Archive for April, 2011

John Barrymore’s Kind Words About Me

I thought I’d post up this testimonial John Barrymore wrote about me. He’s a great guy and I really appreciate the time it took him to do this for me.

I’ve been around show business all of my life. My parents were both working actors. Hell, my family’s been in the business for two hundred years. I’ve even got a kid sister who’s a bona fide movie star.

These days I teach acting and speech. Let me rephrase that to say I run an acting class. I’m the first one to admit that I can’t teach anyone how to act. Neither can anyone else, I’m just willing to admit it.

I audited classes at the Actors Studio in New York back when Lee Strasberg was teaching. I saw a lot of angst, but for my money ‘The Method’ is the worst of all the various theories of acting that are heaped upon the unwitting beginner. At least at the Royal Academy the actor learns how to speak and how to control her body, two very useful and entirely necessary skills.

As to the psychological aspects of the craft, that’s for the actor to discover on his own. No one can teach it, though many can stifle it and can prevent the nascent actor from discovering it. That’s what most acting teachers do, at least here in Hollywood.

Any individual is just that: individual, unique, and the discovery of the craft of make believe (or rather re-discovery, for we all were adept at it as children) is a unique path for each of us. There is no method, no one-size-fits-all technique or secret. Going to an acting teacher to learn how to act is as futile as going to a priest to find God. All you will get in return is useless dogma. But just as an acting coach, or a director can stifle an actor’s discovery of his own technique, likewise that coach, or that director can establish a working environment conducive to the discovery process. That’s what I try to do in my own classes.

Meanwhile I can teach them the tricks, and there are many, many tricks and techniques of film or stage acting that every experienced actor has figured out or learned from those that went before. Not the least of these is how to speak and how to stand. For the things an actor needs that can be taught are good speech, dexterity of movement and awareness of one’s body. The rest is immaterial, ethereal if you will.

No one, no authority can predict with any degree of accuracy who will or will not be able to discover their own process. One need look no farther than to Jack Nicholson’s early work in such Roger Corman classics as “The Raven” with Vincent Price. Nicholson was not merely bad, he was abominably bad, he looks completely lost. Yet Nicholson became an astoundingly good actor. Thankfully he persevered, no authority figure convinced him to find another line of work.

Conversely, there are those for whom the craft of acting is second nature; they step on stage or in front of a camera for the first time and it’s as if they’ve been doing it all their lives.  When I met Frankie Oatway he struck me as such an individual.

These are the lucky ones; perhaps they learned the craft in the course of their ‘straight’ careers as auto or insurance salesmen, or sometimes, as in Frankie’s case, it’s the sheer size of their personality; it’s too big for real life, only film or stage can comfortably house a personality of such dimension.

Frankie’s got a terrific career ahead of him playing tough guys, heroes and villains alike. Like many who inhabit that niche of the dramatic arts, Frankie’s a pussycat, a gentle giant with a heart of gold. But when he turns on the menace it’s as scary and as natural as any earthquake or hurricane.

What can I say? That’s a great rap from some so established in the acting industry. Thanks John.

For anyone who’s interested in John’s acting school, and there should be many, please see the details below.

John Barrymore Class Flyer

 

 

Local Underbelly Actor in Real Life Police Drama

Local Underbelly actor, Frankie Oatway’s on screen role came to life when he was forced out of his car by police and questioned.

The real life drama took place in the north of Brisbane after the actor had stopped to get a McDonalds on the way back to his Bribie Island home.

Police at the time were looking for a car with a similar description and when they went over to question the actor, saw a gun and a plastic bag with a blood stained shirt on the back seat. What they didn’t know was that Frankie was just returning from a photo shoot to promote his new film No Love for Harry, the gun was a toy gun he had used for the film, and the shirt was actually covered in tomato sauce!

After tensions were initially quite high, the police soon discovered some press cutting from the hit series Underbelly, and realised their mistake. They apologised and took some photos with the actor which will no doubt grace their lockers.

Frankie Oatway has been typically casual about the whole affair, laughing it off. He said “The police were only doing their job, and I guess seeing gun and tomato sauce covered shirt on the back seat was a little suspicious! When you have a mug like mine, people do tend to suspect you of something or other! I guess that’s why I tend to play the tough guy roles.”

Acting in Australia

Now here I am, in Australia. Since then I’ve been here, which is all of 12 months (and acting nine months), I’ve been in some of the most popular TV shows in Australia. For example Underbelly, the Golden Mile where I play a sprooker, or street barker as we call them in London, in and outside strip clubs in Sydney’s Kings Cross. They even used my London accent for this part. This is all a bit of a coincidence as when I was 14, I worked in some of London’s roughest joints in Soho, outside on the street for the clip joints and strip clubs, trying to pull the punters in. It really did bring back some good and some bad memories.

I have also had various parts on Gangs of Oz, where I play a mafia boss, again just being myself. Special Rescue Ops are in the process of writing me into the show because a well known Australian producer by the name of Peter Andrikidis took a shine to me, after an audition. Peter told my agent he must have me in as part of his show and future projects. He was also kind enough to say that I could be the new Bob Hoskins or Ray Winston of Australia.

I’ve done a number of TV commercials and am now involved heavily in a lead role in a feature film by a producer by the name of Simon van der Spoel. The film is called Redeemed and I play a London underworld boss in Australia.

I’m also involved with Simon’s short film, No Love for Harry which is almost complete. Again I am the lead role in this film. I’m Harry, an underworld boss from London. Some of the events in this film are based on my life and true events. Although it’s a short film, when it goes into the film festivals and online we are positive it will become a feature.

Simon was the man that really discovered me, from my first advert for TV, when he was the director on the shoot. As soon as he heard me speak, Simon said “Frankie your build and accent and cockiness is just what Australia wants to see and hear”. He loved my accent and immediately asked me if I was interested in doing a couple of films he was producing. I work well with Simon. He’s got natural ability in film producing and directing and I believe he will be a total success and both these films will make the headlines!

Australia, the country and the people have given me an opportunity to start a new life and have supported me all the way. I would just like to say to my new friends and the people of Australia, thank you.

Amazing Article from RHM Magazine

An amazing new article was just released about me in RHM magazine. This is really fantastic stuff and I’d like to thank all of those involved including: –

  • Elizabeth Cole – RHM Magazine
  • Bill Greene – Roaring Success Radio
  • Ian McLennon Shipp
  • John Barrymore
  • George Robert Steele in his article on the new movie Father Harrigan
  • Chico Rey
  • Howard McNair

..and everyone who reads the article.

By the way if you are in the list above and I haven’t included a link to your latest project, please let me know in the comments and I’ll add you in.

Thanks to you all!

Frankie Oatway the Actor

 

Frankie Oatway the Actor!

My son moved out to Australia a while back, so I thought I’d give it a go over here too.

To start with I thought I’d jump back on the tools and get stuck into some building work over here, but what with the recession and all, that line of work didn’t seem to be too clever. I was in a bit of a 2 and 8. I really couldn’t decide what I wanted to, and should be doing. I was missing my other kids and grandchildren in London and feeling terribly home sick. So enjoyed myself a bit by having a a couple of swift halves with my cousin Ray at his club in Brisbane.

After a month or so I decided to get myself sorted out and try a cab drivers course. So I went to the first lesson and I was talking to this geezer who’s brother did a bit of acting work in adverts. By the end of the night we were getting on double well and he said why don’t you give the acting agency a call.

Well I thought acting might be good for a laugh so I gave this bird a call and arranged to go to the Gold Coast for a screen test.

On the day of the screen test I got dressed up in my best whistle [suit from whistle and flute] and looked the bollocks [good], if I do say so myself. When I got there I went up in the lift and it gets stuck on the floor below where the screen test was taking place. Well, your best whistle ain’t meant to be worn on a hot day, stuck in a lift, in Australia! I started sweating like a pig and to say I got the ump [stressed] was an understatement!

As I’m stood in this lift some bird starts talking on the speaker saying that the lift people are in Melbourne and to give them a call if you’re stuck. Well, I thought, how they going to get someone up from Melbourne to get me out and anyway I never had a phone. So I started talking and giving this bird a right load of verbal. I got louder and louder, and hotter and hotter for about an hour, until I finally realised that this voice is a recorded message, so there’s nobody listening anyway! I thought that’s it, fuck it, I’ve missed the screen test and I’ll probably be stuck there all day.

All of a sudden, the lift starts moving and I got to the floor where I was supposed to be going. The bird I was seeing was stood there pissing herself laughing with another fella. They must have been stood there listening to me getting the ump for ages. She says, “Ok Frankie, can we take your details in the office”, so I walked towards them feeling like a 42 carrot plonker, I get to the office and she asked if I wanted to work on an ad the next day. I said “I thought you wanted me for a screen test” and she said that after what they both heard me saying, getting the ump in the lift, and then the way I walked towards them, all cocky, I was just what they were looking for.

I thought hold up, this birds mad as a March hare, but there you go, she gave me the job there and then!

My History

I was born and spent most of my life in London. Knocking about on the streets you grow up fast, especially where I come from! I’m a real true life proper London cockney. I had the misfortune of being slung out of school at 13, which I really regret. I was on the verge of going down the wrong path into the London gang scene and was a bit of a tearaway. I was on the pathway and the production line of another London villain. Thankfully I chose a different way.

To be honest, most of my education has been from the school of life and hard knocks. I had to think on my feet as a youngster. The people I was growing up with friends and some close family were and are part of the London true life underworld. I escaped that life with a lot of luck and hard work.

As a new member of the acting world my past is a bonus as I don’t have to try to hard to portray most of my characters, scenes and the roles I get parts for. Its just a way of life for me, so I bring the villain or gangster parts I play, to life, as I was brought up rubbing shoulders with these kind of people. My natural cockney accent is something I’m very proud of, as it was that and my cocky character that got me noticed in Australia. People just loved to listen to me talk, the way I walk and carry myself.

From school I spent years working in the markets in London. I joined the British army, parachute regiment and spent a number of years serving as a soldier and as a physical training instructor, so weapons are not new to me. From the point of view the scenes I play with any form of guns etc I can do that blindfolded. I’ve been on active service in various parts of the world and seen my fair share of that life.

When I left I got into the building and property game and was quite successful. I spent many years working for the BBC building sets for some really popular TV shows in the 80′s and 90′s, like Only Fools and Horses, the two Ronnie’s, Eastenders, Top of the Pops, Generation game, Dr Who, Grange Hill and many more.

I got noticed at the BBC and gained designer merits for my work and input for various shows. I even done some minor acting rolls in them days. If the show I was working on was short of someone who looked and talked like a bit of a villain they used me! So I had the best of both worlds at the BBC.

I am a man that gives all he’s got when I put my mind to it. I love and enjoy a new challenge and my new career is educating me from a reading and writing point of view that I missed out on when i was a young boy. Now acting is giving me another chance of education.

Introductions

Hello everyone, and welcome to my world! I thought I’d write a bit about myself, and how by a series of lucky chances, I’ve managed to land myself in a series of acting jobs.

The best part about my story is it shows that you don’t have to graduate from drama school to start an acting career. I have fallen into it and it seems to have taken off, in a big way! I have a thousand and one stories to tell about my life, some very funny, some very sad. This is just a brief bit of history about me.

I hope you find something of interest and welcome your input and comments.