Monday, 31 October 2011

Reasons I’m proud to be Finnish

Although I live in London I was born and raised (for the most part) in Finland. It is a major part of my identity and something I take pride in. Finland is a small country and merely being from this country makes me stand out from the crowd here in London and a great icebreaker in conversation. People are always interested to learn more about Finland. To teach and educate people about Finland brings me great pleasure. When I started my relationship with Skywalker, our first trip to Finland together was memorable since he helped me see my country through new eyes. Here's a list of things that make me especially proud.

I am proud of the equality there is among Finnish men and women. Finnish women are not afraid to be strong and opinionated. The current president is a woman. Women still earn slightly less than men for the same work which needs to addresses but comparing to many countries in the world Finnish women are doing well. I have always been encouraged to be proud of myself and not feel inferior to men.

In the Finnish language we have a word "Sisu" that can't be easily translated into English. I would explain as perseverance and having guts. It is sustained effort against all odds and never giving up in your efforts and your dreams. In my career there has been so many times I have wanted to throw in the towel, back my bags and return home with my tail between my legs and admitting defeat but every time something stops me. It is not just pride but my sisu which makes me grit my teeth and try time and again. Sisu is something all finnish people possess, an integral part of our cultural personality.  

Great Education System
I have had the privilege to study in not just one or two but three countries and throughout my studies my pride of the finnish education keeps on growing year after year. Education is free and accessible to all and the standard of teaching is considered internationally high. Every year Finland ranks in the top three in the world in overall reading, writing and maths skills. Every finn has to study at least 3 languages: Finnish, English and Swedish and has the opportunity to study additional languages. I gave French a try while some of my class mates chose Spanish and Latin.


Honesty is valued over other personality traits. I have been told I can come across as straightforward, blunt or even rude but this is only my finnish honesty rearing its head. Finnish people do not give compliments if they do not mean them or even smile or laugh much out of politeness. Whatever we do we mean it. You know where you stand with a Finn.

The value of modesty as a personality trait ties in closely with honesty. We are a modest people and are brought up not to boast about our successes. Take pride in your work and believe that your due will come your way. I personally think we sometimes take this too far but still in a time of increasing narcissism there is definitely room for some modesty in the world. We have a high value of work in our culture and anyone who works hard deserves to feel proud.

Natural beauty 
Finland is a beautiful country with a lot of untouched wilderness. We are blessed to enjoy the whole range of seasons from warm and even hot summers to cold snow filled winters. We have an abundance of lakes and forests. I feel at peace and closer to nature in Finland. 

Here is a snowy view a stone's throw away from my parents house in Espoo, Finland.

Finland is the home to many talented artists but Tove Jansson, the creator of Moomins, must be the most well known. I know my opinion may be biased but I still think the Moomins is one of the best children's programs ever made. What other show has such a wide range of different characters and addresses so many important feelings and issues for children to explore. 

 If you have not visited Finland you should go. I have taken Skywalker there twice now and he was mesmerized. He even asked why in the world I came to London. The answer is short and simple in search of an international acting career. I have a dream of owning a vacation home in Finland if I can ever afford it and visiting much more often as it hold such a special place in my heart.  

                                                    Skywalker on his first trip to Finland

All this has made me crave some finnish Fazer chocolate! If you have any memories or experiences of Finland please share. 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

It's in the bag!

Great news! I got the part of the evil queen I auditioned for! That's my December sorted, now to just scrape through November. I can feel a lot of waitressing coming my way. But at the end of the day I will always smile since I know I have a paid part coming my way. It's funny how life surprises you. The other week I was really depressed since I hadn't done any paid acting work this year and doubted I would get anything. Bing. Thank you fairy god mother! I will keep you all posted on how life treats me on our tour in December.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

All Hallow's eve is approaching!

                  One of my favourite times of the year is approaching! Any excuse to dress up and play! Ever since last year me and Skywalker have spent halloween weekend at the MCM Expo London. A massive cosplaying event and the first one I attended in England. Funnily enough my very first cosplay was at the Ropecon in Finland. It was probably ten years ago when I cosplayed as Death from Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels. I wasn't even aware I was cosplaying then! I always  have the intention of having a new cosplay for each year but this year life got in the way of my plans and I was unable to finish my cosplay in time. I'm hoping to have it done for May's Expo. So I will be re-wearing my costume from last year. Harleyquinn!  And Skywalker as my Joker. Here is a pic from last year's Expo. I have made tweaks to the cosplay since the photo has been taken. After Saturday I will be posting photos from this year's Expo and our experiences. My expectations are high as last year we went down a storm and posed for what felt like a million photos! I hope to meet old and new cosplay friends and have a ball. If there's any cosplayers out there that recognize me leave a comment. Also any comments from non-cosplayers welcome too!

Film review: Dolphin tale

Time for the second film review. I was dragged to see this movie by a friend as I usually avoid blatantly sappy American movies, but who could say no to a free cinema ticket?
                This movie is based on a true story about Winter the dolphin who gets tangled in a fishing net and loses his tail and needs a prosthetic tail to replace it. As a huge animal lover I was surprised that I had never heard of this story before. This is a lovely sweet film for the whole family. It is the Free Willy for today's generation. (Also stars Winter herself!) It mixes amazing CGI with real filmed footage with such talent that I was left wondering if I had just seen CGI or real footage. I was sucked in by this little film and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. It doesn't deliver any surprises but made me smile and brought a tear to my eye. Morgan Freeman's funny one liners were the icing on the cake for me. I won't be rushing to buy the DVD but will recommend this to all families with children and animal lovers. Three stars.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Film review: Drive

I was spoiled last weekend by going to the cinema twice! I love cinema so I have decided to put some film reviews on my blog.

Firstly a film that has been the subject of a lot of hype Drive with new star Ryan Gosling. I went to see this film with a high expectations which probably affected my opinion of the film. A warning for sensitive souls, you will be bombarded with bloody scenes that would make Tarantino proud. Which gets the thumbs up from me. The film sucked me in with it's ambience from the beginning but left me unsatisfied. Ambience was concentrated on to the extent that the story telling suffered. Ryan Gosling's performance consists entirely of one expression. Strong and silent type is fair enough but there needs to be some flicker of emotion in a 2 hour movie! I had an overwhelming urge to stand up and scream: "Real people do not act that way!" Fortunately for the other cinema goers I was able to control myself. This albeit beautifully filmed movie ends ambiguously. I can't call this a bad movie but it could have been so much better with just a few tweaks and some expression from Gosling's robotic character. Three stars.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

How to nail auditions. Tips and tricks

I had an audition today and I left feeling great afterwards. A success in itself. Many of my acting teachers and mentors have said this "Auditioning is not acting". As a professional actor I now know what they mean. You can be an amazing actor and still fail auditions. But until you get a name for yourself in the business you will have to learn how to at least bear auditions. I have complied a list of tips based on what I have learned.

Tips for a successful audition:

First let’s start by defining a good audition. A good audition might not get you the part you are auditioning for but it will showcase your best side to the casting panel and build your reputation as an actor and keep you in their minds when they are casting their next production. 

Representation: These days even getting the auditions to go to is a hurdle in itself. Acquiring an agent is the best thing you can do for your career. You already have someone who vouches for your talent without you having to say a word. A lot of auditions aren't publicly advertised and stay within industry professionals i.e director and casting agents tell agents what they are looking for and the agents produce actors for the auditions.

Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse! Every audition is different. Some casting panels will talk to you a lot, some hardly at all. Your best bet is to know your audition speeches as well as you can. Unless auditions are sprung up on you at the last minute which sadly for actors happen a lot. This is why you should have a back up monologue in your repertoire instead of just relying on what they have asked you to prepare. Being prepared will build your confidence which is essential to giving a good performance.

Know your weaknesses and strengths. I know my eyes have a tendency to wander especially when I am nervous in an audition. In preparation for auditions I have repeated my monologues in front of mirrors and chosen spots on walls to concentrate. Now whenever I go for an audition I choose a spot to do my monologue to which is near the audition panel but right in their eyes as no one likes to be eyeballed. I also know my strength is my big eyes which are able to express a lot without me even having to say anything. Camera auditions are the chance for me to get the big guns out.

Listen like a hawk to what the audition panel is saying. When the audition panel give you tips on how to do your speech treat it as gold dust. They might have an idea how they want the part to be played and want to see how suitable you would be. Ignoring these will be fatal to your audition. You might not have practiced what they are asking you to do but they know this and are not looking for perfection but potential! 

Don’t assume you know what they are thinking. You will never know exactly what other people are thinking and while auditioning becoming obsessed with why the audition panel isn't looking at you or why they are writing during your speech can potentially ruin your performance. Concentrate on your speech not the panel.

Ask for peoples opinion. Before auditions I make all my friends and family watch me and give comments. They might not be industry professionals but they can still give you valuable insight. I have ignored my boyfriend's comments on the speed of my monologue thinking he doesn't know anything about acting since he is not in the same industry, only to be told by an audition panel not to rush my monologue.

Enjoy it or at least look like you are. Looking or acting petrified will only make you seem unconfident and have your name struck of the list of potentials. If you appear to enjoy the challenges they throw at you gives out the impression you can handle any situation. I don't enjoy auditions and still sometimes feel like my heart is about to burst from my chest but the audition panel will never know this. I keep smiling and my head high. 

Learn from each audition. After auditions I briefly right down what worked in the audition and what didn't. The way I made one of the panelist laugh with the wry humor I used. The most important lessons are to be learned from your mistakes. I know now to prepare as thoroughly as I can for auditions but not have a panic attack if you don't have time to prepare your best performance as they might ask you to do something else entirely.

The most important thing to remember is that every actor has good and bad auditions. Succeeding in auditions and acting is all about learning to pick yourself up after the disappointment and striving to do better next time. I had auditioned to the casting agent I met today before and given what I still see to this day as my worst audition. I am unashamed to say I went home in tears, wallowed in self pity and lost opportunities for a full day before I was ready to brush myself off and start again. Allow yourself to wallow as long as you pick yourself up after your allotted wallowing time is over. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The high of a successful audition.

I had an audition today for a pantomime that is going to be performed during Christmas. It is not the best part in the world but it is one further step in my career and actually performing in front of an audience and the best bit: it's a PAID gig. I left the audition feeling great. I think I gave a great audition, something I have been struggling with ever since I graduated from drama school. To celebrate this I started writing my own list of tips on succeeding in auditions. I will post this list tomorrow as I am struggling to stay awake. Tomorrow my lovelies you will witness my first ever tips and tricks blog post. I'm quite excited.

Oh I nearly forgot the best bit of the role I auditioned for. She's a villain. The evil stepmother. *rubs hands in excitement* If the snippets of the script I read are anything to go by I will immensely enjoy this part! (fingers crossed I get it). I do love playing villains!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Actors, you must learn to juggle!

Life as an actor is mostly a juggling act. For all those thinking about a career in showbusiness be warned it is not easy! But if it truly is your passion don't let my warnings hinder you. When I first told my family about my plans to become a professional actor as a teenager I was bombarded with statements. "Oh that is a HARD career." "Really? Maybe you should reconsider." "There is so much competition in that field." The wave of unsupporting comments was topped of with my grandmother's undying words: "I'd love you to become a doctor!" If you met my grandma you would understand she is not a woman you want to disagree with. At the time I didn't take these comments well and saw it as a comment on my abilities. Nowadays I see the truth in their words. You need determination, perseverance and undieing passion. If you attend drama school all this will be repeated to you countless times. The reality doesn't hit you until you graduate and step into the life as a professional actor. Being a professional actor for most means being out of work more than in work in your chosen field. Unless you are one of the very lucky ones to get a big role straight out of drama school. Damn you Orlando Bloom!
               My life is a constant juggling act between making ends meet and trying to progress in my acting career. Before you make a name for yourself you will be offered a lot of low paid or unpaid work. These have the opportunity to get you valuable contacts but doesn't pay the rent. After I graduated I was surprised to find that flexible part time work is really hard to find. Auditions have a tendency to pop up with little or no notice. I was lucky to find work in a recruitment agency that is very flexible but enough shifts to pay the rent are never guaranteed. It is important you have an employer who understands this. This is why I ventured into nail technology. I am currently negotiating a position in a local nail spa and have told the spa owner this so many times I'm blue in the face. I want to avoid unpleasant situations or accusations of not following a contract at all costs. I still haven't decided whether to accept the job or not. Acting always comes first and I need to keep reminding others and myself of this contstantly. Any actors out there I would love to hear your experiences and methods of keeping your head above water. Good bye for now. I have an audition tomorrow. Break a leg!

For acting and audition tips you might find this e-book useful.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Fangtasia London

As I did the daily perusal of Facebook, an update by Fangtasia London, a group I am a member of reminded me of my birthday last month. As I was approaching a benchmark age (25!) I decided that I wanted a night of celebrations I wouldn’t forget. For weeks I was in despair since I couldn’t think of a suitably special way to celebrate but by chance one day I stumbled over the Fangtasia London Facebook group. Fangtasia seduced me with its promises of True Blood inspired events filled with costumes, gothic music, performances and alcoholic True Blood drinks. As a lover of vampires, a huge fan of the True Blood television series and the Charlaine Harris books I had made my choice. I sent out invites and waited for the weekend of my birthday.
Finally it was the time to dust of the steel-boned corset and Victorian skirt from the back of the wardrobe and let my goth side rule. Carefully applying dramatic make up, putting on my corset with more than a little help from my better half, Skywalker, whose complaints about rope burn were the only thing deterring my excitement, we were ready. Skywalker himself looked edible in a 19th century inspired gothic outfit with an embroidered jacket, boots and blood red satin ruffle shirt and his long curly hair tied back in resemblance of Louis from Interview with a Vampire. He even adorned some vampire fangs.    
We met our friends at the Resistance Gallery and I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed. The setting wasn’t nearly as spacious as I had envisioned while reading about the event. The bar was just a selection of random bottles and the only True Blood bottles to be seen were empty ones apparently only for show. Despite that we stayed at the Resistance for the rest of the night. The music was amazing. I fell in love with the DJ’s choices, they created the perfect atmosphere and made me wish the set would be played in all clubs.
The evening’s entertainment included a fire breathing/burlesque act and a bondage act. The performances were truly awe-inspiring. During the evening I met individuals who, if rumors are to be believed, drink human blood with the both partners consent. None such activities took place at the event. This is where it gets a bit too much for me. Each to their own but count me out. That is where I draw the line between fantasy and reality. I can't see it being enjoyable or of any use. 
So how was my birthday? It wasn't what I expected and I did go home feeling slightly disappointed. Only a handful of the people I had invited had shown up and I felt Fangtasia London had been boastful and a bit imaginative with their description of the event. I am still waiting for my alcoholic True Blood drink. But I must say I have had much more disastrous nights out. I think I need to go to their next event and then report back. Here is Fangtasia London's blog for the curious among you.

                            My girls and I all vamped up

P.S All feedback about my blog is welcome!  

Saturday, 15 October 2011


I think I have some explaining to do about why I stated I might be a walking, talking cliché. My life has followed a certain very well known pattern I have seen in several forms of media countless times. I was an outcast as a teenager and severely bullied for many years (a topic for another post) and to survive I started to feel strangely proud of my freak status. Due to my experiences I was diagnosed with depression and have been in therapy for many years and still go to this day. I have chosen to pursue a career in one of the hardest industries in the world and despite all my self doubt and fears I have unwavering feeling it is what I was meant to do. I will not stop trying until I get there. Oh and I waitress part-time. A waitress aspiring to be an actress. What is more clichéd than that?! Yet it is my reality.
             Thankfully as I have grown up over years I no longer take myself as seriously as I used to as a teenager. Sometimes you just have to laugh if only to keep sane. I have this inked on my skin. P.S It is misspelt on purpose.

To answer the question: "Why?"

I thought it would be appropriate that my first post would answer the questions about my reasons for starting a blog. This will be mostly a personal blog. I already spend much too much time online and for last couple of years have been lamenting over the fact I no longer get enough writing done. This is my attempt at logging my precious memories, questions and thoughts before I forget them.
         I have always felt life is too short for all the things I want to do. My dream would be to have at least 3 lives and have 3 different careers and experiences in each. Maybe I am just too indecisive but I struggle with this feeling of not having enough time almost every day. For now I have decided to pursue my dream of becoming a successful actor and keep my other interests as hobbies. For a while I thought about starting several blogs for all my different interests but that seemed like too much work to be honest. I am sure there are other renaissance people out there with many interests and passions who I have specially dedicated this blog to. I welcome everyone to enjoy my blog whether a renaissance person or not.