This week we're lucky enough to have landed an interview with Jade, a CEO, entrepreneur and self made business woman. Read below for her advice, how she built her career and her advice to actors.
"Live your life, don’t wait."
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started my life as an actor at the age of 17, so thats 17 years already. When people are fed up of the industry after 3 years I’m like ‘you have noooo idea!’ With acting you have to be in it for life. Not “until your 30” things have actually got easier in my 30’s. I’ve been filmmaking since I was 20. That is also a tough career.
How did you start out in your career?
Acting- I started applying for jobs on mandy or the stage. Filmmaking I began with a group of fellow stage combat students to create showreel material back in 2007.
How did you turn that job into a career?
For a long time my only income was working as a massage therapist. Slowly I got better at booking commercials and now voiceovers is my main income. When I book acting jobs now the pay is usually good so it keeps me going.
Why do you do what you do?
It started off as being the only thing that I wanted to do. Now its the only thing that I know how to do. I wanted to spend my life doing what I love. It’s still very hard. But I love it.
Career highlight thus far?
Producing and screening my feature film GHOSTED at the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square.
Can you tell us about a difficultly you’ve faced in your career and how you managed to overcome it both literally and mentally?
I once worked as a directors assistant on a film for a few months and never got paid. I had worked myself into dept and was so down that I cried every night and lost a quarter of my body weight. I recovered and slowly built myself back up. It was the making of me and though though at the time, I don’t regret it at all because I’m stronger now.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
When you get to share your work and the satisfaction of giving other people jobs and opportunities. There is not enough work for everyone in the film industry so by creating work I know that I am helping someone.
What is the hardest part of your job?
In producing I have to have a lot of difficult conversations. You have to say no to a lot of requests to support the work of the whole team. Actors wanting showreel material, or not able to attend shoot days because of a clash. A department asking for more budget. It’s tough because no matter what you might come across as the bad guy but you know that its right for the film, not the individual. In acting its obviously the rejection that is tough.
What would you say has made you so successful in your career?
My ability to take risks, think outside the box and not care what people think. I think it’s easy to worry about what other people think but in reality no one really cares about your career other than you. Also if I say that I’m going to do something, I will actually do it. There are a lot of big talkers in our industry. Forget talk. It’s all about actions.
Since the start of your career, what changes have you noticed in the industry and how do you feel about them?
Everything is online now. I used to have to go to auditions in soho 3 times a week. In 2022 I had one in person audition all year. It’s a shame but I get it. It’s cheaper and quicker but it’s not the same as in person contact. There’s a lot more roles for women and diversity in casting now. For that I only have good things to say. But it hasn’t always been this way.
What is your hope for the industry moving forward?
More funding. We are desperate for funding in this country and arts is just not a priority. I see big productions throw money away and think- wow! How many jobs could we create for people on only a fraction of that.
If you could speak to your younger self at the start of your career, what advice would you give them? It’s all going to work out as long as you never give up, trust your instincts and stay open minded.
What would be your greatest advice to actors in general?
Find a side job that is flexible, pays well and that you like. Live your life, don’t wait. Go on holiday, have fun, fall in love, everything that you have on your bucket list- do it now. Look after yourself, be kind to others and live a happy life. All of these things will make you better at your art.
What would be your advice to actors trying to make an introduction with yourself or others in your field?
Keep it light and casual. Some people message a massive generic paragraph full of links. It can just be quite off putting when people are only messaging to get something from me. Asking an interesting question is a good opener but also be respectful of peoples time. “Hi I’m an actor, I’m contacting you because… if anything comes up do keep me in mind.” will do the job. People also post a lot of castings on socials so following people can be useful.
What are the common mis-steps actors make when approaching you?
Some actors go into a sales mode or ask for roles. The truth is we only do one film a year or 18 months. Casting will only happens during two months or less of that time. The second I know that you are an actor, I will be considering you. Its good to touch base every 3-4 months after that otherwise. Once I give an actor an opportunity for an audition, if they ignore the tape or don’t give a reason for not doing it. I will likely not ask them again. There’s always so much going on when your in preproduction. It’s also a pain when people don’t respond to your emails. It just creates more work for me and I really just want to work with people who make my life easy.
Yow can actors get in touch with you or find out more about you or what you do?
You can follow @jadeashaa on instagram. I would say that’s my main point of contact.
What question would you wish I’d asked you here and what would be your answer? Haha! Oooh…. That’s fun. Maybe have you written a book about your advice? And the answer is yes I have. It’s called Actorpreneur and is available on amazon. It shows you how to take control of your career and make your own work as an actor.
What are you up to at the moment and anything you’d like to share with people?
I just produced a british romcom called GHOSTED so I’m trying to sort out a theatrical run for that. We are also in post production for a feature film called Due Dating. I also hope to write another film before I give birth in 5 weeks time. It’s all go at the moment.
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