Paul Reeve’s Dream Story

I met Paul Reeves through one of my other websites. He is an actor and man of many other wonderful talents. Paul is looking for more work as an actor within the US or UK. He is a super nice guy and I wanted to share his story with you…

I stop and have a think every now and again about just how long I’ve been plugging away at trying to make my dream of being an actor a reality. I’ve not been on anything on the big screen yet, but I’ve covered a fair amount of small TV roles, and some theatre. Some of it being quite bizarre. I’ve had a small part as a doctor in a BBC TV drama, a sailor in a British drama, a regular role as a CID officer in a popular British crime drama, and impersonating a famous game show host trying to catch a meteor with my bare hands running up a steep hill in Scotland, in the middle of the night in the pouring rain and gale force winds, wearing only a skin tight 1970’s suit, trying not to show that I can’t feel my blood circulating any longer. I did say bizarre. I’ve been shot, stabbed, garroted, and even barged through a prop wall by a horse, (the horse one was for real, quite painful and certainly not in the script) all for the love of performing. I think I’ll add stuntman to my C.V. 🙂 And do you know what? I’ve loved every second. The only real downside is that there are such long periods in between jobs, and they don’t even come close to paying the bills.

Working on computer games has mostly paid the bills. I have been a computer game developer pretty much since I left University where I studied ‘Scientific and Technical Illustration‘. I have worked for a few different game companies and have worked on a couple of fairly famous games. I was an artist and sometimes animator on such games as ‘Grand Theft Auto’, ‘Body Harvest’, ‘Zenith’, ‘Micro Machines 64 Turbo’, ‘Bob The Builder’, ‘Master Ralleys’, ‘Corvette’, and countless demo level games of all kinds. I have also written a lot of tutorials on using software packages and how to make computer games. These tutorials have been used to help train new employees. I have recently stopped doing this fulltime though, and switched to a contract and freelance basis. I have missed out on quite a few auditions due to work commitments, so working freelance I can now commit more time to traditional art and acting. The freelance work is still mostly games, but some TV advertisement effect work has popped up. I love traditional painting also, which I do mostly in oils on canvas. I’ve been told that I have an Edward Hopper style of painting. The last oil painting I sold called ‘ Whistling And Drifting’, was a scene of a character during the American depression. I exhibited and sold this painting at a gallery in Scotland, on behalf of the ‘Children In Need’ charity. I’m currently making a series of oil paintings based around this same character during the American depression. I want to tell a story through the paintings of his travels and experiences. I have been really thinking about doing a painting of Robert Carlyle soon. He’s one of the best actors not just in my own country, but probably the world, he’s certainly one of my favourites.

I do still really enjoy making computer games, and I would like to have a chance at doing some effect work for movies, but I know that my strongest desires are those to be an actor and an artist.

There have been quite a few occasions when I have become disheartened in the pursuit of being an actor. Just from the seemingly endless pursuit of chasing a really good career-making role. I’m still looking for that first good role. At times it seems to be getting further and further from reach. Something always brings me back though. One of the last things to revitalize me was the recent encouragement from an acting course director who reckons I’m a decent actor. He told me it also takes time, sometimes a long time, you need patience. If you have those, things will eventually happen for you. Seeing Billy Boyd from Glasgow, (Pippin from Lord of The Rings) getting his extremely well earned big break was a great inspiration. Things like that keep me going. But above all, I do love performing, I always have. How magnificent it would be to perform for a living.

Thinking about these things reminds me of what got me yearning for all of this addictive madness in the first place. I got my first ever taste of performing at the age of 5 in a school pantomime. I was a snake. And according to my parents I stole the show. I’ll have to take their word for that one. : ) I love reading about guys like Sam and Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell and all of that old ‘Evil Dead’ crew in fact. They all played a big part in my desire to be a serious actor. From watching those earliest Sam Raimi movies, and reading about how it all came to pass is the kind of stuff that makes dreams seem possible. I recently read the fantastic Bruce Campbell book ‘If Chins Could Kill’. It somehow makes it all seem a little bit more real and within reach. Hard work, but within reach. I get similar encouragement from the likes of Peter Jackson. Like Sam Raimi, Peter and his crew also started from the petty cash box, literally taking it in turns behind the camera when they were filming his first movie ‘Bad Taste’. Look where all of those guys are now.

When I was much younger I never really got any serious encouragement about my ambition to act. I do wonder what may have been different had I gone to a Drama school. I know that personal desire and ambition is important, but at an early and impressionable age, you do get influenced by the advice of those older than you. I began to make my dreams a reality when I got a little older and more independent. My parents finally realized that acting actually can be a real and paying job when I got my first pay check from an acting job through the door. It was only a little under £200, but I don’t think I could have been happier had it been for a million. As far as I know I’m the first person in my entire family history to pursue a career not considered conventional.

I send off countless C.V.s and photos of myself to casting directors, and follow up on each one about every 4 months. I know that I have no control whatsoever once that C.V is in the post as I’m aware that most casting directors probably get dozens if not hundreds of such deliveries each day, and from actors with more experience than myself. But even the hottest actors today were once at such a stage. They were also once waiting for some brave soul to take a gamble and give them their first break. I’m sure persistence is an important element.

I know if I keep working hard and training that something should come from it all, hopefully while I’m still young enough to run up steep hills in the dark and in the rain. : )

I would value and appreciate any thoughts that anyone has about what I have written here on the rocky road to becoming an actor (sometime stuntman). ; )

~Paul Reeves ~ (originally published on my old site in 2005 / moved to Officially Plugged in 2010)

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