Anthony Arowojolu from My Trinity Magazine sits down with Angela Peters, founder of UK Actors Tweetup, London Wing and asks, What drives you to persist?
Question: For the benefit of our audience who may not know you very well, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a London based actress who moved from Australia about nine years ago. I can’t believe I’ve actually been in ‘showbiz’ for over a decade now, and appeared in award winning feature films, and television to other random jobs like Match.com and commercials. It’s all rather silly fun being an actor. And then in my spare time I rock climb. I absolutely adore the sport!
Question: Which projects are you most proud of and why?
I must say that launching the Tweetup is one of the projects I am most proud of. Seeing it become what it is six years on from when it started as a humble little 10-people-getting-together-in-a-pub event is truly wonderful. I’m also really proud of a bunch of films I’ve done, most of which haven’t come out yet – but fingers crossed you’ll see one or two of them if we are lucky.
Question: How many awards have you won so far? And which ones are you most proud of?
Wow…I think I got neatest handwriting at primary school! Other than that all the awards I have received have been part of films, and never just for me personally. I hope I do win one one day.
Question: Tell us about the UK Actors Tweetup, the concept behind it?
The concept behind it was that I wanted to create a place for people to come and hang out informally each month to network, mingle and share experiences (and hopefully generate paid work for them), that wasn’t going to cost them lots of money. My ethos has always been that networking should be free – I still believe that! Why pay to meet and chat to other people. If we get speakers for free, we don’t charge our audience. And that hasn’t changed in six years. It’s really the only group of its kind in the UK as far as I’m aware.
Question: How did you established the relationship with your partners across the ‘Pond’ in LA?
Well I had originally been informally bringing director, producer, actor and other buddies together every few months to meet at central London bars for quite a while back in 2009/2010. Then in 2010 I visited LA and caught up with my pal Ben Whitehair, who founded the LA Actors Tweetup. We got chatting and I suggested we join forces and I start the UK Actors Tweetup (so my little networking group could become more formal in London). We both liked the idea of keeping the name and having a cross-Atlantic group so people could travel around the world and know they’d find a similar group of filmmakers there, waiting with open arms to invite them to their own events. The concept works so well. Since then I’ve had requests from Ireland and Nottingham to start Tweetups there too which is wonderful. Hoping Australia will be next.
Question: What’s the process for entering the UK Tweetfest and is it open to everyone?
The TweetFest was open to anyone in the UK who had a short film that was under 12 minutes. The only condition was you had to be a member, so if you weren’t yet subscribed to our mailing list, you had to add yourself when you applied.
Question: This being the very first UK Tweefest what do you expect it to deliver?
We want to deliver a night of excellence. We want to show off some of Britain’s best. We need more public events that showcase British filmmaking and acting talent in an open warm environment that supports creating great work. We want our TweetFest to be the same professional level that our monthly sessions are, and we want to show off how talented our members are.
As a side note, I was really disappointed when Virgin Media Short Film Festival finished as I think it was a wonderful platform to showcase very short (2.14 minute) films. Ideally we would love to get to the stage where our winners could receive a significant sum of money or kit like they did to support their next filmmaking project.
Question: What sort of feedback have you received from the members?
We have been absolutely humbled by the response from our acting and filmmaking members. Leading up to the event we were nervous no one would apply, then we were nervous no one would come. Silly of course! We’d felt so lucky to get Gemma Skyes (Dan Hubbard Casting), Alex Segal (Cole Kitchenn), Variety Magazine and representatives from BBC on the judging panel and really hoped that people would be thrilled to be a finalist and that our members would also see the networking benefit from a night of attending a festival.
Overall the feedback and tweets have been overwhelming. Twitter went nuts. We woke up to over 80 tweets waiting for us. I was touched. We had VIPs in the house, press, you guys, so many Casting Directors, agents, production companies and members attend and everyone seemed to have an incredible time – we closed the bar!
Question: It’s very interesting and quite unique that you brought an element of competitiveness for the film Shorts, What brought that on?
We figured that there’s nothing more wonderful for a filmmaker than being rewarded for hard work amongst peers. Why not add some healthy competition to the night. Next year we are planning on branching out to further than just one evening.
Question: From your extensive background in film, television, documentary and advertisements what are your expectations for the UK Tweetfest going forward?
Ideally I personally would love to see it extend over three nights, and to involve an international element from our other Tweetup groups around the globe, perhaps in the form of an international screening evening. Can you imagine! Most importantly we want to champion the filmmaking talent from the UK Actors Tweetup and get big enough that they get noticed further afield. We also want to offer a reputable film festival format that financially won’t break the bank. I’m always sad when I hear that some film festivals charge extortionate prices to enter their competitions. I also love what FilmFreeway do, so I’d like to engage with their platform when we launch next year’s festival.
Question: You’re known as a ‘Tour de force’ to some of your colleagues, can you tell us why?
Ha ha. I had absolutely no idea that I was. Maybe it’s because I ride my bike to my auditions all through summer 🙂
Question: Do you have any other projects in the near future, and if so, do you care to mention them?
I do. I’m really excited that in January next year I’ll be filming a feature in Wales with director Marc Price (one of our earliest Tweetup members), so I’ll be spending all of January in the freezing cold killing baddies. I’ve also got another international commercial coming out, and a few super cute shorts about to hit the festival circuit.
Question: Who or what is the greatest influence in your life.
Goodness. That is a hard one. One of my greatest influences are my parents… I say it all the time. When I said I wanted to be an actor (after I’d already gone to university to train as a Psychologist), they were so positive and supportive. They literally said “as long as you’re happy, we will support you honey!”. My whole family are like that. They are ridiculously awesome and that has influenced me because I’m not afraid to try anything.
And then watching Naomi Watts in 21 grams made me want to be an amazing actor, for the craft of it; for the story-telling; to move an audience. And also The Big Blue. I literally knew the level I wanted to work at after watching those films.
Question: Who would you most like to work with in the industry? I would love to work with some of our brilliant female actors of our generation like Emma Thomson, Rachel Weisz, or Emma Stone. I love those ladies! They’re magical on screen.
Question: Finally, in true MyTrinity Magazine.com fashion, can you a coin a phrase or ethos which you live by or is very dear to you.
Absolutely. The phrase that made me pursue my acting dreams in the first place was Henry Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” They have been my words to live by for over a decade.
By Anthony Arowojolu