365 Days…Go!

“I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: Entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”

– Stan Lee

A Dream of a Thousand Cats

Chuffed to finally share my part in The Sandman on Netflix: A Dream of a Thousand Cats (adapted from Neil Gaiman’s original DC comic book series). I got to work with terrific director, Hisko Hulsing, in his unique style that mixes live action and animation (more on Hisko’s process at Cartoon Brew – you may recognise his visually striking films from other work like Undone on Amazon Prime).

In A Dream of a Thousand Cats I play the physical part of Don (voiced by David Tennant), husband to Laura Lynn and owner of the Tabby Kitten. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was ‘married’ to a familiar face, having previously worked with the magic Louise Williams (Laura Lynn) in Secret Cinemas: Blade Runner back in 2018.

With Louise Williams on the set of The Sandman: A Dream of a Thousand Cats at Shepperton Studios, July 2021.

I think it was mostly my looong legs that got me the part, though having a background in physical theatre and mime does come in handy when working imaginatively on a chroma-key set with only a few bits of bright blue or green furniture and a whole lot of tape marking out where there might be a wall, door or a little cat sleeping…and dreaming.

I must give a shout out to Lucinda Syson Casting for inviting me to audition, my team at WBM for hooking me up with this part, and my self-tape muse, Jo Gale who gave an excellent read on my audition tape (as always!)

Onwards and upwards.

Magic, God and Perfection

VVG 1886

“I was devastated, and wrote the passage to remind myself and anyone else struggling through a similar hardship that an artist’s relationship to their art is a uniquely precious experience, and while it comes with many sacrifices, it is ultimately worth pursuing.”

– David Ackert

Who is this and what are they talking about? Once upon a time, an actor, David Ackert wrote an inspired paragraph that has become a bit of a mantra in the acting/creative community. It goes like this:

"Actors are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, actors face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they'll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every role, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life - the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because actors are willing to give their entire lives to a moment - to that line, that laugh, that gesture, or that interpretation that will stir the audience's soul. Actors are beings who have tasted life's nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another's heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes."
VVG 1887

Very uplifting. And here’s the kicker – David Ackert retired from the entertainment industry in 2009 when:

“I discovered that I could create, perform, and produce original content in the business world. Once I learned how to broaden my definition of success, I gained access to opportunities that were much more attainable than Hollywood stardom. Now I channel my creativity on my own terms.”

What is my definition of success? Is it broad enough? Am I being creative on my own terms? Am I being creative? Am I dedicating myself to a limited/limiting idea of success? What can I change? What will bring me closer to “that crystal moment”?

VVG 1889

Thanks to:

Marci Liroff’s article in Backstage about Ackert’s quote and Terry D. on Twitter where I first saw the quote mentioned.