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Actor Paul Clayton: Autumn is here and so too are new work opportunities

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Autumn is my favourite season. With a body not built for shorts, I long for the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, which brings a corduroy jacket and a stylish cardigan.

It’s also the season when my work diary really fills up. Perhaps it’s that back-to-school mentality. While it seems easier to cope with jobless days during a long hot summer, and this year certainly fulfilled that criteria, the shortening of the days and the falling of the leaves demands something more.

Certainly, more work seems to be around. It’s impossible to miss the rise in Day-Glo ‘Loc’ and ‘Base’ arrows on lamp posts around London. You may not be in the production, but lots of film units are out there shooting and employing.

For those new to the business, it’s time to buckle down with a work plan. Easy to have passed the summer in a post-training haze. Easy to lie in the garden or take a good book to the local park for the afternoon, but autumn demands action. And whatever stage you’re at, a new battle plan is always good.

Tinsel and tackiness are creeping on to the shelves, but work may not yet have come your way

The busiest season of the year, panto time, will soon be upon us. Already Christmas shows are in rehearsal or about to start. Tinsel and tackiness are creeping on to the shelves, but work may not yet have come your way.

So, make a plan. What do you want to have achieved by Christmas? Be realistic, but optimistic. One day in front of a camera, a couple of nights on stage? Set your targets and set about reaching them.

What have you done recently to keep razor sharp in terms of skills? What have you done to increase your network of contacts? The Actors’ Guild has lots of casting director workshops planned for the next few months and the Mono Box has a great range of skills sessions. The So and So Arts Club has another great Kick Up the Arts festival of workshops coming up in November.

A new term of budding film directors means film schools are prepping a lot of final-year graduation films. Often that’s a much better investment than a fringe profit share. You get a copy for your showreel and a possible opportunity to work with a future Scorsese.

These days a non-acting job is essential for survival. Take a chance this autumn and devote some time to something you enjoy doing work-wise, rather than something to pass the time. Investment in a good part-time job now could pay huge dividends as life moves on and you gain experience in another field.

And like the trees, try to shed dead leaves: the belief that just waiting for your agent to phone is all you need to do. Find the seeds of a passion project now. Write or create work of your own. Let the golden hues of autumn colour your day and help you shine.

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