Foreign actor, should I give up

  • Maria Tophunts

    Actor

    Dear fellow actors, I am trying to keep up the faith that one day I ll get an acting job. I am Bulgarian and I have been living in the UK since 2006. All of my credits are from Bulgaria and obviously this means nothing in the UK market. I took a break for a few years to have a family, now I have been proactive for the last 3 years with not much of an outcome.

    I have just done a showcase with casting Days which was a very positive experience but it also reminded me how hard this industry is.

    Some advise would be great on anything I could do to better my chances. I know being foreign means limited opportunities but is there a chance at all or should I just give it up. Thank you!

    • 14th Jul 2015
    • 4233
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  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    You have excellent pictures, you have a very natural screen presence, you are good looking with an excellent figure, you can dance, you have an accent but although it might be limiting for certain parts it could be your unique selling point, I can see no reason why you shouldn't be able to get work.

    So why isn't it happening for you? You say you have a young family growing up, does that mean you can't work away? Or accept long term contracts. Have you limited your field to things like just television? In which case you will need an agent. Maybe look at voice work, audiobooks, animated character voices. Get some character shots as wicked queens, your Latin looks would lend itself well to this, in short I think identify which bit of the industry you feel best suited to and put all your efforts in that direction. Are you applying for stuff off here all the time? This site works so well for me, I can't see why you wouldn't have success here too?

    • 2nd Jul 2015
    • 1
  • Maria Tophunts

    Actor

    Hi Nigel,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to give me feedback. Thank you for your comments, yes unfortunately I am not able to do long term touring productions due to family commitments and I also don't live in London. Obviously I do travel to London for auditions but I could only afford to apply for jobs that would cover my expenses. I have never done voice over before and I must really look into it, getting a viicereel done etc. I am trying to be realistic and all I want is one acting job per year and that will do me fine. I would love to do screen work because I think there are more opportunities there for foreign actors but hey it's not easy.

    I will take on your advice thank you. Really appreciate it!

    All the best

    Maria

    • 2nd Jul 2015
    • 2
  • Suzanna Hughes

    Actor

    Hi Maria

    There are agents and Voiceover agents in the UK who specialise in foreign actors. Nigel is right, you have a fantastic look and appear to be very castlable. I would really concentrate on trying to gain representation . Grab yourself a copy of the actors directory (i have an old copy if you want to juat pay for postage) and look up agents who specialise in foreign actors.

    Best of luck

    Suzanna

    • 2nd Jul 2015
    • 3
  • Maria Tophunts

    Actor

    Thank you Suzanna,

    I have a copy. Thanks for your advice, will find out about voice over agents for foreign actors.

    Best wishes to you

    Maria

    • 2nd Jul 2015
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  • Stephen Moriaty

    Actor

    As usual Nigel is spot on with his advice.

    • 2nd Jul 2015
    • 5
  • Jacqueline Johnson

    Actor

    Don't give up Maria! Just look for a new way and push open other doors. I'm feeling a bit fed up too, but I'm going to use it to make me more determined this time, instead of letting it put me off. Contact those agents again. It's not just about being foreign, it's this business. It really is bursting at the seams. You've got to have such thick skin and determination. If it's what you really want fight for it! X

    • 3rd Jul 2015
    • 6
  • Maria Tophunts

    Actor

    Bless Jacqui,

    I will keep going, I won't give up, I can't give up. :-) i hope we all get there sooner or later.

    lots of love x

    • 4th Jul 2015
    • 7
  • Heather Rome

    Actor

    Hi Maria,

    I have been in a similar position, taking a break to raise a family, brought up overseas and living a fair distance outside London.

    While agreeing with the other comments, I would add that you need to try and network. Some Equity branches are quite active, not only having guest speakers but running occasional workshops and even some casting sessions (although the last was in London). Plus as a member of Equity there are all the other benefits and advice you can access. As film seems to be your passion, are there any film acting workshops in the Manchester area? Film school or university courses where you might get screen time and perhaps future material to keep your showereel up to date.

    it's not just about the workshop/class, it's about meeting and chatting with others in the industry, learning about possible opportunities and perhaps even starting your own project with others.

    You've done theater and had training as a dancer. Look at roleplay work, medical is often where people get their first break, but corporate could be a possibility too. Interactive theater like murder mysteries and site-specific events are also on the rise (and seem to get funding!) and your dance/physical training can often come in handy there. TIE takes many forms, pays, sometimes reasonably well and does fit round the school holidays and watching the children really get into a performance is rewarding. It's physically demanding but I found it a great way to get back into the profession.

    A mixture of all the above may get you considered by an agent. And without an agent most of us have no hope of getting seen for decent projects that pay. And agents consider not only your look and acting talent, but often who they can work with, who is actually "working" for themselves, trying to push their own career forward.

    For me it's about at least "keeping my hand in" because if you do no performing of any kind for a while, you don't feel like a performer (at least I didn't) and it can be hard to get back into that mindset. After understudying the lead in the West End I literally had 7 "lean years" like in the Bible, hardly any auditions and just had to keep plodding on. A combination of the recession and entering the least castable segment of the acting profession, the middle-aged female perhaps. And then suddenly this year I've had more auditions than in the last 7 and got my first telly job ever. So there is no magic formula. Just try and keep positive and staying in the game.

    • 6th Jul 2015
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  • Maria Tophunts

    Actor

    Hi Heather,

    Thank you, that is very inspiring. I have the motivation now to just keep at it. I know professional like to see proactive people who care about their career. I know I haven't yet explored all possibilities and it's so good to get such a good advice on here. I am really greatful!

    This is fantastic that your career is moving forward! I wish you all the best and thank you.

    Maria

    • 6th Jul 2015
    • 9
  • Lewis Allcock

    Actor

    Inspiring story, Heather! :)

    • 6th Jul 2015
    • 10
  • Sean Ruttledge

    Actor

    I regularly see casting calls for "Eastern European / Russian accents" I've also seen calls for Bulgarian native speaking voices, mainly from companies dealing in the "localisation" business, there are VO agents such as Another Tongue who service these people

    www.anothertongue.com/foreign

    I'm guessing you're in Manchester where there's a lot of VO work so try these guys, your nationality is a niche with very little competition, you could be top dog

    www.thevoiceovergallery.co.uk/foreign-services/

    Although most of us work from home studios which might fit in well with your family commitments

    • 7th Jul 2015
    • 11
  • Maria Tophunts

    Actor

    This sounds fantastic! Thank you very much for that info, Sean, I ll check them out. I don't have a viicereel yet, but I guess this is next on the cards for me.

    Thank you and all the best

    • 7th Jul 2015
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Being a foreign actor living in London myself I did find your feedback very inspiring. Thank you all!

    • 13th Jul 2015
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  • Judith Hoersch

    Actor

    Thank you all for sharing - so inspiring!

    • 14th Jul 2015
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