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Surviving Lockdown – An Actors’ Tale

My name is Emma Bryant, and I am a London based actress, comedian, and writer.

I have also recently begun professional wrestling training, which has always been a dream of mine! I have always been a very active person, and I am extremely fortunate to have a general consistent workflow, ever since I “officially” entered the industry in 2016, therefore the current lockdown came as a pretty big shock to my system, so to speak.

I was very upset initially, as I had several projects that needed to be put on hold, such as a feature film, an independent short film, a comedy web series, and also a 1950’s Pinup Shoot which I was really looking forward to! I was also worried about forgetting the wrestling skills I had learnt prior to lockdown, and the same went for pole/aerial fitness, in which I was previously training 3-4 times a week.

I am fully aware that these are incredibly inferior subjects of worry in the midst of a global pandemic. However, they were personal to me and as someone who suffers with anxiety anyhow, initially, seemed somewhat catastrophic.

I always attempt to take good care of my physical and mental health, therefore was afraid I would end up “going crazy” to an extent, having to stay home all the time! Thankfully, one of my housemates is a martial artist and stunt performer, so he told me he would teach me some basic Wushu (Kung Fu) moves and routines, which I was very happy about and we began training in our spacious garden twice a week. I also have a large bedroom, so I began practicing yoga and general full body workouts there each day.

Of course due to the pandemic, the entire UK film production industry had to shut down until further notice, which included comedy clubs. I had taken a break from stand up comedy for a year, due to losing a lot of confidence as a result of an abusive housing situation I was living in prior to moving to London, and had only just begun writing again before the commencement of lockdown, so was disappointed to learn of the clubs shutting.

On the positive side however, I knew I had plenty of upcoming time to write and rehearse a lot more material, which is exactly what I have been doing! Earlier in the year, I had been in talks with a major UK television channel about performing on one of their talent showcases, which I was concerned would not be going ahead at all due to the pandemic, but I was very happy when the show’s director contacted me to tell me that they will still be recording the show, but later in the year, and that they still very much wanted me to be a part of it!

I am fortunate enough that a lot of film companies all over the world began taking their productions online, and were / are still offering work to actors. I have been given roles several so far that I am very grateful for, including a daily monologue project, a modelling contest, and even a martial arts music video, that was a lot of fun to shoot in my local park! These projects compiled the work of actors all over the world, so I saw it as an opportunity to get “seen” internationally. This was something I may not have had the opportunity to do, had it not been for lockdown.

I also write about various topics for an American lifestyle/entertainment magazine, who have been allowing me to get creative with article ideas, and I have since been published in three consecutive issues, which I see as being quite the achievement!

I also completed an interview for a high end corporate magazine, which was not something I had ever visualised myself doing, and was a great honour. I have also been a guest on several podcasts/radio shows, which are always fun!

All of my housemates are actors and/or musicians, so we kept productive with helping each other to record “self tape” auditions and rehearse scripts. I live in a home full of talent, so I am fortunate enough to be around people who motivate and inspire me, which is something I have never experienced in any of my previous houses!

The most memorable characters from my previous homes include a chutney hoarding squatter, and some lunatic who believed the best business investment anyone could ever make, was to give him £750 a month for pants, as you do.

I already know that when lockdown ends, I will be even more grateful and appreciative of my life than I was before it. I will keep up my martial arts training, and I will attempt as much as I can, to maintain the same levels of creativity that I have during my time at home. It may sound odd to say, but I believe my days during lockdown have been more productive than a lot of my days before it began! I am of course very much looking forward to the film industry getting back into swing, and feel happy in the knowledge that the majority of the projects I was cast in, will still be going ahead, just at a later date.