HND Acting and Performance Diploma Show

On Thursday the 29th of March (after only a week and a half of preparation) we (Langside College HND Acting students) put on a Diploma Show, aka. Dip Show. Every actor was given 4 minutes (although there was a bit of leeway) to perform monologues and/or duologue’s in front of agents, casting directors and family and friends. I decided to do Catherine’s monologue from Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams and a duologue from Scarborough by Fiona Evans with James (the characters of Beth & Aiden). The week before the show I was off a couple of days with flu but myself and James had learnt the lines already and were able to pick it up once I returned.

We opened on Thursday with a matinee show with fellow Langside acting students making up the majority of the audience and amongst them somewhere, four agents. It all went quite smoothly and there was a relaxed atmosphere in the dressing rooms which differed hugely from the panic at Panto performances. The audience laughed a lot (and mostly at the appropriate times) and after rounding off the show with an…interesting song and dance to “Our House” by Madness, we made our way to the bar to seek out important people. I had a cup of tea and a chocolate bar, despite the fact it was like an oven in the conservatory-like bar, because it was free and I’m a poor student. And also, I really like tea. At first I think we all felt a bit awkward but got chatting to a few unfamiliar faces (as well as familiar ones) but found out that most of the agents had already left (hopefully because they were running home to email us about casting us). We were told that the standard of our Diploma Show was really high and satisfied with the comments, went to get some food before warming up and getting ready for the 7.30pm show.

The evening show went just as smoothly (minus me forgetting to strike a chair. Luckily Ross saved the day) and the audience was bigger than the afternoon show. Afterwards we went through to the bar to mingle. I had no one who came to see the show so felt a bit like a spare part and decided that free wine would be my saviour. It was lovely meeting and seeing my friends parents/other half’s etc and everybody was very complimentary. People slowly left and third free glass of wine down, and starting to feel lightheaded (as I hadn’t drunk in almost two months), we headed into town for some after partying. The leftovers of us bundled into Eilidh’s car and went to Bier Halle for some free drinks courtesy of Skye’s dad. I got a cranberry, lemonade and vodka but after a few sips (and a lemon shot) decided water was the best way to go and bullied Kyle’s lovely girlfriend into drinking my unwanted alcohol. The bar began to close so we headed outside and I decided I was too drunk, too skint and too soaked in booze (from a clumsy Kyle accident) to stay out, so staggered back to halls, escorting an equally giddy Steph to the chipper on the way, feeling like an underage lightweight. I ate a toastie when I got in. Spoke to my flatmate about something then went to bed to watch my room spinning. It was a good night despite the early bedtime.

I’d like to thank everyone who came to see the show, although no one came to see me, and also my fellow actors who all did amazing. Not heard from any agents etc as of yet but had a great time anyway and can’t wait to begin rehearsals for our final production which is on the 17th and 18th of May. We don’t know what it is yet but be available to come and see it!

Thanks for reading,

Rachael

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Noble Brothers Productions

Greetings
I just wanted to write a bit about the film group I am a part of. So here we go..

Noble Brothers Productions (NBP) is an independent film group based in Aberdeen and run by brothers Graeme and John-William Noble. The group began in February 2009 and is well-known locally. Also, a number of NBP films have been selected to showcase at various worldwide film festivals.
Feel free to click here where you will find the new short film “Life of a Spy” (in which I appear briefly) starring Rebecca Rivara. You can also watch more short films and trailers and find out more.

My involvement

I joined Noble Brothers Productions in 2010 and have since been in 4 short films, 4 feature films and 1 series. I am ever thankful to Graeme and John-William for allowing me to be part of the group as I have learnt so much about acting in front of a camera which was something I had never done before. Patience is a virtue in filming, as I learnt very quickly, especially when filming outside.
Just some of the annoying things that make scenes take forever to film include; loud bird noises, inconsistent weather, aeroplane noise, car noise, onlookers being noisy and of course forgetting lines. However, a lot of the “rubbish” filming makes for good outtake material.

I’ve had a lot of laughs with the film group and have met many wonderful and interesting people.  Unfortunately since moving away from Aberdeenshire I cannot commit to be involved as much as I’d like to but I’m excited for upcoming roles and grateful to still be a part of it.
The group continues to grow and improve and I think there is a bright future for Noble Brothers Productions.

Filming vs Theatre

I often get asked whether I prefer to do film acting or theatre acting. “I like them both” is usually my fail safe answer. Honestly, they both have their pros and cons.

Film acting is a lot of fun. You can do things which just wouldn’t be possible in the theatre (lets face it, cars don’t work on stage) and the subtlest of facial expressions can make a shot (whereas it would be completely lost in amongst the set, costume and lights in a theatre).
Also it’s great to see the finished product once all the hard work is over.
However, I find it a lot harder to stay in character because of aforementioned interruptions and chatterings between cuts. I’ve realised that you have to be an amazing actor to interpret different characters convincingly on screen. Filming is hard work.

Theatre acting is also fun. You usually become quite close-knit as a cast and there is always a good sense of team work. Also, the buzz is just amazing. I think the danger that something can go wrong and being aware that many pairs of eyes are staring at you through the lights just adds to the adrenaline rush when performing in the theatre. It is also a lot easier to stay in character because you are essentially being that character for long periods of time- no cuts, no interruptions (minus the interval- but it’s often up to you what you do then).
The disadvantage to theatre is that every performance is different, and it can totally depend on the audience. Therefore you have no way of guaranteeing whether it’ll be a good show or not. And also things can go wrong and there’s no chance of just cutting out the bad bits and putting them into a bloopers section at the end of the show.You have to try and dig yourself (and/or your fellow cast members) out of a hole by often making something up. Which is very daunting for my brain. It does not like to improvise (even though it does so in day-to-day normal conversations). Like I said, that danger of something going wrong adds to the excitement but the stage is a lonely, lonely place if you forget your lines.

So that’s about it for now. Check out NBP, like us on Facebook and “live long and prosper!”

Headshots

On Sunday 19/02/12, I got some headshots done by Fiona Potter who runs Blackdoor Photography. I got the train out to Milngavie (a lovely little town), where Fiona picked me up and drove me Milndavie. I forgot I was in Glasgow for a while in this rural little area- it felt like home.

We started by looking through the tops I had brought with me and eliminating anything that wouldn’t work. I then got changed into outfit one, re-tocuhed my hair and make-up and we began shooting outside in a little wood hut. We did a selection of outside and studio shots and it was a professional yet relaxed and enjoyable shoot. I got my headshots through one day later and had to choose 6 (though Fiona ended up editing 9 for me) and I have put in four of my favourite ones here (2 in colour and 2 in black and white). Still need to make the difficult decision of choosing one for Diploma Show programmes so any help would be appreciated!
I would highly recommend Blackdoor Photography for a headshot shoot and would definitely consider getting my headshots done there again.

From the stones of Tarland to the lights of Glasgow. My journey so far…

It’s hard to make it as an actor. I suppose it’s hard to “make it” as anything when you’re from a tiny village populating a mere five hundred people. Mostly because there’s nothing to see or do there except look at one of thousands of stone circles. Yes. Stones. That’s pretty much all there is in Tarland.
Although maybe coming from such a small place gives me that extra “edge”. Everybody has heard of Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. All these places have produced a plethora of actors. But Tarland sounds a bit mysterious…intriguing, doesn’t it? However when I say “I’m from Tarland”, the looks I get are usually ones of utter confusion. Like I made the place up. And yes, then they’ll laugh and make a joke about tar.
The point is, I don’t know a famous actor from Tarland. I’m pretty sure there has never ever been one. And I challenge you to prove me wrong. Google at the ready!!! (I found nothing by the way.)

So I suppose I should tell you a little bit about my journey as an actress so far. If you’re still reading, that is, and not completely fed up of my talk about tar…land.
It began when I was just a tooty wee thing (the desire to be famous.) I remember watching “Stars In Their Eyes and telling my mum I could sing like any famous singer out there. And despite being terribly shy I delighted in belting out the YMCA at a karaoke night in Spain with my friend:

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA (I’m the one on the left.)

The truth of the matter was, I couldn’t sing like any famous singer out there, not even a Z-lister reject from Pop Idol or whatever. So I’d have to resort to some other way to be famous. I was Angel Gabriel in a school Nativity play once and I loved it. I remember going to see films at the cinema and coming out feeling like I was in the movie. And that french film Madeline? I convinced myself for about two months straight that I was her long lost sister. That’s when I realised I wanted to be an actress.

However, the whole acting thing kind of left me for a while after being Angel Gabriel  as I focused on my times tables, what item from my pencil case to swap that day and figuring out which smell pen tasted the worst. I was a country bumpkin, a rapscallion. I used to run around barefoot all the time, covered in dirt with grazed knees and barbed-wire cuts from climbing fences. I was never neat or particular or dainty. And I’m still none of these things. I’m certainly not glamorous or posh or svelte. I’m not your typical Hollywood superstar, looks or mannerisms or otherwise. But it’d be a bit boring really if every actor was the same. Or even if every person was the same.

It wasn’t until Secondary School when I got into acting again. We had Drama once a week and our teacher, Miss Wheeler (no relation to me), was crazy but absolutely fantastic. She swore a bit and said our work was complete shit sometimes but I liked her for her honesty. I was a shy child and a nervous teenager but Drama drew a confidence out of me which I never knew I had before. So I decided to take it in third year. And again in Fifth year, passing Higher Drama with an A. I knew it was what I wanted to do in life because it was the only subject I got an A in. I cared and was passionate enough about it to put in the time and effort. So I went on to study NC Acting and Performance at Aberdeen college.

The audition to get into college was nerve racking to say the least. Only a few people knew I was auditioning because if I told people in school I wanted to be in actress, the usual response was a laugh followed by “you’ll never make it.”
This was my very first audition. Luckily the tutor, Lynn, was pleasant and welcoming and she had a chat with myself and the other auditionees to begin with which calmed me down. I then performed my two monologues (Juliet from Romeo and Juliet and Magrit from The Steamie), shaking the whole time, and then left unsure about my “fate”. Lynn phoned that night to let me know I had got in. Mum was really proud, I was relieved and it was one hell of a year, finishing in style with a collection of Shakespeare scenes as our final production in “Is This A Play Which I See Before Me?”

I went on to do the HNC at Aberdeen which was mostly just theory work but we got to role play as criminals/witnesses for training police officers which was a lot of fun. Our final production was Our Town by Thornton Wilder in which I played Emily Webb. We performed it at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen and it was an amazing experience. The cast were all excellent and I’m eternally grateful to Vicki for giving me that part.

I didn’t know if I’d continue with acting at college after HNC but didn’t know what else I’d do so auditioned for one place: Langside College in Glasgow. Aberdeen didn’t do an HND and Glasgow seemed like an opportune place to start the academic year afresh and leave certain things behind.

Another audition. I performed an Emily Webb monologue and then did one from Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors” in my call back. I was sent away and received a letter in the post a month or so later saying I had got in.
I had mixed emotions about it. It’d be my first time living away from home which would be 150 odd miles away. My love life, which I’d pretty much entirely given up on, also started to plan out the way I hoped and I feared that moving all those miles away would ruin that. But I hoped for the best and I did it. I moved from tiny, wee, Tar-village all the way to Glasgow and into halls (which are a massive rip off by the way but my flatmates are nice.)
I now only have four months left of my HND acting course and as I’m fed up of education, the big, bad, “real” world is looming ever closer. I’ve been a dwarf in a panto and a big, fat, French gargoyle. I’ve learnt that Glaswegians like to say “but” a lot at the end of sentences and most importantly I’ve learnt how to ration pasta. It’s been an insightful year in Glasgow so far.
As I’m not going to college or Uni after this course, my plans are to AUDITION, AUDITION, AUDITION. Hopefully I’ll get an agent and hopefully someone will want to hire me. And hopefully I’ll be living in Edinburgh because I really like it there (even though it smells like Pot Noodles).

Lesson of life so far? Don’t forget where you came from. It could at least raise a few laughs. In my case, anyway.

Muchos love if you’ve read this whole thing.

Thanks and goodnight, goodbye etcetera. x