I’m a graduate

Last week I finally graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as a trained actor. I’m certified, baby!

Akuc RCS graduation

It’s been a really impactful journey these last three years of drama school and I’m so happy that I decided to train up north in Glasgow. I feel like I’ve grown a lot and absorbed so much in terms of acting and in terms of just living life on my terms.

So, what are my plans as a graduate? Enjoy the freedom, that’s for sure. I have my sights set on going on holiday in September or October. I’m thinking somewhere warm and sunny. Wherever the world will take me, I’ll be ready.

I’m back on the blogging wave now that I’m not so busy with school, so that will take some of my time, too. I’ll be continuing to read a book per week and since I’m in London I can go back to my Dinka classes.

I’m not too sure what the rest of my year will look like – I’ll have to take a moment next week to really visualise and decide on how things should go – but what I do know is that I need to prepare myself (mentally and physically) for something big, something extraordinary!

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A sense of urgency

An important thing to consider when pursuing your goals is your level of urgency.

A sense of urgency comes from having the drive and determination to see things through, and I believe it can only come when your goal is: a) challenging enough that you need to take a leap of faith, and b) exciting enough to keep you feeling stimulated along the way.

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Start with the end in mind

I was recently having a conversation with a friend about this principle and because it is such a powerful one, I wanted to share my thoughts on it.

Starting with the end in mind is all about developing and specifying what your destination and your objective look like. The more precise you are with this vision, the easier it is to achieve it.

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I had an audition last week and it didn’t go well.

I had an audition last week and it didn’t go well.

Yesterday I received feedback from the casting director who said my performance was underprepared. I was disappointed when I heard this, not because I was offended but because it was absolutely true.

Let me take you through my audition prep: receives the script, waits 4 days before reading it, reads it once, look at my lines a few times. Job done. I left the audition room looking and feeling pathetic.

The role was for a lead part at a big theatre in London and the way I treated the audition was not on par with the quality of work produced there.

It’s embarrassing to think that a big casting director thought I wasn’t very good, and it’s not what I want people to say about me as an actor. Though this obviously isn’t the end of the world, I will not allow myself to repeat this again. I take full responsibility.

In order to move forward, I’m flipping this experience into a positive.

*Opens window, exhales negative energy and inhales gratitude.*

What I can do now is reevaluate my game plan. I want to finish drama school very strong. I want to feel proud of myself knowing that I worked my ass off and did the best I could, so I’ve got to prepare for that.

That means showing up with the right attitude – a professional attitude. That means doing all the prep and research before I get to the rehearsal room. And above all, it means enjoying the process. The same principles apply to all future auditions as well.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic walking away from auditions or meetings or the rehearsal room knowing that I performed at my best and left a great impression?

This lesson has come at a good time where I need to be consistent with what I’m offering as an actor and in my efforts, ensuring that my identity and self-image are in total alignment with my actions.

My first motivational speech at Parliament Hill School

A few days ago I visited my former secondary school, Parliament Hill School, to give a talk entitled “Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams” to about 150+ students in Year 11. The talk was about self-belief and why it’s so necessary to invest in your skills, dreams and talent.

This event was my first official speaking engagement and I loved every minute of it. I managed to address the young students with authority and conviction in a warm, friendly style.

PARLI

Outside the doors of Parliament Hill School

I wanted to give the talk because I remembered how tough it can be as a young person looking ahead and having to make a million decisions about what to do and where to go in the future. Throughout my teenage years I was lucky enough to have been pushed in the right direction, and so today, being in a position to reap the rewards, it’s a message I’m determined to share with others.

Following my talk, it was suggested by members of staff that I become a governor of the school. Now I don’t know what that will really entail, but it does sound pretty fancy, right? I’m going to pretend the role comes with a fabulous title and that I get to wear lots of faux fur and sit on the iron throne sipping on champagne…

My return to Parliament Hill School meant I could catch up briefly with a few of my ex-teachers. A highlight of the day was conversing in French with my former French teacher as confidently and as accurately as a native speaker. Let me tell you I was feeling myself because I proved that I could go all the way. I did it, I never gave up, and nothing could taste sweeter!!!

Next up, I’ve got a Q&A with young, aspiring actors in Derby this weekend with Open Door, an organisation supporting young people to gain access to drama school. It’s an informal event with about 6 or 7 budding actors, but I believe my experience both during and before drama school can help clarify the role and journey of an actor, and hopefully motivate the kids to reach for the stars.

2019 will exceed all expectations

HAPPY NEW YEAR! WOOHOO! WE MADE IT!

I really feel it in my core that 2019 is going to be crazy incredible. Looking back on the last year, regardless of what happened around me, I always felt pretty good.

So, looking ahead now at this fresh start and new perspective, I’ve got 6 specific goals that I’ll be working on in 2019 to push myself further. Here we go!

  1. Set quarterly and monthly goals and review them daily.
  2. Keep a health journal
  3. Practice self-care
  4. Maintain a positive and optimistic attitude
  5. Learn Dinka
  6. Read a book per week

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A look back at 2018

So what were my main objectives in 2018? Did I succeed or did I fail? Here’s my honest reflection on my goals for the year.

 

In 2018 I wanted to:

1. Learn to speak Dinka

2. Take weekly dance classes

3. Travel outside of Europe at least once

4. Develop my spirituality and faith

5. Be open, positive and optimistic

 

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Reading my old blog posts

I’ve been reading some of the entries from my beginner days on WordPress way back in early 2015. I created my blog to talk about my goals and share my journey with absolutely anyone who’d care to listen!

In my earlier posts I was mostly focussing on getting into drama school and preparing for a solid career as an actor. Four years later, so much has happened in my life and so much has changed: some downs, but many, many, many more ups. Thankfully.

I’m so proud to say that my fighting spirit hasn’t left me. I’m still advancing in my acting career and my self-belief has never been stronger. Continue reading