Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed actor and voice over artist Guy Slocombe about his career, the highs and low of his acting career, and the advice he has for others.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
The funny thing in life is that there are key moments that indicate what you might do in the future. What you really should do. People used to say to me (and still do) you’ve got a good voice, why don’t you do the presentation, “Guy’ll do it he’s good at that sort of thing! The truth is I didn’t pay too much attention to it at the time as it was just the thing I did and sometimes was a bit embarrassed because it came easily. From an early age I’ve always loved performing and sort every opportunity to do so from acting, presenting, playing in bands, public speaking, university radio/DJ.
During University I had the chance to work for ITV in London in the sound department working on shows like Blind Date (remember that!) and then for EMI records in the press department so the buzz and excitement being around famous and creative talent was amazing.
Originally I wanted to work in TV production but the broadcasting act in 1990 led to many people leaving the main channels to set up independent video companies so it became tough to join as a newbie. I ended up working the corporate world in the drinks industry for nearly 20 years which I really enjoyed (and weirdly still entertainment related!) however there was always something missing performing. So in 2014 I left this world to pursue a dream. Now 7 years later I am a full time working actor, voiceover artist and presenter.
When did you first realise you wanted to be an actor?
When it really hit home that I wanted to be an actor was when I managed to get a few days work on the BBC’s The Syndicate as an extra whilst I was working in my corporate day job. I just loved the whole production side and seeing the principle actors at work just propelled me to want to work as a professional actor. This had always been inside me and I had to go for it.
What is your favourite thing about performing?
I just love being lost in the moment. You know that perfect place where everything going on behind the camera fades out and you’re just focusing on the person or people in front of you. It’s that rush of adrenaline just after sound/speed is called and before action is called by the director!
What classes or training sessions have you taken to support your acting career?
I wanted to focus primarily on screen acting as this is genre I love the most so after some searching I came across YAFTA (Yorkshire Academy of Film and TV Acting) which was perfect for me. I trained with YAFTA for 3 years before being taken on being represented by them as my agent and also attended other courses in Method Acting as well as Directors Workshops where working film/TV directors would discuss everything from auditions to workshops.
What was your first professional acting job?
My first professional acting job was playing the role of a serial killer for Channel 5 and the training I had put in was essential to first land the role and then play the character. I knew I must be doing the right thing as I scared a few people on set as well (performing – not in real life – I’m lovely really!)
What was your most recent professional acting job?
A couple of months ago I filmed on the next season of All Creatures Great and Small however not sure how much I can say yet! I play Sasko and Anton the video game Chenobylite which comes out on the 7th Sept for the PlayStation and xBox.
Tell me a favourite experience in your career. Something that stands out in your memories and makes you want to find more experiences like it.
Apart from my recent job a few years ago I was in a Bollywood film and had the opportunity to work with 4 very experienced actors which was amazing. We filmed over a few weeks so got to know each other really well and we still remain friends now. I just love that camaraderie and would love to experience that again over a long production period.
What was your toughest experience in your acting career?
I think that has to be when I filmed a TV advert and it was just me and the camera with a crew of 40 behind it. Shooting had overrun from the earlier advert filming and knowing that the crew had been up since dawn this had to go well! So I felt the pressure as I had to deliver x3 different scripts as cut downs with the client plus agency watching in the green room. That’s why preparation is so important. At the very end they had forgotten to add a load of telephone numbers so luckily as a voiceover artist I’m well trained in sight reading.
Have you family and friends been supportive of your acting career?
Yes that have been and you had to remember that I was taking a massive leap of faith going from the security of a full time job, company car etc etc. But it’s a leap I have never regretted.
Tell me some career goals. What would you like to achieve?
I would love to work on a long term drama series in the style of Line of Duty where I could develop a character over time and put my stamp on it. Also, who doesn’t want to be a Bond villain!
Tell me something you were surprised by, something you had never realised about being a professional actor.
It’s the amount of resilience you need. The ability to change your mindset no matter what happens and deal with failure and success as equal partners.
What are words of advice you have for other aspiring actors?
I’m an older actor and started in this profession late in life so a big shout out to anyone of my generation whose thinking about pursuing acting. Go for it – there’s no such thing as too late or too old. For anyone it has to be for the love of what you do and not fame or fortune (you might be disappointed!) If that happens – amazing – but when you think about it all the top Hollywood actors are millionaires and could retire tomorrow. They don’t because they love what they do and their best work is around the corner.