“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.
Summer’s here, the Summer’s heeree! Summer is finally here and even though the English weather can be a whirlwind, there’s plenty of sunshine and activities to take advantage of. Our lovely Daniel Anderson has collected a list for our newsletter of some of Play Actors favorite things to do in the Summer, at home or around London, so we thought we’d share them with you.
His main tip is intermittent fasting. He usually skips breakfast and lunch in the Summer months. It allows him to have a big dinner and dessert (he loves dessert), whilst still hitting his nutritional targets. And it keeps him sharp during the day, so he can get a lot more done in the hot weather. Our Peruvian actress Pepa is also focusing on physical targets this Summer. It’s called HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). She manages to fit in sessions wherever it’s convenient for her, as they are not long. This helps her gain the stamina she needs to be productive in this weather. Here’s one you can do at home that only takes 24 minutes.
Staying on the physical tips, but moving a little bit more into the mindfulness, both myself and Enya are really enjoying Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. She has hundreds of videos and tutorials and you can opt for some of her long-term sessions, for example her 30 day journeys. It’s a great way to stay grounded and calm in a stressful city over Summer – and all year around. Maya continues with tips down the mindfulness path, as she likes to spend her Summers meditating – especially on the tube, where it’s easy to get stressed out. She listens to podcasts a lot and Here’s a link to her favorite one this season.
Moving on to something just as important to keep your cool, is food. Our Calin really enjoys a good picnic, and who doesn’t with the abundance of beautiful parks around London. Amongst Calin’s essentials are a decent sized blanket, a cooler and a natural bug repellant. He suggests citronella based repellants. For me, a nice, chill sparkly wine or two are also picnic necessities. Swiss Charlotte agrees that food is a priority these months – she enjoys an ‘Apéro’ and she agrees with me that a sparkly rosé is a must. She also has a recipe for a delicious guacamole with broccoli instead of avocado. Recipe here. She even suggests a specific park, Primrose Hill. Which is also my absolute favorite, with a gorgeous view over the London skyline.
On a more cultural note, Lory always uses Timeout Free, when she has a bit of spare time. It’s a list full of suggestions of things you can do for free in London. I also like to take advantage of TodayTix, for last minute theatre tickets as well as the social media account Secret London. It’s always booming with pictures of beautiful places in London, less known to tourists.
One of my favorite Summer events, if you’re a little more into the party type of culture, is Notting Hill Carnival on the 25thand 26thof August. A great carnival that takes over the streets of Notting Hill and celebrates all sorts of cultures, but mainly the Caribbean. It’s been taken place since the 1960’s and is a great way to spend a cultured, fun bank holiday weekend.
Let us know if you take advantage of any of the tips from our international actors. And let us know if you have more tips on how to best enjoy the Summer, in London and internationally.
Make sure to follow us on Social Media @PlayActorsCom
This Wednesday, the 15th of May 2019, the third annual Casting Director Association Awards was held. It’s a professional association of Casting Directors in the UK and for the last three years they’ve been celebrating the immense talent in UK casting, this year at BAFTA, London.
The categories range from best casting for feature film to Best Streetcasting for companies such as IKEA, Red Cross and even Norwegian Rema 1000. The jury is made up of industry experts and this year that included people like Alex Jennings (Actor), Christine Payne (General Secretary of Equity) and L.A. Ronayne (D&AD Trustee / Creative Director at Stink Studios). The Awards ceremony was sponsored by Spotlight, and I must say, their goodie bags looked like something I am very sad to have missed.
As we’re celebrating the difficult art of casting, let’s take a look at our fabulous winners, shall we?
We’re happy to see the so many international brands and names celebrated and even more excited to see that so many casting directors and companies have casted with a focus on liberation. The win for Best Single Still to Sainsbury’s ‘All Boobs Welcome’ campaign is a win for all boobs everywhere, and the win for Best Online Campaign to Rimmel’s ‘I Will Not Be Deleted’ is super current and important AND emotional. The entire category of charity videos deserve an award for the great work of spreading awareness in my opinion, but Wayne Waterson’s HIV awareness campaign deserved the win. Don’t get me started on the final categories, as the winner of Best Short ‘The Big Day’ is a super fun and quite touching short, immensely well cast with the main character being played by Jennifer Bea – keep your eyes peeled for when this will be back in London for screenings. And to finally mention ‘Tucked’, winner of Best Casting of Feature Film, what a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community without making the story line solely evolving the fact that the main character is a Drag Queen. This movie is in cinemas now, watch it!
All the nominees were incredible and the casting directors have done an incredible job years and years on end. For a full list of the nominees and winners (in Italics) – scroll down. We can’t wait to see more of your brilliant work, CD’s!
Best Casting of a UK Commercial (up to & inc 60 secs)
HANNAH BIRKETT for Snickers ‘Snickers’
KATE EVANS for Sainsbury’s ‘The Big Night’
THOMAS ADAMS for ‘Eve Sleep’
Best Casting of a UK Commercial (over 60 secs)
HANNAH BIRKETT for Virgin Atlantic & Delta ‘The Prodigal Brother’
KATE EVANS for The Sun ‘World Cup Office Knockabout’
TREE PETTS for Air China ‘Live Slow Dream Fast’
Best Casting of an Online / Branded Content Commercial (up to & inc 60 secs)
HANNAH BIRKETT for PlayStation ‘Foxhole’
JODY FURLONG for Asus Vivobook ‘Be Your True Colour’
KATE EVANS for Ikea ‘Plates Juggling’
Best Casting of an Online / Branded Content Commercial (over 60 secs)
ANNA STARK & CLAIRE CATTERSON for Rimmel ‘I Will Not Be Deleted’
ET CASTING for HSBC ‘Portraits Of Pride’
LEANNE FLINN for Bodyform/Libresse ‘Viva La Vulva’
Best Casting of an International Commercial
ALI FEARNLEY for Jameson Irish Whiskey ‘Scully Was To Blame’
ANNA STARK for Apple ‘Behind The Mac’
HANNAH BIRKETT for Rema 1000 ‘Smarthouse’
KHARMEL COCHRANE for Ubisoft ‘Just Dance’
KATE EVANS for Sport England ‘This Girl Can – Fit Got Real’
LEANNE FLINN for McCain ‘Here’s To Love’
Best Children’s Casting
CROCODILE CASTING for Protergia ‘Little Scientists’
ET CASTING for BBC Sport ‘Prepare To Be Moved’
NICCI TOPPING for Paul McCartney ‘Fuh You’
Best Casting of a Charity Commercial
NICCI TOPPING for Red Cross ‘The Power Of Kindness’
THOMAS ADAMS for International Women’s Day ‘Queen Rules’
WAYNE WATERSON for HIV Awareness ‘U= U=’
Best Casting of Online Non-Branded Content
KHARMEL COCHRANE for Dept of Education ‘Every Lesson Shapes A Life’
KATE EVANS for Electrical Safety First ‘Nan Knows Best’
LEANNE FLINN for The FA ‘England’s World Cup Squad Revealed’
Best Casting of a Stills Campaign
KHARMEL COCHRANE for Stoli ‘Whatever Drives You’
SUE ODELL for Pride in London ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’
TREE PETTS for Dove ‘Baby Bathtime’
Best Casting of a Single Still
CAMILLA ARTHUR for Sainsbury’s Tu ‘All Boobs Welcome’
CLAIRE CATTERSON for Children 1st ‘Children 1st’
KATE EVANS for Hula Hoops ‘Hula Hoops’
Best Casting of a Short Film
KATE EVANS for ‘Cur:Few’
LEANNE FLINN for ‘Ladies Day’
NICCI TOPPING for ‘The Big Day’
Best Casting of a Music Video
CLAIRE CATTERSON for Callum Scott ‘No Matter What’
HANNAH SIMONS for Dizzee Rascal ‘Money Right’
LEANNE FLINN for Chaka Khan ‘Like Sugar’
Best Casting of a Feature Film
ET CASTING for ‘Tucked’
EMMA ASHTON for ‘Perfect Skin’
KARMEL COCHRANE for ‘In Darkness’
The Dialects Archive
The Dialects archive is a great tool to help actors improve accents and dialects. Enya Hendrics is recommending this website, as it is different to other similar websites in the way that you can choose which specific gender, age, profession, area and background you want to read out the text to you. This ensures you listen to someone as closely to the accent you are trying to portray as possible. Say you need to touch up on your German accent; it has 25 different voices reading several minutes worth of speech. If you need a 33-year-old female German accent but with an ancestry of Russian and Venezuelan, it has that too!
There’s so much to get started on, but we suggest this tool is ideal if you need a touch up on very specific accent. There’s so much more to explore on the website, and it is free! In case you work better with a teacher present, the Actor’s Centre offers private, half an hour accent workshops every Saturday for the mere price of 25 pounds.
The Vaults Festival
If you’re in the creative industries, you probably know about the Vaults festival. But in case you don’t, the Vaults Festival is a massive fringe arts festival that runs in the beginning of every year since 2012, this year between 23d of January – 17th of March, Wednesdays to Sundays. This year it features more than 400 shows from more than 2,000 artists, so it’s safe to say it’s London’s biggest festival for arts and mainly theatre. If you haven’t been before, make this your year. There are numerous shows that celebrates new writing, cabaret, circus, comedy, drag, late night events, immersive theatre – there is something for everyone!
The Vaults is based in Waterloo, in an underground space of disused railway arches, so don’t be alarmed if you hear the trains during your show – it’s part of the experience. You’re even likely to see some of our very own Play Actors performing there.
The Donmar Warehouse always aspire to put on world class theatre and they’ve done it again with Sweat. The play, based on endless interviews with the people of a small town in Pennsylvania, is written by Pulitzer prize winner Lynn Nottage. It really captures the misery in a country that inevitably leads to the election of Donald Trump – although it doesn’t take a lot to realise the message is global. This show is remarkable because of its fantastic cast and impeccable acting. But hurry, it’s only on till the 26th of January.
Another thing to note about the Donmar Warehouse, is that if you are under the age of 25, you can sign up for the YOUNG+FREE. They want to encourage young people to engage with them and therefore they ballot a certain amount of free tickets every month and you could go see great theatre – completely free.
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.”