My first paid acting job was Venus vs Mars, a series for Sky Living in 2015. As well as being a first for me, this was quite a new thing for TV. The broadcast series came off the back of an online show that had built up a huge audience since its debut in 2011. It still amazes me how something created with no budget made such an impact. As one of the first web series successes, it went on to inspire many others to create for themselves.
My own involvement dates back to before the online series. In spring 2011, I had seen an ad for producer Baby Isako’s upcoming stage play Bag Ladies. I applied for the role and didn’t hear anything back. Six months later, I received a phone call from her about another upcoming project. I didn’t have the foggiest idea what a web series was, but I agreed to meet her anyway. I didn’t realise this series would be life-changing for me.
Working on the show was one of my best experiences to date. Everyone was genuinely like part of the family. On the Venus vs Mars set I met the director Victor Adebodun, a pioneer of digital programme making, who sadly died this year. I am eternally grateful to have had the chance to work with him.
The Venus vs Mars set reflected something that I still practise on a daily basis and that I think is so important in this industry: every individual on the production should be treated with the upmost respect: lighting, costume, sound, runners – everyone. Besides it being basic manners, it is important to remember that the industry is small. You don’t want to finish your career before you’ve even started due to something you can control.
Once you get started, don’t give up. Believe in yourself, look forward to establishing a place for yourself within the industry and work hard. And keep training – if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.
Training: Henley College; Bucks New University
Theatre includes: The House of Bernarda Alba, Sonny and Me (Edinburgh Festival Fringe); Kinks and All (Soho Theatre); Holy Crap (King’s Head Theatre); Cinderella (Belgrade Theatre)
TV includes: Venus vs Mars; Dropperz; Obsessions: Dark Desire; The Intent
Agent: Stevenson Withers Associates
Letitia Hector was talking to John Byrne.