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Features/Archive

Welcome to the Features/Archive section. Here you will find a selection of Victoria Atkin interviews and news articles, including interviews relating to Hollyoaks character Jason Costello. You can also find other news articles at: http://www.jascostellofans.webs.com/ 

 

Performer's Perspective 

Pilot Season in America 

Victoria Atkin, 'The Stage' 19th June 2013

Pilot Season – two words readily associated with actors and America.

Like many things in life, in order to really know what something means, sometimes you have to abandon the books and experience it.

I wanted to give readers an honest overview on the pros and cons of Pilot Season for a British actor.

If you are daring enough to take the chance, strap yourself firmly into your seat on the roller coster, because you are in for a white knuckle ride.

Leaving on a one-way flight with Air NewZealand I gaily stepped up to the check-in desk with my guitar (which I am still learning, so I didn’t have the option to busk if things got tough) a large suitcase (which was definitely overweight) my laptop (my international actors office) and one bag of hand luggage with my golden ticket – my passport and US visa.

I departed into the unknown on January 8, 2013 and I was nervous. I had sold my car. Changed up my savings and the items I had with me, formed a survival kit, until, I decided, that a production company would fly me home.

One major thing I learned is that Pilot Season is not for the faint hearted. The first leap is the hardest and it will test your strength, challenge your talent and really question your faith.

Having spent four months across the pond I can reassure you that if you have a good agent and a great work ethic, including a positive and motivated mindset you can rest assure you will have little sleep, little food and little time to socialise.

If, like me, you know that there is nothing else you would rather be doing than acting then the deprivations of this are worth the effort. I would love to know if your experiences of Pilot Season have been similar?

Going in to meetings with the vice presidents of casting at major networks, stepping foot in the big studios and meeting producers in Hollywood, regularly auditioning and being in class doing what you love every day, makes every ounce of hard work worth it.

From my experience of treading the path I would offer this; If you are not quite ready. Be ready. Get in shape, Have your visa, be honest with yourself about whether your American accent is good enough to compete against those that having been speaking it for as long as you have been alive and then … jump and don’t look back.

 

Performer's Perspective 

Looking after your voice

Victoria Atkin, 'The Stage' 18th April 2013 

Today I'm embracing a very rare occurrence. I am  immersed in a state of bunged-upness, complimented by a persistent tickly cough which is rapidly throwing me into a state of grogginess. I'm positively looking at my life very un-positively.

I hadn't planned for this. I'm mid-way through reading an audio book, which has to match my usually upbeat, husky tones. I have narrated the first half of the book, which has already been recorded, and my deadline for the second half is fast approaching. Rapid vocal recovery is required.

In a panic to regain full vocal health, I make a point of visiting my local 'grocery' store, in my healthy Wholefoods town of Santa Monica, in California. I'm a woman on a mission, and people who know me well, know that when I put my mind to something, I have an extremely powerful power-walk.

I've dusted off my list of remedies in my trusted red journal from when I attended the Central School of Speech and Drama. They detail the techniques suggested to look after the voice.

So, my kitchen is set up like a school chemistry lab. Hot lemon and honey with a hint of salt, echnicea, throat coat teas, steaming , resting, you name it, I'm doing it.

The thing is, it's not until something breaks that you are reminded to look after it. In this case, my voice. The actor's engine. My main form of coherent expression, without which creativity cannot communicate fully.

I wrote the above about a month ago and it taught me a harsh, but fantastic life lesson. The voice IS the actor's instrument.

If you want to become a master of anything, it takes awareness of knowing what's not working, a recognition of a reoccurring pattern that needs changing, and the courage to admit failure and do something about it, to succeed the next time.

I now take the time to really look after my voice, the same as I would in a yoga class, not continually beating myself up but resting when I need to, and listening to my body at all times....

 

Performer's Perspective  

What's next for you in 2013? 

Victoria Atkin, 'The Stage' 2nd January 2013

Numerous studies have pointed out the hugely positive effect that writing down your goals has, concluding that those who do achieve significantly more than most who don't.

I am always hungry to find out how leading individuals, not just in the arts, but in business, politics and sport, achieve their success. A fantastic example given earlier this year was highlighted on the Jonathan Ross show, when Olympic medallist Tom Daley showed a picture he had drawn of his 2012 Olympic success, nearly a decade earlier. The picture was clear and very specific. Tom on a diving board at the Olympics in London in 2012.

Richard Branson's advice, meanwhile, is: ''Have a plan. Follow the plan, and you'll be surprised how successful you can be. Most people don't have a plan. That's why it's easy to beat most folks.''

But how important is it to plan if you are an actor, producer, casting director or any freelance in the arts?

In an industry that is universally renowned for its chaotic, changeable and unpredictable nature is it really necessary?

Three years ago I was asked to write a personal development plan for the final part of my degree at the now Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. At the time, I debated the questions above but after re-reading the plan I set out for myself in 2009, looking back I have surprised myself by achieving over and above what I set out to do.

Consequently, I have learned to love planning. As well as it giving me an end goal to work towards, I have discovered additional positive benefits to having a plan. This year, my plan has formed a sort of bible, keeping me focused, driving me forward, fueling my inspiration by adding to it when new opportunities present themselves and editing it when I complete tasks and reach career milestones. It has helped me to keep my targets within sight at all times, acting as a guide on what needs to be done when doubt rears its ugly head and things aren't moving as fast as I want them to. Moreover, it has helped me to manage my time and work successfully with my agent and other industry freelancers. Then, when life begins to follow the plan I have set for myself I am able to lose myself momentarily in the excitement of it all. 

With 2013 now upon us, I am excited to review what I achieved in 2012 towards my ultimate goal of getting that Oscar and the complementary Hollywood star embossed with the name Victoria Atkin boldly marking my place in history.

I am looking into 2013 with new targets. Let's hope we can all look back a decade from now like Tom Daley having achieved our goals.

What's next for you? 

 

Performer's Perspective

Auditioning: Los Angeles vs London 

Victoria Atkin, 'The Stage' 14th November 2012

 

''Oh my god I love your accent. What is it like to be an English actor over here?'' 

It wasn't until my most recent trip to Los Angeles that I became very aware of what the differences actually are between auditioning (and the acting industry) in the UK and the US.

As I have progressed as an actor, I have listened to a range of opinions on what it is like to work in the United States. Having felt like I had heard them all, I embarked on a pre-pilot season trip, jam packed with some very exciting meetings, to relieve my curiosity.

You may, or may not be aware, but something that is very common with American actors is their commendable and continuous training and preparation. It is not uncommon for managers to run mock auditions, in advance of the actual audition, and many performers have a booking coach and an acting coach to get you ready for when your pivotal opportunity of an audition arises. This is the solid groundwork that goes in, even before the audition comes up.

So my audition arrives...

Traveling to auditions is adventurous as a non-native: sitting on the opposite side of the car and driving on the opposite side of the road, navigating freeways and being allowed to turn right on a red light. Plus their parking has more rules than a game [of] Monopoly. Sometimes they even close roads to move space shuttles - only in LaLaLand. I think it was the only time in my life when I have yearned for the straightforward familiarity of double yellow lines. Due to the vast nature of the land your car also becomes your condo.

And then you rock up. (Punctually and preened to perfection - it's Hollywood darling.)

There is a sign-in sheet. You wait your turn and remember the name before. If you want to know where the toilet is, this = restrooms, and to get rid of any rubbish, ask for the trash can.

And you audition (With your flawless American accent).

And this is where the differences came to a halt. On examining and reviewing the process in more depth, having initially thought that it might be worlds apart, my conclusion is this: the essence is the same.

Much like the UK, auditioning in the US is dependent on how well you look the other person in the eye and tell the truth.   

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