An open letter: What I took from the training.
Updated: Mar 7, 2018
Dear Ashlie/ Simon
Apologies that it has taken me so long to write to you about all that I have been working on. It’s for this very reason that I haven’t had the chance to do so as I have been working on so many back to back projects recently. Before I inform you both about what I have been up to, I would firstly like to say a HUGE thank you both for all the training, discipline and hard work that you instilled in me throughout my 2 years at The Actors Temple. As I’m sure I’ve already previously explained, when I came to the Actors Temple in 2015, I only came to do the 1 week introductory course, which at the time meant that upon completion I could regularly attend ‘drop in’ lessons. To this day, I have not stopped raving about how that one week completely blew my mind and encouraged me to sign up to the 2 year course. At the time, I didn’t have the funds and heavily doubted whether I could fit in the training with my full time job but again, a one week introductory course at The Actors Temple was enough to convince me that I had to be there in its entirety and despite my initial doubts about finances and time, I just dived right into the training. This is a testament to what the Teachers at The Actors Temple are creating. I have been doing acting courses/workshops on and off for the last 8 years however, it was not until I came to The Actors Temple that I truly gained a better understanding of the craft of acting and the many different elements that come with it. I don’t think there are any 2 people that I owe more thanks or gratitude to than the two of you. Never have I met individuals as passionate and committed about what they do than I have with the 2 of you. Not only is it refreshing but incredibly inspiring. In the past I have been to acting schools where teachers would begin packing up 5mins before our class was about to end and didn’t really seem interested. Although you may have never noticed, I was always amazed and inspired at how generous the 2 of you were in giving up your time to ensure you got the best out of us, even if it meant working 1 hour over our scheduled time. If only the world was made up of more people as dedicated to what they do like the two of you are, I’m sure it would be a better place. Upon finishing my training at The Actors Temple I briefly returned home to The Gambia, to not only catch up on all the sleep I missed throughout the last 2 years but to put myself in the right headspace in terms of what I wanted to do next. I thus decided that I would dedicate some time to trying out for various stage and screen roles. Since auditioning for 5 different screen roles from February 2017, I have successfully secured all 5 roles and seem to be developing a knack for getting everything I audition for......... so far J. I have provided short blurbs for each on them below:
Samuel (short) – I played a father grieving the loss of his son as a result of the negligent actions of his mother and my partner, and how our relationship ensues as a result of this.
Chalk (short) – I played a snooker player in a short film which deals with the dodgy dealings that takes place in the world of snooker game fixing.
Brick (short) – I played a heavy drug addict (which I must say I loved) who entices a young 15 year old school boy into the world of drug dealing and drug taking in a short film which focuses heavily on the use of illegal drugs and the impact it has on those closest to its users.
Blue (short) – a very short and supporting role where I played a police officer.
Haraam (Feature) perhaps the biggest news and role that I have landed is in a feature film that I am scheduled to start filming on 21st May. A few months ago I found out about an open call casting about a feature film described as a coming of age drama about a group of 7 young adults from various backgrounds who work together in a picture framing store. The film centres on the main protagonist, a young man named Geo who has been in love with one of his fellow co workers and friends Layla, but has held back on telling her how he feels due to conflicts over their different faiths (she’s Muslim and he’s Christian) and race (she’s Pakistani and he’s Black) which is a big problem from both sides of their family and some of their friends. Thus the film deals with themes such as, acceptance, race, friendship, desire, loneliness and loss. I won’t give away much more about the plot but when I heard about the auditions being held I jumped at the opportunity to play such a role that I strongly felt I could do justice, so I sent in a head shot to the casting director. To my surprise, I was shortlisted as one of the 30 young men to audition for the role. I found the audition process quite fun and, if anything, I was just extremely honoured and excited to be considered as a potential. The panel really seemed positive after my audition but as I was the first actor of the day I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Needless to say, I found out a few days later that I had secured the lead roleJ. I’m still pinching myself as after having read the full script I’m extremely excited and considering the limited experience I’ve had, I feel like this is a great opportunity and role to apply all the training, techniques and tools that I learnt over the last 2 years at The Actors Temple. At present I’m just working very hard learning my lines and doing all the necessary preparation that I’ve taken from the training you both gave me.
Once again, I cannot thank you both enough for all the hard work, love, dedication and discipline you instilled in me. I miss you both very much and have not stopped singing your praises to anyone that will listen to me. My 2 years at The Actor’s Temple were 2 of the very best years of my life and apart from the amazing classmates I met, you both played a large part in that. The Actors Temple has completely changed my outlook on life and I feel all the more better for it. I still hope to continue training regularly and despite the joy of securing the above roles, I’m all too aware that I have so much more to learn. Once filming on this feature has wrapped up, I hope to take a pause on anymore projects to return for a few drop-in classes at The Temple.
Nothing warms our cockles more than hearing dedicated actors achieving great things! Go Cherno! xxx