Last night I went to a ReelWomen.org event, where the speakers were two of the blokes from the Wire In The Blood BBC television series -- director Declan O'Dwyer and producer Bill Boyes.
Bill and Declan are in Austin, because they're filming an episode of Wire in Austin, with Texas actors and crew. this is a big deal, as a BBC television episode is feature-length, so this is a movie, shot with Texas talent.
The two of them were phenomenally forthcoming with insight into their history in the Biz, British differences (surprising number of parallels to us across the pond), and advice for actors and other Biz folks.
And they were absolutely hilarious. We're talking an updated British Amos 'n Andy vibe, with meaty content for an actor hungry to get better and meet new people.
The two were also pleasantly self-deprecating, which is ironic considering they're really big guns in the industry (Boyes is a lifetime journalist / producer who was a one-time exec for the BBC, and O'Dwyer is one of the most sought-after directors in the UK, working non-stop across multiple projects (including the British Robin Hood series, which I love) for the last five years straight.
One of the things that struck me about the evening was the almost spot-on parallels (in particular) between Declan's advice for actors, and my current coach's (Steve Prince) philosophy (which, while Meisner-based, is supplemented with things he's learned over the years in the Biz).
What stuff in particular?
Declan said acting is weird, because "You're telling lies. But you still have to be truthful about it." This is a akin to Steve's definition of acting as "Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances."
There was also a lot of talk about making a break into the industry via authentic relationship building (longtime followers know how this strikes a chord with me).
And there was a breakdown of the difference between knowing the mechanics of acting, and the danger of making those a bigger priority than being in the scene. It's about being connected to the people in the room, in the scene, or in your head (depending on the situation) in a real, "organic" (overused industry buzzword) way. And you'll see that in folks' eyes. When it's off, it's what my coach calls, "Dead shark eyes." And you need both the connection at the mechanics.
Afterwards, I hung out and chatted ("bunnied", "rabbited") with Bill and Declan to say thanks for the gift of sharing their insight with around a hundred Austin actors and industry folks, and to wish them well on the shoot. They're both very pleasant, very approachable, and very funny. Good folks.
I also really like the premise underneath Coastal Productions, the company behind Wire In The Blood, and co-founded by series star Robson Green. It's a successful company, with at least one of its goals being "supporting local young people who want to get into the industry."
And I ran into a ton of acting friends and acquaintances last night, which I love. I so enjoy getting my hug on with these amazingly talented folks with which my life has been blessed.
Good times ...