Neil Newby: Actor, Cinematographer, and Sound Man. How Art Begets Art. S2, E7.
The Rabbit Hole:
How many times have you asked a simple question expecting a simple answer? Let’s say “How to Cook a Christmas Dinner“, or “How to Contour My Makeup“, or even “How Many Shades of Gray Are There?” Next thing you know, you know all about what spices pair well with what meats, the finer details of makeups with certain skin tones, and how there are 65,000 different shades of gray and lackluster book series titled, 50 Shades of Gray. One question leads to a host of answers, which send you down a rabbit hole of subcategories of whatever you want to learn.
Neil Newby set out to become an actor and became so many things as well as a fantastic actor.
The Rebel With Many-A-Cause.
Neil as a young child watched in awe as James Dean used the range of emotions in the iconic film, Rebel Without a Cause. His parents, god bless them, encouraged him to watch classic films and through that, he grew up around the greats. These experiences eventually bringing him to the idea to become an actor at the early age of nine years old. At that moment he got his first agent and from there he was off on the quest to become the actor he knew he could become.
As he acted in films he began to realize that from the insider perspective of an actor, he could only see so much. He could only see his perspective of the material and his performance. He then chose to become apart of the crew, with the intention of seeing how other actors act, to see how they perform within a space, and ultimately to decide how he would react to the given character, material, and environment. He started from the bottom, choosing to be a Production Assistant, or Personal Assistant ( otherwise known as a “PA”). He then found the wonder of being behind the scenes and just how many jobs there are behind the scenes. Everyone on set specializes in one specific facet of filmmaking. Whether the niche being Grip and Electric, or Script Supervisor, or Camera Department, or Set Decorator- every crew member is creating a real, breathing atmosphere and world that the actors are inhabiting. He saw the beauty and the stress of the crew and picked up many of the departments early on and still picks up various jobs like Locations Manager to this day. He really is the rock star of behind the scenes, Sound and Camera being his departments of choice, as well as just being an incredible actor.
If you are working in any facet of the film industry you are making all the money, right? Neil breaks the illusion that if you work in the film industry that you are making millions of dollars. Not. True. At. All.
Be Sure to Feed the Social Media
With the advent of the internet, it is really enticing for a director or a producer to look at an actors social media following and decide to hire someone based solely on their audience. The rationale being that if this person has an audience, that audience will come and buy tickets for the film that the actors have worked on. Neil talks about in the face of not having a facebook or using social media he was able to get acting jobs, get crew work, and not necessarily have an issue with any of that. He proves himself on set and gets hired through the people he knows and the work he makes.
We did discuss the ingenuity and witty solutions that fellow filmmakers have made (check out #shittyrigs)
The Secret to Making Great Films
- FEED THE CREW WELL. Happy bellies make great films. Period.
- Keep your mind open. Both behind and in front of the camera allow yourself to play within the space that you are given. Come in with a plan, but the details are subjective to the moment.
- Be Honest with your setting, script, and, as an actor, with your emotions.
- Make audiences feel something.
“The Ladder to Success is never crowded at the top.” – Napoleon Hill.
From The Theater to the Theater
There are no second takes on stage.
Neil tells us that great actors on screen have spent some time on stage honing their craft. He started out on screen, but found a deep appreciation for stage actors so for him, he went from screen actor to stage actor to learn how to better act in general. He spends a lot of time studying the craft of being someone else. But his thoughts are ultimately, stage acting is where actors flex their muscles.
Where you can find Neil
Facebook as Neil Newby
Find him on Instagram @neilnewby95
Find him on Facebook as Daniel Aaron Austin
Find him on Twitter and Instagram as @DanielDoesOKC