17th Berlinale Talents | 2019
Joseph Stacey is a passionate actor, instinctive and broad-minded. Loves discovering creative opportunities to make friends, collaborate and explore the human condition.
Hi Joseph thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for the Berlinale?
Hi Niger, it's a pleasure. Yes, I think I'm getting there. I've been enjoying the cryptic acting studio homework that Jean Louis sent and I've only got a little bit of my monologue left to memorise.
Are there any nerves ahead of the festival?
I wouldn't say there were nerves as such. Maybe some mild trepidation and bubbling excitement. Generally, any nerves I have tend to relate to external factors that I can't control like, will my alarm wake me up on the departure day or will the February weather prevent my plane from taking off? Etc.
What does it mean for you to be part of the 17th edition of Berlinale Talents?
I feel very privileged to be included in this years edition of Berlinale Talents. There are so many passionate and talented practitioners from all over the world taking part and to be invited alongside and be involved in conversations that may shape the future of our industry is a real honour.
What do you hope to get from this experience?
I hope it will be an opportunity to broaden my horizons, increase my knowledge and meet creative practitioners from across the world. I'm really looking forward to the Actor's Lab workshop and I hope to make lots of new friends during my time.
Can you tell me a little bit about your work, when did you first get the acting bug?
I was pretty mediocre and disinterested at school but one year I stepped up last minute to play young Martin in a school production of “Royal Hunt For the Sun”. I remember the lines not being too much of a problem, enjoyed the camaraderie and I got to hit a drum! After a Saturday run of the performance my art teacher, who had written me off in her subject, for good reason came over to me. I remember her saying “Joe everything you were doing was so real I believed you believed that it was real which made me believe it was real.” I didn't quite understand what was meant by this and on reflection, she may have had a glass of wine or two at the interval but nevertheless, I received the compliment well and it was that point I thought Yes! Acting! Quite like acting. Think I might be an actor.
I became involved in screen acting through the Kino movement, a collaborative filmmaking community which gave me an opportunity to hone my craft and make tons of short films with filmmakers from all over the world. Some of them did well at festivals and received a bit of acclaim. In between my collaborative film projects I generally work as a patient roleplayer. This involves training and examining medical professionals through simulating realistic medical scenarios. I love working on films when the opportunity occurs but I also really enjoy the roleplay as it's great for exploring a huge variety of characters.
Do you remember your first acting role?
Yes. I played King Herod in my primary school nativity when I was six and I had to scream at the three wise men in Welsh for not bringing me the head of baby Jesus… That probably isn't the lines verbatim but that's how I remember them.
My first film role came a lot later. I played a bad wizard.
Looking back on your first film would you do anything differently?
Oh yes… pretty much everything.
What is it about the creative process of acting that interests you so much?
I love problem-solving with the director and other actors when we are pulling scenes apart and discovering how to make them work. My favourite part of the process is when it clicks and you feel like you are not acting any more just reacting to one another in the moment. That's when it feels magical.
"Keep an open mind, be free to travel, stay healthy..."
Have you always had a passion for acting?
Yes, I think I have, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up so acting makes sense to me.
Are you a method actor?
I've always thought that there is a bit of confusion around what a method actor is. The method to me is one approach to getting a job done and it can be very powerful and has led to some of the most iconic performances of our time. However, it is only really suitable for the kind of films that give an actor time and space to indulge in the practice. As most of the work I find myself doing has such a quick turnaround with lots of projects tending to overlap the method isn't really a practical approach. I guess I do have an imaginative process that incorporates my understanding of a characters inner psychology and I probably instinctively employ emotional techniques used by method actors but I wouldn't call myself a method actor.
I'd love an opportunity to explore the method acting approach to a role but I think the project, has to fit the approach. I 'm looking forward to that day though.
How important is the collaborative process in filmmaking for you?
I think it is vital but as actors, we are often the last collaborators to come on board a project which can sometimes make us feel at odds with the process and occasionally separated from it. This is why I think it is so wonderful that the Berlinale Talents scheme takes actors into consideration because it reaffirms our value and contribution to the collaborative process.
How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?
I think it's changed a lot. I trained at a theatre school called the Arden where at the time there was a limited exploration of screen-craft so as I've worked on screen more and more over the years my performances have become much more suited to that medium. I hate watching myself in early films, I feel like I am literally chewing the scenery till there is nothing left. With that said though I still find myself continuously building on and developing the psychological techniques that we explored at the Arden and still apply them to most things, I do today. I've just learned to apply them better with less shouting and less facial movements.
What are you currently working on?
We had our first performance of “You Can't Really Know This” last night, a theatre piece I've been involved in with a company called “Eve Was Framed”. We devised it for the psychology fringe festival and it explores the evolving relationship between a mental health practitioner and their patient.
And finally, do you have any advice or tips for any thinking about getting into acting?
Okay so, off the top of my head. I think you need to really want to do it as there is no clear path to success and you will have to be ready for a lot of rejection but embrace the lows as much as the highs because these emotions will be useful somewhere down the line.
Be creative and find good fulfilling work that you can do alongside being an actor.
Be present and cultivate a sense of wonder about the world.
You can't act without other people so find or create a community of actors, writers and directors.
Study acting, actors and different approaches to the craft so you can develop a process that works for you.
Train your voice and body, tune your ears into other peoples accents and mimic them but don't get caught, logistically You will probably need to think about moving within reach of a major city not only for professional auditions but you are more likely to discover the kind of creative communities that will help to sustain you and give you opportunities to develop.
Keep an open mind, be free to travel, stay healthy, learn an instrument, Watch films, read books and study Shakespeare... but don't take him too seriously.
That's all I can think of for the moment. It's fun and rewarding