Stuck in Acting Limbo? Make your own content: Highlighting the intriguing little short film from Graduating Student, Maria Busz

The Problem: Rejection, reduced opportunity, ‘acting limbo’

Let’s face it, acting is a tough gig. Study after study reveals the difficulty of making it in the industry. But forget about ‘making it’. Even establishing yourself in a meaningful way in the industry, (by which is meant, making enough money to survive on a minimum wage!) is a dream for many would be actors.

In the acting industry, the path after graduation is a shaky one. This is also even the case for actors who have completed training at one of the top tier Drama Schools. Top tier Drama Schools offer graduates the opportunity to be represented by one of a few key talent agents in the industry. Yet even then, the likelihood of one gaining meaningful employment, let alone popular success remains small. Forward thinking schools, have created alternative support programs to help their students’ succeed in the industry. (Our own Film Acting and Film Production program was created to provide our actors with the opportunity to star in short and feature film projects). But even then, the ability to earn a wage from your work as an actor, remains an elusive dream for many but a very few lucky ones.

For actors outside of training institutions, the chances of success are indeed very slim. Yet despite the dismal prospects, many young and new actors throw themselves into the industry, taking all requisite steps in the meantime, to ensure better chances of success.

One of the ways to improve your chances is simply, not to give up. While this is an oft quoted mantra that becomes the central thesis of many public speeches by renowned celebrities on the matter of success, many actors find it in fact very hard not to give up, in the face of continuous disappointment and rejection.

It isn’t just rejection that actors and new graduates need to contend with today. The pandemic has led to massive closures across the industry and it would not be an exaggeration to say the performing arts have been (temporarily we hope) razed to the ground. Theatre, live venues and interactive performances have ground to a halt, taking away many of the already small opportunities open to the many actors and new graduates joining the industry every year.

So how can young actors and graduates keep going in the face of rejection and reduced opportunity? And for actors who are working in the industry, how can you remain positive and continue building on your career during what are often, long dry spells between gigs?

The Solution: Create your own stuff!

There are many reasons why this is a good idea. Firstly, it is an important weapon against rejection wearing away at your creative spirit. Artists have a need to express themselves and to create. It is essential to their creative spirit, their psyche and mental health that they remain positive. Importantly, to survive the industry, even at the best of times, it is important that they can stay inspired and be in a state of positive creation. Call it what you may, keeping the fire alive, keeping the creative juices flowing, however you choose to term the artist’s desire for creation, it is absolutely imperative for many reasons to maintain it.

Secondly, creating your own content, is empowering, it leaves you with a sense of accomplishment which is a real confidence booster. In better times, or when you are next called in to perform this confidence will serve you thus bettering your chances of further success.

Finally, one should not neglect the content you have created; your content, whether it is a short film, video blog, composition, sketch or pilot, is a valuable artistic product. You may be able to submit it to film festivals, or share it among your supporters, peers and collaborators. It also also become a new opportunity to present yourself to casting directors and talent agents.

It is for these reasons that we at the Actors Door Studio, strongly encourage our actors to create their own content. We believe in fostering our actors with the will and determination to see them through questionable moments of self doubt and during downturns in opportunity.

Recently, we saw one of our graduating actors create a brilliant short film. The piece is a sinister look into ‘the familiar’.

We were so impressed by Maria’s work, we wanted to share it with the wider Actors Door Studio community.

We asked Maria, who will be graduating next year, to share with us her inspirations for making the film.

Short Film: BODY SCAN by Maria Busz

“Body scan” is a three-minute horror film, a solo project created during lockdown.

The short follows a young woman discovering the danger that hides in the safety of her own home.

Q: What inspired you to make the short?

I’ve been thinking about making my own short film projects for a while and the quarantine finally pushed me to actually do it. Self-tapes and Zoom play reads weren’t as interesting to me as they were in the beginning of the pandemic, so I decided to take on the challenge of making a short film by myself.

I believe that rather than waiting for the phone to ring actors should learn how to create their own content. There will be “dry” periods in your career, so instead of allowing the frustration to build up you can use this time to bring some of your ideas to life.

Q: Why did you choose the horror genre?

I’ve always loved horror books and movies and the creativity of this genre. It can also be very budget-friendly. Horror can be very effective with very little props or without breath-taking CGI, so it’s great for people who are just starting out.

Q: What did your process look like?

First, I had to write down the idea, then the script. I ordered some gear that I needed and looked around the house for other objects I could use for lighting etc. I made a quick storyboard and tested out some shots. It was definitely a trial and error process. Editing took me a couple of hours and I had to reshoot some stuff as well, but the whole thing took less than two days.

It was a fun process and I’ll definitely continue making my own content as an actor. I encourage other actors to do that as well!

Maria, you have done an excellent job!

Enjoy Maria’s film below…

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