This year, has forced actors to reimagine our industry and what it means to create. We had to build virtual spaces for a new way of doing things and as always, actors and creators rose to the occasion with great patience, resilience and passion.
As a team we’ve constantly been inspired by the art that’s came out of such a difficult year, and so as part of our own yearly reflection, we decided to reach out to some fellow actor friends and ask them:
How did you manage to stay creative in quarantine and what did you learn along the way?
Here is what they had to say…
COMMUNITY & COLLABORATION
It truly is the foundation of any artist. We learn together, we create together. Even when socially distant, we had no choice but to stay connected and community & collaboration became more important than ever.
Ryan Thurman worked on a completely virtual “Quaran-Stream” production of Les Misérables. He told us that the virtual projects where not easy, but very rewarding in the end. “Essentially, everyone was learning the “what” & “how” of doing it, together. It was always a collaborative learning process, which is how I feel art should always have the opportunity to be.”
“I was able to stay creative in quarantine by building a community of actors, writers, and creators with my group SOCIALLY ISOLATED SCRIPT READINGS where I would bring new scripts to actors all over the country and digitally bring them to life each week! … a weekly game of D&D has also helped keep me stay creative, connected, and imaginative each week!” – Michael Perrie Jr.
SELF-CARE & NOT FORCING IT
Something we heard from almost everyone we spoke to was SELF-CARE! While it can mean different things to different people, it is crucial for any artist and honestly just any person trying to survive adulthood (& a global pandemic.) Taking the time to step away, do what feels good and release any societal pressure is a true gift.
“I focused on not doing anything that I didn’t truly want to do. I made sure in quarantine that my focus would be on myself instead of the struggle to please the outside world” – Ryan Thurman
“My biggest piece of self-care is not forcing my art. When I wasn’t feeling like practicing, I didn’t practice. However, I took full advantage of the times that I DID want to practice, and it made the process much more enjoyable and hopeful. The freedom that comes with not forcing something is not only applicable to my artistic life, but to my day to day life, too” – Patrick Steven Bovo
“Honestly I’ve not put a lot of effort into staying creative! I’ve been happy to take stock and catch up of years of film and tv I’ve missed.” – Rhys Jones
IMAGINATION & GETTING CRAFTY
Auditions were few and being on set was almost nonexistent. That left many artists wondering “okay, now what?” Pivoting, finding new creative outlets and checking things off the long ignored to-do list was another way many actors found their creative mojo this year.
For Madison Eastman, it was all about “getting crafty” …literally. She focused a lot of her creative quarantine energy into giving her crafting YouTube Channel and Instagram a major overhaul. “It was something I had wanted to do for a long time, but never took the time to pull it all together. Crafting has always been a passion of mine and something that brings me a lot of joy. Giving my craft room a makeover and being able to grow my platforms was a big highlight to the year and it helped me to stay creative and use my imagination even when I couldn’t be acting and performing. I learned that it was so important to find and EMBRACE that joy anywhere and everywhere I could.”
“I wanted to stay creative during quarantine, but with the industry being shut down I knew I had to find a different way to do it. For me, that looked like writing and filming a scene for my reel, being a part of Zoom table reads of new and existing projects to collaborate with friends virtually and going on a LOT of walks. I started my children’s reading series, Rebecca Reads, back up on Youtube, reading stories featuring female protagonists and discussing issues like bullying, acceptance, and anxiety. The most rewarding part for me has been getting emails from teachers and organizations, asking if they could share my videos with their students.” – Rebecca Knowles
“I’ve found time in lockdown to start some online acting courses as well as getting together new material for my showreel” – Atta Yaqub
“Despite losing conventional forms of acting, singing and creativity – being forced to stay home opened up whole new outlets for it which have been pretty thrilling to play around with. Since we have social media in such a big way right now, there are free global stages to create for. I’ve loved getting craftier than I used to have time for – literally and figuratively – and creating entire backdrops, recreating my favorite movie scenes, recording a video Christmas Album and making a recycled cardboard miniature small world. Hopefully these will manifest into bigger projects post Covid” – Katie Oxman
For some Actors we spoke to they really struggled to stay creative this year and the key message we’d like to send out is not be hard on yourself about it. It’s okay to take breaks. It’s okay to step away and there is no need to compare yourself to anyone else. You are an artist always, even when you don’t feel like one and your creativity will be there waiting for you when you are ready to tap into it.
Chatting with all of these amazing actors showed us that we all got through this year in our own way. We all found our joy and solace in different places and that deserves to be celebrated. With the strength of our community, a little self-care and a lot of imagination we will continue to pave our new paths forward.
Always hopeful and we can’t wait to see what’s next for you all!
Join the community and conversation at Actors Pro Expo Virtual February 11th-13th. A chance to come together, connect, learn and make 2021 count.