"It’s about the work, not the praise" says actor, writer & director Clint Dyer
Actor, writer and director Clint Dyer recently collaborated with maverick theatre director Simon McBurney for The Happy Tragedy Of Being Woke as well as others. His career to date has been influential in shaping the industry for other BAME artists. He talks to Mandy News about working on some major projects in the pipeline this year including 'Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle'.
How did you get into acting?
It’s all down to Stratford East really under Philip Headley. I owe that place and that man my career as a director, writer and an actor. The development work I did there is the basis of everything I do today.
I was in the youth theatre there and ended up in a play at Hornchurch Theatre Royal. I left there one night, leaving my mates behind, and I ended up on the same train carriage as Philip. I explained to him I was in his youth theatre and I ended up having 45 minutes with the director of Stratford East and he took me under his wing from then on. So it came out of work but it was a very lucky moment.
What informed your decision to move from theatre into film and TV?
Desire, I guess. I direct film and TV, I write for TV, and they are all stories, although some are better suited to a different medium. I’ll write something and think I’m the best person to play this part and sometimes I will write a whole piece and see there is nothing in there I could be, so it’s all about stories.
How do you choose to direct, write or to act in something?
It’s about the best way to tell the story, it ultimately all comes down to that.
What are you currently working on?
I’m writing a film for BBC films and a play for Stratford East. I’ve also got a piece that I and Roy Williams have been commissioned to write by the National Theatre but I can’t say what that is at the moment, but it’s looking very good. I’m also down to direct that.
Do you have a different approach to acting in different mediums?
Again, it’s about the style of the piece. If it’s a drama, there is a different kind of integrity that it takes which is different to doing comedy, where there is more freedom towards the comedy and even then that’s not always the case. I think all jobs require a different attack.
How do you become a character?
I come from method background so I’m always trying to do the research necessary to pull off the part. I try to find a basis of reality that underpins what I’m doing.
You were involved in writing ‘The Windrush Monologues’; tell us about the process of working on that.
I wrote one, the process was amazing. All the writers were in the room together and we thrashed out different ideas on what the monologues could be, way before thinking it could be a family. There were other ideas of how to make these 8 monologues sync together and have a dramatic arc throughout all of them so they are all linked in some way. That was a fascinating process that Kwame led us through.
It was all based on storyline, we all discussed the different storylines to what the narrative could be. Then we divided out who would be the best person to write for each year. It was an honour to be a part of that, as someone of West Indian heritage. It was amazing to discuss, elaborate and unpick the type of lives our ancestors, friends and family had.
What advice do you have for up and coming writers and directors?
Be prepared to work all the hours that god sends.There is so much amazing talent out there that nobody is going to make it unless they are prepared to put all the work into it. It’s about the work not the praise.Tags: