink into something new this weekend on Disney+.

What are you watching on Disney+ ? I’d love to hear from you and get more recommendations!

If you want more content be sure to like and subscribe for content straight to your inbox every Monday, Friday and Saturday. Have a creative talent you wish to share? Get in touch!