Facing freelance challenges with FEU Training

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Can you tell us a bit about your career to date?

It has always been about acting for me. My first performance was in Cats when I was just three years old. My passion is mainly theatre, primarily in Shakespearean and classical productions. I’ve also performed in independent films.

I worked for three months at the Young Shakespeare Company, which I loved. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Lily McLeish, a wonderful director and assistant director to Katie Mitchell of RSC Productions. We devised performances based around mental health using the stories of people from inside the Glenside Hospital Museum, a former psychiatric hospital in Bristol. I have also attended a week-long workshop with Simon Godwin on Shakespearean tragedy, which was an amazing highlight.

A film I did with award winning Parkfield Pictures called “The Bris of Micheal Moshe Solomon” has just had its first screening, which was exciting. Another project I thoroughly enjoyed was some immersive promenade theatre. I played a she-wolf and we took some audience members on a 5km run. There were alternative roles for audience/participants that were much less energetic.

What do you like most about your work?

I love the characters that you get to embody. You get such great insights into other people’s lives and how they affect and impact you. I also have a deep love of the history of classics – finding new ways to say words that have been said for 100’s of years, to new audiences. I just love having that opportunity.

What are the biggest challenges of maintaining a freelance career?

The major challenges that I can think of are financial. My area of work has been especially affected by all the arts cuts there have been. Getting your name known and finding work each day can be tough. Then, when you do find work, the challenge becomes how to achieve a good work life balance, particularly when you are on tour.

Have you added new skills to your portfolio over time?

Yes, since graduating I’ve learned about and co-developed physical theatre performances. I’ve also learned puppetry. I’ve done screen training at the Bristol Old Vic and I trained in archery. I’m always keen to keep learning and developing and I like to challenge myself to learn two new skills each year.

What is the biggest challenge of learning the skills that you need?

Sometimes the biggest challenge is financial, and there is a time element. You have to free up the time then devise a plan to pay for it. It’s also not always just about learning new things, it can be a challenge maintaining your existing skills, especially while working full time.

What FEU Training courses have you attended?

  • Negotiation skills
  • Writing for Business
  • Digital Marketing for Creative Professionals
  • Finance for freelance webinars
  • Get motivated webinar

What are the most important things that you’ve learned?

I have got so much from all the sessions I’ve attended. On the Negotiation Skills day I learnt about the value of seeing negotiations as joint problem-solving opportunities, rather than approaching them as if I was the problem. That helped me focus on my priorities and what outcomes I needed, in addition to quality and cost. I feel a lot more confident about approaching negotiations now.

Writing the short biography and learning the “Three Thing Thing” on the Writing for Business day was really helpful and clarifying. The advice about being concise and to the point was great too. I now write emails that are a lot shorter, approachable and much more to the point. This has not only saved me time but, being more direct, has actually got me a couple of auditions. I found the Finance for Freelances day really helpful, particularly on tax. There were some eye-opening facts on the Digital marketing day, such as how little business actually comes from social media! I also loved the Urgent – Important prioritising tool from the Get Motivated webinar.

It really helps me when I get overwhelmed to sort out what really needs to be done. That way I can postpone things with a clear conscience. This saves me time too.

What has encouraged you to attend FEU training sessions?

I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about this great resource before. I came across it when I was living in Bournemouth and loved that you could learn via the webinars without leaving home. Not just that, you could ask questions and get them answered online. Since moving to London, I have taken every opportunity to attend live training days. I have taken pages and pages of notes that I know are going to help me throughout my whole career. They have helped so much already.

The sessions are great for networking. I have met so many lovely new people from other creative sectors whose paths wouldn’t otherwise have crossed with mine. It all helps to open new doors.

I am so grateful for how much I have learned. You can feel very isolated in this industry, so it is amazing to have the support that FEU Training offers.

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Bryony Reynolds

Bryony Reynolds is an Equity member and actor with a passion for Shakespeare and the classics. A recent convert to FEU Training, Bryony believes that what she is learning there will help her throughout her creative career.