LETTER TO MY ACTOR. RE: THAT SMART PHONE

Dear Actor,

RE: THAT SMART PHONE

My lovely actor, how are your days of striving towards the dream of being what you want. The struggle has to go on.

Today I come to talk to you about you and your gadgets. And as usual, I will start with a scenario from my past;

In 2012, while I was at university in 2nd year, I had already started chasing acting gigs because I believed I could not just sit in one place and do only studying. I wanted to earn but most importantly I wanted to get connections and engage myself in work even before I finished my bachelors. This is the year we were studying the ACTING course unit and it was my favourite, not only because of my lecturer (Amelia Kyaka), but also because I believed I was cut out to be an actor. But every time I sat in class, I would put my phone in vibration mode just in case they called me for a gig, especially NTV. My lecturer noticed that I would go out of class almost every lecture and sometimes I would not come back. It’s later that I found out that she knew what I was doing and she said something I will never forget all my life.

“Sometimes you need to add value to yourself by making yourself scarce. If people can get you every time they call you, it means you have created an impression that you have no work to do but always there waiting for your phone to ring.”

In this I learnt that, whoever really needs you will call you back even if they call you 10 times and you are not picking. If you are good at what you do, then you will surely be the best person for the job. Put your phone aside and work. Many times I have seen you bragging about how your smart phone has made life easier for you as an actor and your reasons are,

1. Easy communication (because its mobile)
2. Your script is in soft so you can access it anywhere at anytime
3. Research at all times

I swear all these reasons are very valid because they are very true. Life became easier with smartphones. I remember when smartphones were just for a few people, it was a big deal having one but now that they are everywhere communication is easy. Different applications have been invented just for communication. Those days there where a few communication platform (posting a letter through post office, telephone, fax, SMS and sending a messenger) but now, we have all the instant communication platforms.

These days, you don’t have to move around with a 50+ paged document we call a script, thanks to the smartphone. Through WhatsApp, email or any other platform, a producer can send you a script and you keep it on your phone. Wherever you are (taxi, restaurant, toilet seat, church, club etc), you can pull out your script and read. HOW WONDERFUL! Talk about research for anything whether far or near, Google is the answer. That companion who has made our generation wiser because there is no limit to what you can find there. GOOGLE is like the RED CROSS/BLOOD BANK of knowledge. THIS IS GREAT!

Look here, I love my smartphone so much and I also caress it whenever I am free but I have realized that your smartphone is killing you more than it’s making you. Because your smartphone making communication easy, you have taken it to further extent to flirt with every one of the opposite sex who you chat with. Not that you ask for their numbers with that intentions but because of the technological wall of the screen, you find yourself carried away and getting into chats that you wouldn’t have engaged in physically. You have also engaged in cyber-bullying and made other people hate their lives because of you insulting them. OK, if you think I am lying, open your phone now and look at the number of nonconstructive WhatsApp groups you are in which have nothing to do with your goals or life purpose. Some of them all they do is talk about sex and share pornography and gossiping. How many of the people in these groups will want to respect you when they see you physically. How many of them have actually come to support a premiere of the film you feature in or bought a DVD. Do they even know that you are an actor?

Let’s talk about your lovely smartphone as easy access to your script. How many times do you actually open a script on your phone and read it for 30 mins straight without interruption from social media notifications sound. You spend 2 hrs on 1 page, not because you are analysing the dialogue, but because you keep checking the chats on WhatsApp, update your Facebook status and post your selfies on Instagram making your lips like a bird’s beak. By the end of 24 hrs, you have done more socializing than you have actually built your acting skills. When you go for rehearsals, as your colleagues who have hard copies of scripts are rehearsing off script, you are busy holding your silly smartphone reading the script off it. It irritates to rehearse with an actor who didn’t read his/her lines. To make it worse, even while in rehearsals, your smart brain can’t serve you well to turn off your mobile internet data. It keeps vibrating and you stupidly check, instead of concentrating on your work. No wonder all your characters are too shallow. You brag that your smartphone helps you in research, other than loading internet to search and download pornographic and gossip content, how many times have you Googled something related to your acting work? I’m not saying that you don’t, but compare the number of times!

You have pimped up your phone with all the best apps there is including all games and videos that your storage memory can hold. You have so much fallen in love with your candy crush and you are crushing your way down the candy. It’s sweet now but will be bitter tomorrow. You have downloaded all apps that beautify all the pics you take with your phone and whenever you post them on your social media platforms everyone wants to just eat. But my dear, for as long has you have no strong character in that project you are working on now because you are busy on your phone, then you have wasted all that time! You are more of a slayer or wannabe than the actual actor you wanted to be when you were starting.

Get this from me. You trusted me to tell you the bitter truth about how to grow your craft and that’s exactly what I am doing.

YOU EITHER LEARN TO CONTROL YOUR USE FOR THE SMARTPHONE OR ITS RUINING YOUR CAREER DAY BY DAY!

Thank you for reading this too and see you at the best side of acting.

I remain yours lovely.

Lover of Actors,

Kasule Douglas ‘Benda’

Founder of Benda Bookings

#WeValueTalent

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

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