The Actor’s Questionnaire: Monty Burgess

March 6, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized 

So here’s a thing: every week, I’m going to be sticking up answers to a questionnaire I wrote from a different actor. Hopefully, they’ll give an illuminating sense of what it’s like to be an actor in the trenches. If you would like to take part in the questionnaire, drop me a line and I’ll send it to you. This week: Monty Burgess.

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Name: Monty Burgess
Location: London
Playing age: Mid to late 30’s
Casting Type: Police officers, thugs, militia, office workers…and itinerant fathers.

Spotlight: http://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/1/M104321
Twitter: http://twitter.com/montyburgess
E-mail: monty@montyburgess.net

Why did you become an actor?
I like telling stories, and I like collaborating with people. I like being part of the creative machine.

How long have you been acting professionally?
My first professional job was in 1999.

Do you prefer stage/screen/spoken word?
I prefer screen. It’s all good, it’s all work and it’s all fulfilling. But screen, definitely.

Is acting your sole form of income/creative expression?
Income? Not yet. Creative expression? I also write and work on film crews in different capacities (editing, visual effects, camera assist, gaffer).

What role/project are you proudest of to date?
Probably my first professional job. It was a play based around Australian Rules Football (AFL) and one of my roles was as an Essendon supporter – I’m not a sports fan and I was wilfully ignorant of it. I had no affinity to it at all. For the play, I had to learn the games rules, club theme songs, players names, club history, attend matches, do all I could to be that person. On the first night, after the play, one of the audience members commented that I must be the most die hard fan that ever was. That was an achievement for me.

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do on set?
I doubled as a homosexual neo Nazi and a homicidal grandmother in the same film.

What is your stance on paid/unpaid work?
It would be great if Equity had more diverse contracts along the lines of SAG to help encourage low budget productions to aim higher – to help give them a path and a structure. Likewise, the co-operative framework outlined by BECTU (https://www.bectu.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/cooperative-agency) is one that needs championing.

How do you approach a role?
The script is the starting point, whatever information can be mined from there informs and sparks everything else.

What would be the single biggest piece of advice you would give to any actor?
If you can stand to do something else and not feel like something is fundamentally missing, do it.

How do you cope with quiet times/self-doubt?
Stoicism and determination. Sheer bloody mindedness.

What is your greatest ambition?
To go from strength to strength as an actor, and be financially secure in this industry.

Whose footsteps would you most like to follow in, career wise?
I think George Clooney picks some really interesting films to do. I loved ‘The American’, ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’, ‘Good Night and Good Luck’, ‘Michael Clayton’, ‘Fail Safe’, ‘Syriana’ and ‘Solaris’.

Wild card! Give us an opinion on ANYTHING that you love or hate about the job.
I love watching my friends succeed, because equally I see them in the down times – I see them struggle, strive and work hard to pay the rent and put food on the table and keep some sort of faith. I don’t think I know anyone who has coasted into a role or has had it fall into their lap. They’ve all worked and sweated for it.

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