The tenth of our chats with actors who left drama school without representation, but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the extraordinary @DavidWBryan
Name: David William Bryan
Trained: Stella Adler Studio, New York City
What is your current/ most recent credit?
It’s really busy right now. Just wrapped on a feature film Marine 6: Close Quarters (Sony /WWE) , I’m shooting a Discovery Channel commercial this week and I’m currently preparing two one-man shows for Edinburgh Fringe 2018 (Pleasance). I’m also writing on three TV projects at the moment.
How did you find leaving Drama School?
Brutal. I returned to the UK and struggled to make any progress. I had no CV and not a single contact in the industry. I actually ended up with terrible anxiety and had to go to hospital.
How did you get your first professional job?
I kept working on my acting as much as possible. I literally used to challenge myself to make a whole reel in a day just talking to camera as different characters in different situations. Meanwhile, I was writing letters/ringing people in the industry every day for nine months - agents, casting directors, theatres, everybody! Almost nobody replied. After over 1000 letters and calls, I finally got a phone call from the Hampstead Theatre. They offered me an unpaid ensemble role in a play 55 DAYS (I was basically moving chairs in the background). I knew I had six weeks to make something out of the opportunity. On press night I went round every single person in the bar and asked them if they were an agent. I finally tracked one down and chatted to them honestly about my situation. The next day they took a punt on me. A week later they sent me to my first audition for a Jameson commercial. I got the job. The rest is history.
What’s been your favourite job so far?
Definitely my Edinburgh Fringe / Vault Festival show ‘Trashed’. It’s so much better to have complete creative control over a project, tailor it to your strengths, get killer reviews, build your profile, sell-out shows and not depend on a single industry person for anything. You can’t beat that!
Other than my own stuff, probably one of the feature films I’ve shot with director James Nunn. He’s been absolutely key in my career so far. We met shooting a commercial and have worked together numerous times since. He’s a legend.
What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school over the next year or the advice you’d give yourself looking back?
Where do I start?! First off, I’d tell them to follow me on Twitter @DavidWBryan and read my countless tweets about how to empower yourself and build a business. They can also message me directly. I answer EVERY message (at least 5-10 a day) helping actors with anything they need to know because I believe in building a business through kindness and gratitude. It allows me to build my profile amongst my peers with no expectation of anything in return. By extending my reach so wide, I actually end up selling-out shows whilst helping others. It’s truly a win-win! Hit me up. I’ll help as much as I can.
In general, I would say that the sooner you stop pandering to ‘important’ people in the industry, the better. Instead, work on giving yourself leverage by making amazing work based on what you’re great at, whilst simultaneously building your brand on social media in a truthful way. Get self aware, graft harder than everyone else and crawl inch by inch from the bottom. Be kind and have empathy. Forget being a bullshit glossy image of yourself and get real. People love the blood sweat and tears. Show them the struggle and they’ll love it when you show them the break throughs.
What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)?
I think its great. Would have helped me for sure. I think you guys are doing a brilliant thing and I wanted to support it as soon as someone tweeted me about it. I can’t recommend it enough.
David is now represented by Byron’s management for acting and Casarotto for Writing.