‘I just can’t do this anymore.’ I was fifty-two years of age and a sales executive in the telecommunications and IT industry. A fabulous salary, but zero job satisfaction.
I had always been a part time performer, singing and playing guitar in several bands, but I really wanted to become an actor. I studied drama on and off for 10 years at evening classes, eventually acquiring a Diploma from LAMDA.
In 2002 I took a leap of faith, resigned, and kissed sales goodbye for ever. I’d realised that if I wanted to be a performer and develop my creative side, I would have to become self-employed. I remember my manager at the time saying: ‘You must be mad, but I’m jealous.’
Within three months I was performing theatre nationwide within primary schools. I delivered 16 historical one man shows. What a transition, from delivering board level presentations to standing up in front of seven-year-olds, wearing woolly tights dressed as Samuel Pepys! I connected with a training company performing business role play and forum theatre. I found that doing one thing, quickly opened up opportunities.
Whilst working for the training company, a client asked if I could make a film for them. Once delivered, complete with my actor trained voice-over and appropriate background music, they loved it, and asked for two more .
A show reel followed, which I sent to every local authority in the Midlands resulting in me working with them on video projects for over 10 years. Subsequently, I have made films for a variety of corporate, local authority, charity, and education clients.
In control of my own work diary, you would think that things would be easier, but sadly no. It’s hard to say no to opportunities when self-employed and trying to earn a decent living. This often meant going from one engagement to the next with little sleep. On one occasion I got home from a band gig at 4.00am only to have to leave again at 6.00am to be Henry the VIII in a school the other side of the country. Sadly, I did not have six wives to help me unload and re-equip the van.
Voice overs came next and I’ve voiced content for other video production companies, examination boards, animators, and in recent years organisations such as O2, EE and many other large businesses. More recently I began writing. I’ve self-published a children’s book, and a trilogy, and I have just completed my fourth novel.
Was my leap of faith rewarded?
Now aged seventy, and still writing and film making, I don’t regret a single day. Sales was what I did, I had to give it up to be what I truly – am, a multi-platform creative. I’ve had the most wonderfully rich and fulfilled life and I still have so much more to give. I took that leap of faith and will always be thankful that my courage paid off. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll put it all in a book!