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June 15, 20190

act up is 20 years old this month, that means I have been working in the acting industry for 20 years, technically 28 if you include my time at The Almeida Theatre, insanity is a word that springs to mind. In that time I’ve met some amazing people and let’s say in that time I’ve met some ‘interesting’ people and overall have been consistently supported by the most incredible actors that have worked alongside me running all the courses and workshops, I can never thank you enough… all of you.

When I started act up I used to hilariously get a lot of fruity voices phoning up claiming they were interested in the courses, one was brave enough to say he was running something similar and was appalled I was doing the same because I wasn’t an actor….

I like many other women I am sure have continually had people phoning up to speak to the boss and really disappointed when the boss was a bird.

I have learnt a lot and continue to, I continue to work in different mediums including Love Art and currently operate out of Tooting Market. Some don’t get my need to work in different mediums, some have not understood that I am the same head if I worked in a shiny Soho office as I am in a market but I am someone that cannot pretend. I thrive amongst chaos, down to earth people and everyday life, shove me in an office and I’d last a day… shove me in an chaotic environment and you’ll get the best of me.

Like anyone, those that get me really get me and what I have and am doing with act up and those that don’t turn away and run.

I have cast, I have produced, I have run an extensive outreach programme for one of the drama schools and I have facilitated many, many workshops but rest assured I have never actually taught an acting workshop. Currently I mainly focus on the corporate side of act up and the agency but I am always open to new ideas so write them on a paper plane and send them down Tooting way.

Currently the difference between the olden days of act up and now is that when I had my daughter Inca I had to pretend she didn’t exist to get work, I never came across people with children and often questioned what I was doing but the culture is very different now and I am out and out open about the babe Kamsicho, as people phone me up they can hear him in the background and I make no apology and if I call a casting director I can often hear their children in the background and very recently had a very long chat with a director as we both had babies of the same age, we suddenly remembered we were meant to be talking about one of the actors in the agency.

So a big cheer and a thank you to everyone that has utilised the resources of act up and a special big cheer to the actors I have and do work with and all the actors I currently represent, I think you are all incredibly brave and brilliant… but I am waiting for my yacht so hurry up with winning those auditions. XXX



January 18, 20170

I’ve worked in this industry for more years than I will admit to myself now. I have never been comfortable with the industry, one of my catch phrases to describe it is ‘it’s a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the UK’ to me this sums it up perfectly. I founded act up to combat this inequality and racism, yes I will say the word ‘racism’ in this industry. I didn’t make a song and dance about it, just put out and waited and we have always attracted everyone because we have just put out and waited. I like to think we have always been honest and open with everyone about what the industry is really like, some don’t want to listen and some have gone out and I have witnessed the prejudice they have faced.

Over the years we have met many, many incredible people and some are now doing brilliantly well in the industry but one thing that has remained constant is the prejudice in this industry. As I moved into producing, occasional casting and now working as an agent this has been shoved rawly into my face on many occasions.

I could write a book on things that I have witnessed, the things that I have heard and each time I will challenge and optimistically hope that things will change. I have been told to shut up on many occasions but I won’t because in any other industry there would be tribunals for the things that I have witnessed.

It seemed that things were progressing a decade ago but right now we have all taken a huge step backwards. I stretch my brain trying to understand why so many of the ‘powers that be’ cannot see what they are doing when they exclude so many actors because they don’t look like themselves, lets face it most people in ‘power’ in this industry look like me.. Caucasian and middle class. When they use words like looking for more ‘diverse’ actors or use the word ethnic like they have some superior stance over everyone that isn’t ‘White’… it makes me angry, it makes me upset but I have ploughed on because as I said, I am a big believer in hope and hope that things will change.

Of course they’re not going to until there are a hell of a lot more people in power that don’t look like me; more consideration for everyone that works in this industry and more awareness that all of us are in this game to entertain the public. If never ceases to amaze me that so many people forget that we are all here for an audience. And yes that audience isn’t always going to look like you or me.

So please, please, please stand up and protest against Yellow Face tomorrow, otherwise I ask you one thing, why are you comfortable working in such a prejudiced industry?



August 23, 20160

So I haven’t been an agent for that long in the grand  scheme of agenting..  that’s a new word by the way but I have seen a lot happen to my very lovely clients in that time.

I’ve also seen the prejudice and I’ve seen the political moves made by a very bizarre industry on countless occasions but I’ve also witnessed some genius directors and casting directors who can see what I can see in all that I represent.

And overall the moral is keep going, hang on in there as you never quite know what’s around the corner.

And to my clients, I think you’re all wonderful, brave and a lot more patient than me.

X X X

 



March 18, 20160

The beginning of this year I got a call from a gentleman called Roi who runs Tooting Market, a unit was available did I want it?

Of course I did.  After a month of hard graft and a hell of a lot of help from some amazing people Love Art has a home.

Love Art runs art classes for children and adults, sells affordable prints and beautiful things, I run it with Claire Rudkin who also designs in film and television.   The Market houses me pretty much everyday.  I run act up from it, I run the agency from it, I produce from it and I meet and greet many incredible people each day.

My ambitions are to run a huge arts centre, so I figured I needed experience in pretty much every field of the arts.

Also I can only do down to earth, the acting profession can get very intense and very boring for the rest of the planet who have no interest in such a strange hybrid.  I figured if I worked amongst everybody it could only do good and it’s already paying off.

So if you want a bit of everything, come and find us down the market, you might be surprised what you find. X

 



January 8, 20160

After having recently witnessed someone dramatically embellish  their CV presumably to increase the chance of fame, I cannot understand why else they did it.  It’s made me question again the reason why some people decide to follow the acting path in the first place.

At the end of the You Want To Act? course I ‘deliver’ a long speech about the truth behind the acting profession and what it really entails.  I encourage everyone to climb up their metaphorical tree and think long and hard before they embark on their journey.  My usual quip is, never do it because you want to become rich and famous, you have more chance of your fifteen minutes of fame if you ran stark, bollock naked down Oxford Street.

Acting is an art form, it’s one of the most creative fields and it should be a calling.  It should be something you know from your guts that you have to pursue without possibly a logical reason behind it.  And of course it has to be something you enjoy.  To all the actors I represent I remind them and they remind me that we are all in it for the long-game and we’re in it because it’s what we’ve chosen to do with our lives.

I have seen incredible things happen to incredible people that have attended act up courses and I have seen people enjoy the courses but think that life as an actor isn’t for them, both are very valid, of course.  And overall I notice that those that do go on to make a career as an actor are doing it for themselves.  You can’t pursue a career as an actor if you’re doing it to impress others, to give you more street cred, to look ‘different’ infront of your peers.  It has to be your choice and yours alone and then you’ve got to go at it all guns blazing.

So I say again, what is it we all want, we all know which way Oxford Street lies or we perhaps all need to climb up our trees for a tiny bit longer than usual.

Overall, please look after yourselves – you all deserve long lasting happiness.

 



December 31, 20150

So are you going to finally take the plunge and take the acting course you’ve always wanted to try, are you going to finally own up and declare to the world that you want to work as an actor or are you going to finally take the bull by the horns and really push forwards your acting career?

I’ve always felt funny about making New Year’s resolutions…  it’s like setting yourself up for inevitable disappointment because following a list never tends to work in the end.

But, and it’s a big but, if you really want a new and improved you then you’ve got to make yourself do things you’re not normally comfortable with.  Charge at the things that fill you with fear, try the things that you’ve always wanted to do that the ‘control’ has always finally prevented you from doing in the past.

You’re capable of doing anything you put your mind to.

I’m in correspondance with lovely people that want to take the courses but admit they’re too scared to take the plunge.  We all understand that and as I say to everyone, the scariest part of any of our courses is the first journey to the first class, after that it’s going to get easier and easier and better and better.

2016 for me involves setting up a new business, yes you’d have thought I’d have learnt by now, running your own business is hard but I hate the idea of not giving it a go..

So are you going to join me and give what you’ve always wanted to do a go?

Have a lovely New Year and as an encouragement to your 2016 we’re offering a 30% discount on all our January courses. Just type NEW YEAR into the coupon box when you check out on New Year’s Day.

Gemma X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



December 2, 20150

It’s very easy for all of us to wallow in the familiarity of our everyday lives, we know somewhere inside that we should be challenging ourselves but our overriding sense is to keep on the tracks we’ve always known.

If we really want to push ourselves then we are going to have to be prepared to jump into that void, the void that could mean we could end up falling off the tracks and falling flat on our arses, but so what we haven’t really lost anything by bumping down to ground.

I find in the current climate, people are incredibly reluctant to step out of line; stand up for what they really believe in.  A culture of fear has been orchestrated and we’ve all bought into it.

So next time we see something that we have secretly always wanted to do, don’t hesitate but run fast towards it.  Stand up for what you believe in and is it a deal, shall we challenge ourselves to do something different every day?

Let me know how you get on.

 

 



November 10, 20150

In a unique collaboration between Love Art and act up, we are running a self-portrait drawing class for actors.

Drawing is such a natural process that we have and do engage with all of the time, but have you ever stopped to consider who you really are?

Drawing from life can be challenging in a brilliant way, look once and you think you’ve captured what you see, look again and the whole image has changed again.  Drawing from life requires focus, discipline and determination, sound like anything else?

Drawing yourself is a very revealing process and I bet you don’t know what you really look like until you sit down and really face yourself with a mirror, a  paper and a pencil.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never formally drawn before, it’s really true that everyone can draw, we’ll prove it to you and towards the end of the class all the portraits will be proudly hung on the wall and you’ll increasingly see the similarities between being yourself as much as possible as an actor and really proudly knowing who you really are.

The 2-hour class runs on Saturday 5th December, midday-2.00pm at Route To Juice in Tooting.  All materials will be provided and you’ll be under the professional guidance of artist Claire Rudkin, who runs Love Art with Gemma Lloyd who will also be discussing the need to be yourself as much as possible as an actor in the casting process towards the end of the workshop.

All for just £16.00 and you’ll also of course get to keep your masterpieces.

Draw, enjoy, be creative and understand yourself even more.

To enrol click HERE and hit the £16 button let us know if you have any questions.

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November 2, 20150

I am obsessed by Fear, I see it all the time and it’s something we’ve got to learn to embrace more and more.

Without Fear there is no impetus to continue driving forward and if you work as an actor that’s something you’ve really got to do.

That’s the positive side of Fear the negative side of course is something that can eat you alive it’s also something that continually frustrates me.

I regularly see people that are desperate to engage in courses both with act up and Love Art that don’t because that voice in all our heads start to talk too loudly.

“You’re only going to look stupid”

Really, you want to do that course, how do you know it’s any good, looks too expensive to me…

“YOU, you think you can be an actor -Ha.”

“Draw, you can’t draw, everyone is clearly going to be better than you’.

So of course I am going to say ignore it, but what I also see is that children simply don’t have this voice, they are happy to jump into everything and I so wish we were a all a little bit more like children.

The best things always come out of leaping into the unknown, so I say embrace that FEAR and dive in, what’ve you got to loose?

 



September 10, 20150

1 – Keep going, it is one of the toughest industries going, but I see too many people give up too soon.. so hang on in there, you never know what might happen.

2 – Straddle your day job and your acting by giving an equal balance of energy to both. It’s incredibly hard I know, you have to keep down a full time job as well as being available for acting work all of the time????

Indeed ??? is the right answer.. if you want it bad enough you’ll find a way. Get into a routine where you spend at least an hour a day looking at all the on-line casting services you subscribe too and if you have an agent they’ll be doing their bit too.

3 – Most important thing an actor should possess is a brilliant photo. Don’t make it fancy, don’t try and project certain characteristics towards the camera, let the photographer find you and that way you’ll ensure the photograph will represent how we see you, you want it to be you warts and all.

4 – A showreel, a lot of actors find it frustrating ‘obtaining’ a showreel.. However you do it, please make sure it is real work and not you and a mate in a studio. Frustrating because of lot of being an actor is chicken and egg. But if you consider the ‘other side’ they need to see what you like on camera before they pull you in.

5 – How do I find work?
It’s the million dollar question, part two of this I’ll give you more clues.

But do let me know if you have any questions, or let me know how you’re doing with it all.