Most of an actor’s life is spent waiting around. That’s the weird thing about this career.
You spend so much time not acting. I’m so used to it now.
I try to keep busy when I’m not on set for Red Rock. I go to the gym, I play football twice a week. And, a lot of the time you are preparing for other auditions.
Acting wasn’t exactly the plan when I was a kid. It began for me because I was such an energetic child.
My parents thought I needed an outlet for that energy, so they sent me to drama classes.
I enjoyed them but didn’t take it too seriously until I began being sent for auditions and landed a part in the film Song for a Raggy Boy.
That changed everything. That’s when I realised I could ‘do’ acting for a living.
What I love about it is the opportunity it gives me to put myself in someone else’s shoes and to express emotions I wouldn’t really get a chance to express otherwise.
I was quite a shy child, which is strange considering the career I chose. I kept the head down at school although I had no interest in the work.
I’m not from a showbiz family. My dad owns a freight company and my mum works with him, but my parents were always really supportive of my choice.
When it comes to acting and work I am totally disciplined. I am very prepared when I go on set. In the other parts of my life, not so much.
I’m good at separating my work life from my personal life. I don’t continue thinking or being the character once I come off set.
I haven’t played a part yet that requires that.
It can be difficult to stay motivated, so I have learnt to create my own structure. I eat right, and I work out as you want to look as good as possible.
You have to in this world, so I need to give myself the best chance I can of succeeding.
My idea of misery is doing a job I don’t love that doesn’t give me butterflies.
I don’t think my heart would beat faster, as it does when I’m heading towards the set, if I was on my way to the office.
I’ve had plenty of odd jobs along the way: working in bars, working in the airport at all hours delivering freight for my dad’s company.
I am definitely a true night owl. I’m working full time on Red Rock now which means the first scene is at 6.30am.
I find it hard to shut off at night. My mind is still racing. But I have got into a routine where I hope to be asleep by midnight.
Red Rock has been such a success. It’s a drama, up there with the best Ireland has produced.
Every actor in the country was auditioning for it and I did so five or six times, but it didn’t work out.
Then, a few months later, I got a call saying they wanted me to play a new detective in the station. The cast and crew really is like one big family.
We shoot four episodes in a week— that’s eight to nine scenes a day. I come home emotionally drained. There’s a break over the summer, when I can do other work.
If I could be someone else for a day, I’d be Keith Richards. He has lived an incredible life.
He has done and seen things I can only imagine, and I’d get to play music in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
I still struggle with nerves. It keeps you in the moment and keeps you good.
Once the camera rolls you get lost in the work. My advice is to be as prepared as possible.
My biggest challenge is dealing with rejection. This is ongoing. I’d like to say I’m great at handling it by now, but I’m not.
You are not going to get 99% of the auditions you go for. It usually comes down to your look. There is nothing you can do about it but take a deep breath and move on.
I’ve been close to getting big parts and have gone for call back after call back, to be told ‘no’ in the end.
When I audition now, as soon as I walk out the door I forget about it and tell myself it is in the hands of the acting gods.
* Chris Newman plays Rory Walsh on Red Rock, which airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays on TV3.
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