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Tag Archive | "The Actors Centre"

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International View: Is pursuing an acting career worth the pain it brings?

Posted on 31 January 2012 by Lenka Silhanova

The first few weeks after coming back from visiting your home country are the worst, as you find yourself battling the temptation to just pack up and go back. The goodbyes are not becoming easier with time. Every single time I say goodbye to my family back home not knowing when I’m coming back to see them again, I have tears in my eyes. That’s when I remind myself why am I actually doing all this and that it is all worth it. Or will be.

Being at home reminded me of how easy everything could be for me. Living at home, I wouldn’t have to wonder if I was still going to have somewhere to live in few weeks of time. If I didn’t have anywhere to go, I wouldn’t have to beg my friends to let me crash at theirs before I put myself together again, feeling like the biggest loser – I could always just go home. Any time I was in the store thinking of buying clothes, some cosmetics or books, I wouldn’t have to wonder if I’d still be able to fit it all in my suitcase in case I need to move again – I’ve moved about 14 times in the past six years.

My parents, who are naturally worried about me and want the best for me, often ask me why I don’t stay at home. Yes, my life would be easier, but would I be happier? Without hesitation, my answer is “No”. I’d drive myself crazy. Chasing your dreams is hard, but not doing so is even harder and is something I’d regret for the rest of my life.  And I promised myself that I want to fully live my life - which means going after what I want, no matter what.

But then simple things happen, like having a walk in central London and seeing the faces of tourists amazed by the city, and I feel lucky that I am able to see the sights whenever I want. Or taking a class at The Actors’ Centre and seeing all the familiar faces I’ve gotten to know thanks to that place. Then there’s the choices of food from all over the world, simply being able to get a cup of coffee wherever you are and meeting people from all over the world. All that just makes you feel so lucky that you can live in London no matter what the cost and it makes you fall in love with the city once again.

It’s so easy to forget to be grateful for what we have and focus on the problems instead. So much changes when you change your focus and mindset.

Image by Lenka Šilhánová

Lenka Silhanova

Lenka Silhanova

Lenka is an actor and blogger currently working in the Czech Republic and UK, who has also experienced the US market. She's sharing what she's learned and experienced with AYT readers. Lenka also has a personal blog called Acting Abroad and is helping potential drama school students on the IDSA blog.

More Posts - Website

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International view: The homecoming

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Lenka Silhanova

In December,  I’m flying back home to spend 14 days with family, friends and people that are dear to me. My feelings about that? Mixed, to be perfectly honest.

A year ago I was at home, still quite freshly settling down and feeling culturally shocked after my time spent in the USA.  I was lucky enough to get involved with a German feature film shot partially in Prague and as I was there on the set, I couldn’t help but wonder about what my move to the UK was going to be like. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Not to mention that Christmas was the time when I saw most of my family and relatives and had to tell them that I was leaving again. We didn’t see each other for a year and half while I was in the USA; I just got back and I was saying my goodbyes again.

My family had no idea about my career choice. I mean, they were always there cheering for me whilst I did five years of school theatre, they came to see my performances, took photos and told me how proud they were. While I was in high school, they knew about my acting and watched some of my work. Yet I had the feeling that as I was growing up, they took it less and less seriously and kept asking what I really want to do and if I’d thought about the future. “I want to be an actress” wasn’t quite the answer, and they would react to it with a head shake and talks about how impossible that is. They cheered for me when I applied for business college as a continuation of my business and law high school education; I was one of the lucky few people who actually obtained a place on the course. “That’s where the money is, you are going to make yourself a great life!” they said. Well, you should have seen their faces when I told them I turned it down, had decided to work full-time for a few months to save up money, then was going to go to the USA to learn English so I could pursue an acting career abroad as that was what I’d always wanted. When I left as an au pair, they thought I was just going to have some fun, grow up and come back ready to go to college like my brother did. When I came back and told them what I did, everyone finally started to take me seriously. Hallelujah! Yet I’m still going to need to prove myself.

Now I’m heading back again, having had the most exciting, busy and productive 10 months of my life career-wise. I’ve fully focused on my career, dropped out all the non-acting related fun such as going out and travelling, and invested all my money and energy to acting. And man, it has borne fruit. However, it has also taken its toll in the form of stress and  constant not knowing what is going to happen in the next few weeks. Whilst this is like the dose of adrenalin in your bloodstream that keeps you going and always doing your best, even the most dedicated and stubborn person gets tired.

This is going to be a well-deserved holiday and I will come back recharged. And I definitely do have a lot to tell to my family. However, it makes me think – how am I actually going to explain all that? They have no idea how showbusiness works, in the Czech Republic or in the UK or USA. They are hardly going to appreciate that I’ve spent my whole time training and volunteering at the Actors’ Centre -  that’s probably going to sound to them like such a waste of time. Not to mention that blogging, Tweeting or networking won’t make much sense to them either. All the things that I seemingly have seeds planted for, but are not quite happening yet. That’s the trickiest bit. The only thing they might be cheerful about might be me getting my UK theatre debut as one of the lead characters in the Actors’ Centre’s Christmas Show – my first acting job in English. However, I just hear the questions coming – one role in 10 months? Is that all? What the heck have you been doing? Is it not going well over there? When are you coming home?

The explaining could never end, but after all I don’t really need to explain or justify anything. I’m proudly going to point out some highlights of my stay and that’s it. I know that they just want me to be happy and I love them for their worries. Going home doesn’t have to be stressful and humiliating as some people might feel, I believe that we should be proud of what we do no matter what that is, as long as it makes us happy and fulfilled. I think the key might be in the way we put it out. We get what we give.

Image by Rainer Hungershausen.

Lenka Silhanova

Lenka Silhanova

Lenka is an actor and blogger currently working in the Czech Republic and UK, who has also experienced the US market. She's sharing what she's learned and experienced with AYT readers. Lenka also has a personal blog called Acting Abroad and is helping potential drama school students on the IDSA blog.

More Posts - Website

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