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(:

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

Life as an Actress : To be or not to be an extra

Are you an aspiring actress and wondering if it’s worth doing extra work? I’m sure you’ve heard many people tell actors not to do it because it is below them or it looks bad, but that is not always the case – especially if you are only getting started. I am here to share with you my experience as an extra (or supporting artist some may say) and what I have gained from the experience.

Getting Started

In 2016, I officially moved to the UK from America. In a way, I felt like I had to start all over again to find a new agent, understand the acting system and build a network again. I started university in the autumn of that year doing film and drama, which opened me up to the idea of supporting artist work. There are many different agencies to sign up to, but I started with Maddog and slowly made a shift to POP casting. It took a while for me to get my first booking because a lot of casting is based on size, look, availability and continuity. So, don’t get disheartened if it takes a while to book your first extra role – it’s really like winning the lottery sometimes.

I’ll never forget my first booking on ITV’s Victoria season 1 back in 2017, partly because I was freezing cold for two days. Don’t let that put you off though, sure it can be long tedious days, but what you get out of it is worth it – new friends, experience on a professional set and getting to time travel to a different world for the day.

ITV Victoria Series 1 (2017)

How it works

So once you have signed yourself up with an agency you will enter in all your profile details and upload four main pictures (headshot, front, back, left side, right side). Uploading pictures that represent the natural you are so important for casting because it is essentially the thing that get’s you booked. After all your details and required documents are set up, you are good to go and just have to wait. The agency will submit on your behalf for anything they think you would be suitable for, and when something does arise, you will be given an availability check. Availability checks do not mean you’ve got the role, usually it means you are right for what they are looking for and need to know you are free in order to put you forward to the production company. Once the production company has all the submissions, they go through and pick who they want. Usually, you will get pencilled or heavy pencilled if you’ve been narrowed down before you get the finally booking. It’s important to note that this can be so last minute, and sometimes frustrating, but is why you need to keep that date 100% available just incase that ‘pencilled’ turns into a ‘booked’. Getting booked is very exciting! You will get an email with your call time, base location and any additional information you may need for the day.

Life on set as an Extra

7am call time (before hair and make up) Victoria series 3

Now, life on set as an extra is by no means glam or A-list actor personal trailer glam. Sets can vary depending on production and how they treat their extras. If you are lucky you will have hot tea and coffee waiting for you upon your arrive that can be as early as 6 am, yes I have been there. During my time as a supporting artist I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I will not list names as it is not fair on productions, but one of my worst experiences was only being used for one hour in the day then waiting in a conference room until 8-9 o’clock at night until a security guard came to clear out the buildings and was shocked to see us still there. Lets just say communication was not a strong suit that day. However, there have been more good sets than bad ones I like to keep in mind. Extra’s have their own space during production for dressing, eating and waiting. Be prepared to wait around most of the day, but be ready to be called in at any time to start filming. Extra’s on set can range from a handful to hundreds, it all depends on the type of scene being shot and honestly I have found that depending on how many extras on set can largely impact the way you are treated. The times that there have only been a handful of us are my most memorable time because I got to get to know the crew and talk with the ADs a bit more – only do this if it is appropriate, and if you are an actor do not start trying to sell yourself, it is not what you are there to do. Getting the chance to be a small number of extras on a set is wonderful, but not always the case. If you are on a set with hundreds of extra make sure to stay patient and respectful of the process. It’s a lot of people for hair & make-up to get through and for ADs to monitor, so try not to complain. At the end of the day everyone is there to play a part in creating TV and movie magic, so enjoy the downtime when you have it and be ready to do a scene over and over again until they have the shot.

My experience and views on being an Extra

I have been doing extra work since 2017 and have worked on sets for Victoria, Gentleman Jack, David Copperfield, ABC Murders, Super Woman 2, Peaky Blinders, etc. While I don’t do as much anymore because I have an agent now (yippee), I still reflect back on what I’ve learned on the numerous sets and the relationships I have formed. There have been countless time I have bent over backwards to get to these productions, mostly because I never wanted to turn down an opportunity to engage in what I find so fascinating and hope to one day be working in, and I can say I never regret any of it. My time on set was a constant learning experience, always watching how things operated and learning who was who. As I said, I was at university for most of my time doing extra work so as I was learning film production I got to live it as well. It’s important to always maintain a professional attitude working on production as an extra, and while it’s easy to want to talk to everyone and ask how you can get a job, you have to know when the right time is, and sometimes that opportunity will just find it’s way to you. You hear the stories of actors getting picked up for lead roles by working as an extra, and while not always the case it can happen, it did happen. While it wasn’t a lead role, I did end up getting my featured role on Peaky Blinders by simply just being an extra for three days. Those three days were the most exciting and yet most exhausting days ever. I was coming from York by train and one night I didn’t get home till 11 only to wake up at 2am and jump on a train at 4am to get back to work again. Why? Because that’s how much I love what I do, acting, working on sets and getting experience. I’ll tell you though, I am so glad I did because on my last day of work the 2nd AD offered me a feature role as Finn’s Women saying the director has seen me. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. I remained calm and accepted willingly, but I am not ashamed to say I walked out of the studio feeling like I was on cloud 9. I was sure everyday till I filmed (from October to January) they would have found someone else. But nope. I went in, had my own trailer and got to feel like a part of something bigger than me for the day, only to be requested to come in again for close up shots. My two days only amounted to three seconds on screen, but overall I cannot say how thankful I was for the experience and who it has led me to meet.

So do I recommend being an extra? Yes! Okay, it gets a bad name sometimes if you are actor but, if you want experience on set and get comfortable in the environment, than do it! My confidence has grown just in the short amount of time working as an extra because I have seen first hand the operations, and if I were to ever finally book my leading or supporting role I will now go in having already a glimpse of the set life. My only advice is, don’t go in expecting to get noticed or make conversation with the cast and crew. Be professional, seize opportunities when you can and just enjoy the process of what you are there hired to do. If you just want to do it for a little extra cash, for a hobby or experience the set – great! Whatever your reason is for becoming a supporting artist I can confidently say you are sure to make amazing friends, memories and come home satisfied after a long day of work.

If you like my posts be sure to like and subscribe. I post new content every Monday, Friday and Saturday (:

Have a great weekend!

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(: