• Jon Campbell Acting Classes

  • I think congratulations are in order. I don’t keep a tally of how many people I’ve taught that have entered this or that accredited Drama School. I think, probably all the so-called top schools have accepted at least one person. I probably don’t keep a tally as I regard the vast majority of drama schools as shit, useful yes, but shit nonetheless. These days they seem to be in it for the money, (how much does RADA charge for an audition? Really? An audition???? Talk about being up its own ass! Never mind the art, just hand over your dosh!).  Highway robbery, preying on youthful naivete and long-cherished dreams. I could go on. Won’t. Feel like it. I can sense my teeth sharpening. Not the place though. Some other time.

     

    For now, this is all about congratulations. Btw, did you go to a Casting Director’s Workshop this weekend?  Silly sod. That’s going to take you a long way. Might as well have stayed an extra hour in bed then got up and with the money you’ve saved bought yourself a coffee and a bun. OK, I guess you’re entitled to your fantasies. “But it’s a really good casting director. She/he/it has cast for blabbity, blabbity.” Yeah, but they ain’t gonna cast you. “But they’re a really good casting director, honest. Must be. They charge $500 a pop.” Are you stupid or something? You don’t even have a decent agent. You’re nobody. Who cares! This is business. “But come to the workshop anyway. I’ll relieve you of your dosh whilst you’re boosting my already pretty damned inflated ego.” This is something else I could go on about. Won’t. Some other time.

     

    For now, this is all about congratulations. What’s that? You have a casting and were working on the sides you’d been sent over the weekend? You had a lot of preparation to do. Had to re-acquaint yourself with Stanislavski, with Meisner with, (drum roll), THE METHOD. Gurus. You’ve bought into the cult. And you actually think that it will make you a better actor? Think again. If you were shit before reading An Actor Prepares, you’ll be shit afterwards. You can delude yourself all you like. “Hey, I’ve read everything there is to read on brain surgery, I must be a damned hot brain surgeon by now, mustn’t I?!” Forgive me but go practice on somebody else. Bottom line: If you can’t act, you can’t act. Get over it. And if you can’t successfully navigate the industry you’re, well, you’re probably lost. I could talk a lot about this too. I will if I can get my lazy ass together sometime. It’s worth a few words I think.

     

    For now, though, this is all about congratulations. And I guess I’d finally better get to the point eh?  The photographs above. To the left, Vivien Monory. To the right, David King. Please don’t confuse them. Recently, Vivien returned from a field trip to the States, at her own expense. While there she met Players, – folks from ICM, Gersh and so on along with Producers actively engaged in developing product. She set up about ten meetings in all and came back a client of Don Buchwald and Associates, a very classy agent. She received further interest from other agencies and has a whole stack of contacts for her back pocket. Vivien is very ambitious. If, in another life, Stanislavski had turned to her and said, “‘Ere, Viv, this is the way to do it,” all she would have needed to do in reply was say, “Will it get me work, Stan? If not, fuck off and drink your vodka!” And she would have done too. I’ve never heard her say, “I can’t,” make this an excuse, that an excuse, claim she’d first have to train for another ten years before she’d feel ready. She went out and did it, simple and as difficult as that. Why? Because she also wants to be a Player, that’s why. Sure, there’s still a long way to go but she has the right mind-set. She has my respect.

     

    David King. A couple of years ago he almost died. I thought, that’s that then, a passing ship in the night, I can cross ‘im off. But he didn’t die. He fought through his illness and came back stronger. He’s been producing these SWEETIES events showcasing performance, the third one will play at the Camden Fringe in August. Do any of you have any idea just how hard it is to produce, errr, anything? Just getting more than two people in the same room at the same time is a task! David could just have said, “I’ve been ill….I’d like to but I can’t…I’ve been ill…I almost died.” Awww diddums. But, stating the obvious, he didn’t die. He showed backbone, courage and determination and he, like Vivien, is fighting for what he wants to achieve. He too wants to be a Player and he’s working at it, no excuses, no self-justification, (in addition he recently suffered a family bereavement). Who knows, at this rate he might even end up owning a West End Theatre and we’ll all be approaching him for space. He has my respect.

     

    My advice to you people out there who are messing around obediently doing what you’ve been told you should be doing for so long, is that you seek out Vivien and David and rub shoulders with them for a bit. Some sense might actually rub off.

     

    So, there you go. After a couple of creaky starts this has indeed ended up being a happy congratulations page. And very well deserved.