“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us”
Gandalf, LORD OF THE RINGS
There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has presented a formidable challenge for artists across the globe. For actors it has been no different. How can actors best leverage the time given to them during Covid-19 to enhance their craft? How can they overcome the mental challenges associated with isolation?
We touched base with our Diploma of Screen Acting 10065NAT Screenwise Founder’s Scholarship 2018 recipient Harry Green to learn more about his experience during Covid19, and how he’s made the most out of his time during isolation.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you as an actor as you were going through the motions of Covid?
The biggest challenge was getting past the feeling that everything was about to lift off for me. I had just booked my first lead in an Australian feature film that was scheduled to shoot in Western Australia. I had gone through the motions so that I was ready to film, and focused on strict health and fitness routines to be prepared for the role. Then in the weeks leading up to filming – lockdown laws and isolation struck. Getting over that hurdle was big and it was frustrating to a degree. But I had to stop and ask myself, “Okay, so what’s next?”. I don’t think anyone was prepared for Covid, but what mattered were the questions we asked ourselves on the journey moving through isolation.
How have you been working on your craft during your time in Iso?
Apart from the continued rehearsals over Zoom for the feature film, I managed to do so much more than expected during isolation. You know the things that you tell yourself you’re too “busy” for? One particular highlight for me was becoming more versed with a range of film classics I wasn’t familiar with previously. It provided me with an opportunity to explore these films through the lens of the actor, with much reference to my studies and knowledge of the craft. I also took the reading a variety of books that played a huge role in sparking my imagination. Reading gives you a great opportunity to reflect, and reinforces the beauty of patience.
What is the most important lesson or revelation you have had as an actor during iso?
I think iso has reiterated how important it is to take charge of your own creative life. Taking charge of your creative life often requires you to be committed to keeping the flame of your artistic and professional spirit alive. If you don’t claim responsibility for keeping that flame alive, it’s more than likely going to blow out. You can’t expect others to be responsible for your own destiny or what you do with the time that is given to you. You need to take charge – especially in the most challenging of times. Acting for me is more than simply jumping in front of the camera. It’s everything you do when the cameras aren’t rolling that makes a difference when they do roll. You need to enrich your creative life by exploring the world around you. Sparking your curiosity can inspire you in endless ways, and the time given to us during Covid gave me the opportunity to capitalise on that curiosity. I found so much value in learning a new language, reading books and playing my guitar. I even bought an old school 35mm film camera that I continue to get a real kick out of. All these activities have made my life more colourful and it’s majorly impacted my approach in the audition room.
I have been able to add so many different strokes to my craft as a result of the experiences that I continue to explore and reflect upon. I also discovered the fine art of patience in the process of learning new skills and thoughts. I believe patience is an important virtue for artists to embrace, as it provides the mental space to explore what matters – and that’s the craft.
I really owe it to Screenwise and Denise Roberts for many of the professional skills I learnt throughout the Diploma of Screen Acting. The course really gave me the discipline I needed to incite my continued development and learning as an actor.
What’s your advice to other actors in order to motivate them during their time in iso?
I think my advice would be to simply live life. If you embrace the challenging and rewarding moments in your life, you’ll be forced to experience new things that can impact your work on screen. Living life certain leads to something special, and you’ll find out just by doing it. Although iso has been an opportunity for many to ‘recharge’ and do nothing, I found more value in celebrating perseverance by continuing to cultivate my creative and professional journey. Go out there and learn that skill or that accent. Tend to the tools of your trade by working on your voice and keeping fit. Don’t fall asleep with the rest of the world. Go out there and find that edge that will make you stand out when it matters most. You never know what might be around the corner.
You can learn more about Harrison’s Journey at Screenwise below! Applications for the Diploma of Screen Acting 2021 intake open on 1st September 2020.