It’s all very well us banging on about how vibrant the film scene is in Devon and Cornwall if actors can’t find jobs. We swung a cat, or would have before MySpace, and hit a professional actor who hasn’t had much joy finding film work since moving to the region.
‘Where are all the creators of culture hiding?,’ asks Dublin-born Rachel Mooney (she obviously couldn’t see us waving flags and blowing kazoos).
She’s worked all around the world and is looking to land that film role in Devon and Cornwall. We caught up with her and had a few words about ‘the scene’.
What sort of actor are you and what have you appeared in?
Rachel Mooney: I’m a character actress, theatre-trained with most of my career spent in front of the camera. I always watched my mother from the side of the stage or behind the camera, picking up her trade. She spent 10 years in an Irish soap, so most of what I know I learnt from her. At 14, I had a small role in the film War of the Buttons. Then, at 16 I played the part of a pixie in an Irish children’s soap called Tir Na ‘Og. From that I went on to do a short for the Cannes Film Festival, The Long Run, then I got a commercial for Seaman’s mobile phones. Then I did a runner to Italy for four years… to get a tan!
Have you had any success finding roles in the South West?
I have been in three shows here in the South West for the Barbican Theatre: Janners – The Soap; Concrete Cancer and Bound.
What avenues have you already tried to get into film in Devon and Cornwall?
I never knew much of a film society existed down here until I stumbled across D+CFilm the other week. I’m still trying to find my feet here in England. It’ll be my second summer here and I hope to involve myself in as many projects as possible. I just need to know where to look, I guess.
What are you doing at the moment?
At the moment I’m in rehearsals for Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. It is community theatre and I’m trying to keep all avenues open as it’s proving difficult to keep the creative ball rolling down here. If there are projects going on, it’s top secret.
Is there a bias towards support for the technical side of filmmaking rather than acting?
I’d have to say a big fat yes! The technical side of things is seen as a trade. Unfortunately, when you go to places like the Job Centre or other government bodies for support or some training to further your career as a film or theatre actress, the attitude is ‘get a real job’. It’s not seen as skill or a trade. I think it’s changing slowly in the bigger cities, but to label oneself as an actor down here is like committing yourself to a life of unemployment. So much has changed in our society that people want the quick fix. Theatre and cinemas don’t hold the monopoly on entertainment anymore, so a career in film or theatre certainly here is a journey uphill on roller blades.
Plenty of up-and-coming filmmakers use family and friends as both cast and crew, especially in the early stages, and even when they are professionals, quite a few work for expenses rather than a wage. How does a professional actor fit into that dynamic?
I understand the difficulties new, young filmmakers have trying to finance a film. It is becoming ever more acceptable nowadays to have non-actors playing these roles. Working for your expenses is part of most actors’ careers, and sometimes the only way to be seen by those in the film world is by simply rolling up your sleves and getting your hands dirty. Sometimes I have to remind I have the potential of furthering my career by taking a pay cut. At the end of the day, learning is never over, so I guess it’s how we look at it that counts sometimes.
So, are you available for work?
Posted by Cptn
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