“Free time is a terrible thing to go to waste.”E.A. Bucchianeri
As Bucchianeri wisely stated, free time is precious and we should use it accordingly. When free time isn’t (unfortunately) a substantial component of our lives, the moment we grasp it, it often gets filled with something we’re passionate about and haven’t had the chance to dedicate ourselves to or we lazily procrastinate through it. The latter could become the case even in an eventual situation in which we get a lot of free time on our hands; when being swallowed by the deep and confusional sea of options of things we could possibly do, the easiest option seems to be ignoring it and somehow just navigate through it. However, the easiest option often isn’t the best one.
The best option is to dedicate your free time to self-development, possibly surrounded by your loved ones, a cozy house with an optional garden or a beautiful view of the sky and a vast variety of snacks. We would like to suggest you some ideas, options and activities to try out to keep yourself busy during your free time.
You might be thinking, does this mean binge watching is a waste of free time and I should give up on it? As actors, we’d be crazy (and most likely had chosen the wrong profession) if we were even remotely suggesting that watching movies or series is a waste of time. That is why we actively encourage you not to give up on it, especially when you’ve got a lot of time to watch a variety of things, because that is one of the most immediate ways of learning. Being a multilingual and multicultural agency we would like to propose international works which will make you dive into new cultures and worlds.
don’t worry we haven’t forgotten about you and guess what? You can watch plays from the comfort of your home too!
An amazing platform that offers a selection of theatre productions is Digital Theatre +. Moreover, only recently the National Theatre has started to broadcast live performances on the National Theatre Live website.
Physical activity is important for your overall well-being and you don’t need to necessarily go to a gym to keep fit. Actually, it’s surprisingly effective, more stimulating and less time consuming (because you save the travel to and from a gym) to do it within the confines of your propriety.
There is a whole universe of training sessions available online, the biggest and best platform for them (FREE) probably being youtube. In order to be consistent and see the results, challenge yourself and add it into your routine; here are some workout suggestions:
With a lot of free time on your hands you’re lucky because you can finally finish reading that book you left half read 2 years ago, because too much work and responsibilities got in the way…or you can indulge yourself and read something new and informative.
A very good series of books available on Amazon is the BIG IDEAS SIMPLY EXPLAINED, among which you can find The Psychology Book, The History Book or the Business Book.
And if perhaps you get passionate about a new subject among these you can dabble in an Ivy League course to expand your knowledge and even potentially acquire a certificate. There are 450 Ivy League courses available for free on freecodecamp.org in any subject you can possibly think of, provided by high-end universities such as Harvard and Yale.
If you’re in the academic mood a great middle-ground between the above suggestions is Masterclass: a platform offering classes by the masters of their crafts such as Martin Scorsese teaching Filmmaking, Natalie Portman teaching acting, Neil Gaiman teaching writing and Gordon Ramsay teaching cooking.
On the note of cooking, having fun and freeing your inner master-chef during your free time is extremely gratifying and filling (in every sense).
If you are in the mood of being artistic you could try doing some DIY projects, collage work or wabi sabi. That way you will merge productivity with fun by creating something useful for your house or garden, such as a rug or a personalised mug.
Or else take out your cards and table games and challenge your house-mates or family; a cool app is Psych which includes many quiz’s in which you can participate both with the people near you and far away.
Nofilmschool.com – A website that offers advice to aspiring filmmakers on just about anything from setting the right light to pitching your film to a producer. As an actor, it’s always good to know the difference between a cap and a cheat on set and, maybe, there are some tricks to steal from your fellow filmmakers as well. Successful directors are incredibly good at selling their films, after all…. Finally, you can also find the latest Hollywood film scripts on there – something to take to your acting class.
It’s January, so if you’re a freelancer, you know it’s that time of year again. With the deadline coming up to file your HMRC Self Assessment online, Lory has found that the 1tap receipts app has taken the stress out of filing a tax return, and has helped her organise her receipts, expenses and invoices all in one place. The app extracts all the important information, such as the supplier, date, amount and then categorises it. The only thing that you need to do is email or take a picture of the receipts, bills or invoices, and that’s it! You’ll be able to track your all your taxes. It also saves everything on the cloud for the next 7 years, so you won’t have to worry if you end up losing a receipt. With less than a month to go, it’s a great way to not only get last year’s tax ready, but also organise this year’s tax so you’ll always be prepared for the January 31st HMRC deadline!
Daniel has been experimenting with the Pomodoro Technique recently. It was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s, who would use a tomato shaped kitchen timer (Pomodoro, italian word for tomato). The technique consists of using a timer to break work down into 25 minute intervals, separated by 5 minute breaks. After 4 Pomodoros, you can then take a longer break, of 15 to 30 minutes. Daniel says it’s helped him considerably with his time management by dramatically reducing the time it takes for him to sit down to work, as well as the time he usually spends procrastinating during tasks. There are loads of free versions available for both iPhones and Android, so just google “Pomodoro Timer apps” and get yourself on the right track this New Year!
Even on a small budget, there’s no need to have a haircut that looks like the Cookie monster… if you bring a bit of patience with you, that is. Trainee hairdressers at Sassoon Academy and other high-end salons offer very affordable cuts, or even free cuts (bonus!) to willing hair models. The sessions can take up half your day so make sure to bring something to read and snack with you. But, if you’re lucky, you’re getting a cut worth a few hundred quid in return. And as Joan Crawford once said “I think that the most important thing a woman can have – next to talent, of course – is her hairdresser.”
Blinkist in an app that captures big ideas and delivers them in small digestible packages. Dan says about the app that it changed his life: “In essence, the Blinkist team reads non-fiction books and sums up the key points in an easy-to-understand format (blinks), enabling you to get the gist from each of the books on their data base in under 15 minutes. All the books you save work immediately offline. I tend to use the app on the tube when there are no lines to learn, or to have something to think about before I go to bed. Do the trial and decide for yourself”
The app is free to download. It gives you a free trial for 24 hours, with unlimited blinks. After that you get one free blink a day, or you can pay 50GBP for a year and get unlimited blinks.
Where to find it : https://www.blinkist.com
Alice Birch’s stunning, Katie Mitchell-directed new play is about three generations of women struggling with their predecessors’ legacies. Alice Birch describes it as “choose your very own bleak adventure, basically”. Anatomy of a Suicide’ is essentially three dramas set in different time periods, all performed on stage at the same time. The three women whose lives are on display are Carol (Hattie Morahan) in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, Anna (Kate O’Flynn) in the ’90s and ’00s, and Bonnie (Adelle Leonce) in the 2030s. We understand shortly into the play that the three women belong to the same dynasty.
In Marta’s words, it is a spectacular play with a very interesting and ambitious staging, and beautiful acted.”
Read Alice Birch humorously talking about her play here: https://www.timeout.com/london/theatre/alice-birch-its-like-choose-your-very-own-bleak-adventure-basically
Where do I get tickets:
According to this book, You can go after the job you want…and get it! You can take the job you have…and improve it! You can take any situation you’re in…and make it work for you!
Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie’s first book is a timeless bestseller, packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.
The book offers to teach you: the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
Calin heartily recommends the book “because of it’s timeless approach to people and how to get yourself out of your shell as an actor and a person in general. I wouldn’t stick to the advice in it word for word but one read may have a positive effect on how to treat with people in our industry and in our lives.”
Calin is not the only one who thinks so:
“it changed my life” (Warren Buffet)
“The most successful self-help book of all time… Carnegie has never seemed more relevant” (The Times)
“It’s helped me immeasurably in life. I think everyone should read it” (Jenny Colgan, Independent on Sunday)
Where to find it https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People-Dale-Carnegie/0091906814
You probably already know about the Mono Box, but if you don’t, you’re missing out.
THE MONO BOX defines itself as “a collaborative, not-for-profit network that caters for actors and theatre-makers seeking alternative, affordable training. We are committed to empowering actors by opening the door to what can seem like a daunting industry. Over the past three years The Mono Box has become a go-to resource, creating a dialogue between the professional world and those who are emerging into it.”
Their mission is to support emerging talent in theatre
To provide access to a unique resource of play texts
To encourage the personal, professional and social development of young artists
To equip young people with practical tools for the industry
To form a collective that fosters and nurtures creative relationships
I have been astonished by the diversity and the quality of workshops offered. From Meisner, to Viewpoints, to Brecht to offering audition and speech “surgery” workshops, to comedy, you can find an astonishing range of practices taught. The faculty brought in is of incredible quality and there is a strong sense of community present.
No matter where you are in your career and craft, the Mono Box offers wonderful opportunities to refresh, expand, challenge your craft and meet wonderful, ambitious and dedicated fellow artists.
How do I take part: http://www.themonobox.co.uk/events
In our digital age, where we can transmit and connect on a whole new level, and with the increasing quality of and accessibility to cameras and mobile phones, self taping has become another skill for the actor to master. No longer hindered by geographical location and travel expenses, and with productions casting more internationally, the self tape can be a great way to be seen by casting directors who would not have seen you otherwise.
A self tape will never replace the benefits of meeting someone face to face, like the energy and flair you bring to a room, as we use all our senses when forming an impression, whereas a video of you will only engage through sight and sound. That’s why it is so important your sef tape is as compelling as possible, showing your potential and skill and make you come alive on screen!
Here are some tips I have learned on the way…