An Actors Blog . . .

Thursday, 30 August 2012

MOM'S THE WORD: www.momstheword2012.blogspot.co.uk

My new blog has really started to take off folks! ENJOY!
I Have A New Blog

It is true folks - My 'Actors Blog' is going to become a little stagnant over the next few months. You may have noticed the decline in my posts recently anyway and for this I can only apologise as I have done over and over again on this blog many a time.

Currently, my mind has been a little tied up by other things. Namely, these sort of things:


Yes! I am to become a Mom on the 30 November and am the most excited I think I have ever been. So, I have decided to start my own 'Mommy Blog' I understand that some of you may despise of the idea and jump off the Jessica band-wagon. But, it is something that I really want to do and am having fun planning. It would be so lovely to see you all over there if I'm honest. It would be great to have you following my journey.

The new blog goes by the name of 'Moms The Word' and you can get to it here: www.momstheword2012.blogspot.co.uk

I really hope you enjoy my new blog as much as I hope you have enjoyed this one. This is not goodbye to 'An Actors Blog' it's merely - 'One will be back soon!'

Monday, 6 August 2012

Autumn 2012 Season

Arena Theatre Launches Autumn Season


So for those of tyou that have followed my blog for a while, you are probably aware that I currently work at the Arena Theatre and I am in charge of their marketing for the time being. Well, I wanted to dedicate this post to the launch of new season here at the Arena Theatre.


We have quite a wonderful Season lined up for you if I am honest. I am quite excited by it. We even have a week's worht of 'Mad Science' workshops for all kids aged 4 - 12 years in the October half term plus it has a Haloween theme to it for extra pizazz. So if you do have children that you are stuck with in the half term - you should enquire here at the Arena for fun things to do.


Of course, when launching a new season you always need a new brochure and this is where I have come in with Marketing this Season. The September - December seasons brochure has took many a proof and a spell check but I have managed to complete it with little mistakes (Fingers crossed) I am quite proud of myself in a way as a designer I am not but I have given it my best shot. I have managed to get an online version for you to browse through. See below:


All in all, quite a hot season. I believe it to be quite a 'celebratory' season if you like as we as a Theatre are doing alot to celebrate 'Black History Month' with some wonderful shows coming to us from the likes of Gazebo Theatre, Jamfolk, Fittings Multimedia Arts and many many more. Plus, we like to celebrate that old Festive time - Christmas with quite a few Christmas shows coming to us. This makes me happy as Christmas is easily the best time of year and one that I feel everyone should celebrate and enjoy! :-)

If you wish to know more about the Arena Theatre or the up-and-coming Season visit the website:

Or call the Box Office on:
01902 321 321

Or ... Simply, drop me a message and I will do my very best to help you in any way I can! :-)

Friday, 3 August 2012

Blog help ...

Help?


Folks! I have probably been quite an annoyance to those of you that follow my blog (Followed rather) as you can't really follow something that hasn't been followable for a while. Completely my fault as I have been quite a lazy blogger and for that I apologise. As I always do.

I have been 'umming' and 'ahhing' as to whether to keep my blog going or not? I am aware that I ask this question quite a bit and get a few answers. My reason for asking is - Do you find my blog enjoyable to read and would you wish to continue to do so on a daily basis? I really enjoy writitng my blog and find it a great way of looking back over all of the things that I have done and am proud of. I find it wonderful that I am able to share all my experiences with you guys and hear what you all have to say! 

I want to continue with my blog and become devoted and committed to it once again. But, I feel the need for a change and I would really appreciate your help in this change, if at all possible? When I say change - I do quite literally mean a change. I want to change the design of my blog and freshen it up etc:

When I posed a similar question to this to my followers a while back I did receive an email stating that I should perhaps focus my blog a bit more to one specific thing rather than my day to day things and as much as I respect that opinion and am very appreciative to the persons opinion - I don't feel that is necessary. I enjoy writing my day to day speel and I like the fact that my blog is somewhat random if you like. I know it isn't to everyone's tastes and perhaps I should listen to the advice of one reader but I am willing to decline that advice (gracefully of course.) and continue to write my life in words. However, that doesn't mean that I am not willing to write more or less on a specific topic etc etc:

Am I making sense? I fear I'm not - I regularly don't! :-)

So ladies and gents all I ask of you is - Blog ideas please? and any other opinions or comments on my blog would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Blogger Break

Been Somewhere Nice?

I have (As I do often) been on a blogging break. Apologies if this has ruined anyones day, week, month or whatever. However, I'm sure it hasn't - Pretty sure in fact!

On a serious note - I do apologise if it has been a Little inconsistent of me. It's just I do have to do it from time to time. I like to just have a break from it the second it starts to feel a little chorish. Does that make sense? I want writing my Blog to be something fun and exciting but every now and then it loses it's flare and that is when I think to myself "I won't let that happen so I'm calling it a day until my inspiration comes back!" Well, now it has. I'm back! And I'm pleased to announce it! :-) (Hopefully, your as pleased to hear it.)

Now has anything pretty amazing happened since the last time we spoke? Actually, it has! I don't know if you remember but me and my good friend Maria have been taking part in the 'Gold Challenge 2012' for the Olympics. Guess what!?! We got invited to THE Olympic stadium to be 2 of the very first people to run 100 meters on the track and all in aid of 'Breakthrough Breast Cancer' as well. So all in all it was a stupendous day. The stadium is huge and the security to get into the place was immense. It was such a wonderful experience and both Maria and I will treasure it for a long time, we really will.



This photograph is of us being interviewed for 'ITV Central' - Couldn't get my words out and to make matters worse, I forgot to take my chewing gum out! Nice one!

So all in all - A nice break away from the blog had by me. My inspiration and motivation has returned and the old writers blog has been banished. I do hope you are all well and still wish to continue reading my rants and raves. It would be wonderful to hear from some of you. I'd like to know what you lot have been up to. Exciting things I hope.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

On The Other Hand

There Are Always 2 Sides To A Story


Yesterday was the first time I had ever heard of 'Kony 2012' and it was the first time I witnessed the film produced by the 'Invisible Children' and yes I was really taken a back by the whole thing. The film hit me in such a way that I wanted to do something about. I wanted to stand up and make a difference. The film had such an impact on me but then I suppose watching a film that is that well constructed, filmed and directed it is pretty hard not to be moved by it all.You would have to be fair in-human to not feel anger towards Kony after watching it.

However, because the whole thing moved me so much it got me very interested in 'Invisible Children' and learning a bit more about what they do and who exactly this Joseph Kony was. So, I went away and did my own research before I parted with any more emotion or any money for that matter (Sound selfish I know but you can never be sure. Especially not if you are trusting face value alone) After quite a bit of research and conversations with those around me I came across 2 blog posts that got me thinking and shed some new light on this craze.

The first post I found was from a Blog name 'The Educated Field Negro' (a really superb blog. So worth a read)


Below is the post I am referring to:

"I do not doubt for a second that those involved in KONY 2012 have great intentions, nor do I doubt for a second that Joseph Kony is a very evil man. But despite this, I’m strongly opposed to the KONY 2012 campaign.


KONY 2012 is the product of a group called Invisible Children, a controversial activist group and not-for-profit. They’ve released 11 films, most with an accompanying bracelet colour (KONY 2012 is fittingly red), all of which focus on Joseph Kony. When we buy merch from them, when we link to their video, when we put up posters linking to their website, we support the organization. I don’t think that’s a good thing, and I’m not alone.

Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 31% went to their charity program (page 6)*. This is far from ideal, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they haven’t had their finances externally audited. But it goes way deeper than that.

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money funds the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission.

Still, the bulk of Invisible Children’s spending isn’t on funding African militias, but on awareness and filmmaking. Which can be great, except that Foreign Affairs has claimed that Invisible Children (among others) “manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.” He’s certainly evil, but exaggeration and manipulation to capture the public eye is unproductive, unprofessional and dishonest.

As Christ Blattman, a political scientist at Yale, writes on the topic of IC’s programming, “There’s also something inherently misleading, naive, maybe even dangerous, about the idea of rescuing children or saving of Africa. […] It hints uncomfortably of the White Man’s Burden. Worse, sometimes it does more than hint. The savior attitude is pervasive in advocacy, and it inevitably shapes programming. Usually misconceived programming.”

Still, Kony’s a bad guy, and he’s been around a while. Which is why the US has been involved in stopping him for years. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has sent multiple missions to capture or kill Kony over the years. And they’ve failed time and time again, each provoking a ferocious response and increased retaliative slaughter. The issue with taking out a man who uses a child army is that his bodyguards are children. Any effort to capture or kill him will almost certainly result in many children’s deaths, an impact that needs to be minimized as much as possible. Each attempt brings more retaliation. And yet Invisible Children funds this military intervention. Kony has been involved in peace talks in the past, which have fallen through. But Invisible Children is now focusing on military intervention.

Military intervention may or may not be the right idea, but people supporting KONY 2012 probably don’t realize they’re helping fund the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away. If people know this and still support Invisible Children because they feel it’s the best solution based on their knowledge and research, I have no issue with that. But I don’t think most people are in that position, and that’s a problem.

Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow. Giving your money and public support to Invisible Children so they can spend it on funding ill-advised violent intervention and movie #12 isn’t helping. Do I have a better answer? No, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because it’s something. Something isn’t always better than nothing. Sometimes it’s worse.
If you want to write to your Member of Parliament or your Senator or the President or the Prime Minister, by all means, go ahead. If you want to post about Joseph Kony’s crimes on Facebook, go ahead. But let’s keep it about Joseph Kony, not KONY 2012"

My favourite quote from this post is - "Something isn't always better than nothing - Sometimes it's worse." - This is a point worth considering really. It isn't always the way things Pan but it is something that I feel people should think about before acting Naively.

I also found the following post regarding the 'Invisible Children' and this intrigued me quite alot.

Below is the post that I am referring to:

"EDIT ON MARCH 7, 2012: This post was originally written in 2006. As you read and comment, please consider that it has been over 5 years since I wrote my thoughts here. I personally still have the same concerns about IC that I did when I posted this and have chosen not to contribute to their cause. However, Uganda continues to hold a very special place in my heart. When I wrote this article, I supported and I continue to support relief efforts in Uganda through the work of Steve Hoyt at Engineering Ministries International (eMi), an organization with a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator. If you’d like, you can support Steve’s work in Uganda here: https://emisecure.org/donate.html . To learn more about the work that eMi does in Uganda visit http://emiea.org/index.html.
Thanks for continuing to be a part of this important conversation.
James

Original Post:

Invisible Children (IC) swept the university campuses of America last year. The group wanted to mobilize college students to be aware of what happened in Uganda in recent years, the atrocious acts of Joseph Kony and his rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). I heard about Invisible Children for the first time when I was researching Uganda. I was immediately fascinated by their website. It’s very well done, but I noticed one thing. It lacked real information. If you haven’t seen the film or know nothing about their purpose, let me catch you up to speed with my version. Three clueless college kids head to Sudan with no plans and no idea about what they’re going to find. They’re looking for a “story”. They leave Sudan and make their way into Uganda. They find some bad stuff going on there. So they made a MTV-esque DVD about what was happening there. They wanted to draw attention to what they found.

So far, this sounds good. However, there is a major, major problem. I’m going to compare what IC is doing to an analogy that I thought of this past summer when I was Uganda thinking about this issue. Imagine that today you heard about what happened in NYC and Washington DC on September 11, 2001 for the first time. You were shown a video of footage from that day. You saw the planes hit the towers, you heard President Bush’s address, you saw the Pentagon wreckage, you watch in horror as you see people plunge to their death, jumping from the burning towers. Now imagine that you are inspired by this disaster. You want to something to help. What if you went to NYC today, expecting to see piles of rubble to clean up? What if you went, expecting that there would be thousands of people in the streets crying, looking for loved ones? But what would happen when you arrived and discovered that there was none of this, but a whole host of other problems?

And back to Uganda. Uganda is no longer experiencing violence from the LRA. Yes, I said it. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but it is a truth. For about the last year, since before IC hit the scene, Kony and his troops have been pushed into Congo, into the Garamba National Forest there. He’s sick, starving, and on his last legs. For the first time, Uganda is in the middle of real peace talks and the rebels have laid down their arms and are assembling to make peace. Why? This is happening because Joseph Kony was defeated. The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) has beaten them back and Kony was sitting in Congo starving to death. Since March 2002, the UPDF has been allowed to carry out raids against the LRA into Southern Sudan and has even crossed into Congo, to the distress of most of the African community. Nonetheless, Operation Iron Fist, as this military offensive was called, has freed many child soldiers and sex slaves and brought them back to Uganda. The rebels again became very violent in 2003, but since 2004, the Ugandan government has been repeatedly beating the rebels and weakening them. Uganda is no longer allowed to enter Sudan or Congo to fight the LRA.

Invisible Children was founded in 2004, with the film crew filming in Uganda in 2003. Watching Invisible Children is watching old news. Will watching it alert you to what has occurred in Uganda? Yes, but it will not let you know what is happening there today.

Invisible Children is too late. It has taught us that MTV type media can get university students interested in a world crisis, the problem is it took too much time. Night commuting, outlined as one of the major problems in northern Uganda by the film, is practically non-existent now. Why? Peace is coming to the region. According to UN reports, children who still are commuting at night are not doing it because of safety concerns, but because they want to enjoy the amenities that NGO’s are offering in the towns, like Gulu, Kitgum, and Lira. At the peak of the commuting, there were between 30,000 and 40,000 children commuting. Now, estimates are below 10,000.

The scars of the 20 year conflict are everywhere in northern Uganda. I walked through internally displaced person (IDP) camps. I smelled, I listened, I saw, I touched, I tasted. I experienced Uganda. I saw people whose lives had been radically changed. I placed my hands on a woman whose lips had been cut off by the LRA. I walked with children whose parents had been killed. I sat on the foundation of a hut burned down by the LRA. I talked with people whose relatives had been abducted. I walked over land guarded by the UPDF. The landscape, the people, and the country itself has an immense burden to deal with.

Uganda has problems today. Their government is ridden with corruption. There are people still living in fear in IDP camps, afraid that violence will again return to their land. The education system is inadequate and many do not have the chance to go to school. For those who do work their way through the school system, there is a good chance that there will not be a job for them when they get even a university degree. Why doesn’t anyone want to do something about these problems? Why will thousands of people participate in IC’s Global Night Commute but not take the time to actually find out what is going on in Uganda today?

There have been many inspired to do more than just watch a DVD and sleep downtown for a night. However, that’s where we run into another problem. This summer, IC had a bunch of college students in northern Uganda wasting time and money. There were almost 30 people who were in Uganda this summer connected with IC and even more who were inspired to change the world and fly around it. That also sounds somewhat heart warming. Self centered American kids are flying around the world to change it. The catch is they don’t know what they are doing or where they are going. They are blindly making a problem worse by throwing thousands of dollars at something they don’t understand.

When I traveled into Southern Sudan, you could sense something was different there. There is a greedy spirit there that you can feel. Foreign aid had ruined South Sudan. People do not want to work, they want handouts. An entire generation has been cared for by the UN and other NGO’s. They are fed, clothed, protected, and sent to school without having to do anything. I walked through the market there and saw UNICEF tarps and blankets for sale. I could also buy Samaritan’s Purse shoe-boxes, filled with all sorts of American goodies. I thought back how I thought it was a good idea for me to send a shoebox filled with soap, toothpaste, bouncy balls, and a washcloth to a faraway land. What I realize now is that sending things, whether money, objects, or people to a place that I have no information on is a bad idea.

The problems that Uganda faces today cannot be fixed by hundreds of uneducated Westerners going there to “help”. As you read this article, think about how much you really know about the political situations in Uganda and throughout Africa that contribute to long lasting problems.

Africa as a whole needs to break free from foreign aid. Almost half of Uganda’s yearly budget is made up of foreign aid. I think that many of Uganda’s problems stem from its reliance on foreign support. If you want to read more on that, check out a Ugandan journalist named Andrew Mwenda. The aid to African nations is increasing the corruption there and encouraging these nations to continue this dependence on foreign nations and it does not encourage them to become totally self sufficient. When asked what rich nations should do to help Africa, Mwenda said,

So what is the solution? I’ve now written the first negative article I can find about Invisible Children. I also have suggested that we should think about cutting foreign aid and debt relief to African nations.

If you’ve seen the old news that Uganda has to offer and are disturbed, I encourage you to do some research and find out what is really going on in Uganda. I spent months before I went to Uganda researching the country. I talked to many people on the phone or with Skype, I emailed countless others, I read books, I monitored the news. If you want to find out what the situation is really like, find out. Don’t blindly fly yourself to a developing country like a Western idiot. I would also suggest finding out more about organizations that you support that work in foreign countries. Find out what their relationships are like with the local people and find out how they are grooming local people to take over their group. No aid organization should plan to be somewhere forever. If they do, they are not focused on solving the problem they are there to address.

Do not be fooled by slick video editing. Sleeping outside in downtown Pittsburgh will not help anyone who is still night commuting in northern Uganda. Perhaps you are now aware that there is a problem, perhaps you know that there is more to this world than just your country, your state, and your little hometown. What you may not know is that the US government is not going to get involved if it doesn’t benefit the American people. Remember Rwanda? It is up to you to figure out how to deal with this knowledge and the knowledge that your warm and fuzzy thoughts are not going to be the solution to this.

As of today, Uganda is still in a tedious peace process with the LRA, with both sides accusing each other of violating peace agreements. The good news is that they are still in the peace process and they’re doing it without the help of a foreign country that will attempt to benefit from the talks. Instead, using Rick Machar and South Sudan is helping to build ties with all those in that region. The LRA and the UPDF have now signed a second peace accord and hopefully this one will result in successful peace.

As I have written this over the past couple of months, I’m disappointed that I cannot offer a real solution to this problem. I wish that I had the answers for Uganda and those of you who are interested in doing something to help the people there. Unfortunately, I feel that I have done little more than to highlight problems there and then problems with our response to their problems. I learned so much while I was there, but I still have a lot that I can learn."
It is true that we should not be fooled or taken a back by fancy editing and sleek camera skills. However we should also not let people stop us from supporting causes that we feel strongly for. If you continue to want to back the 'Invisible Children' and 'Kony 2012' then please do so as it is completely up to you but it is always good to hear different points of view. When supporting a cause you should always allow both sides of a story to be clear in your mind. Only this way can you have the up-most trust in your decisions. I am in no way trying to tell you that 'Kony 2012' is wrong or that the 'Invisible Children' do not deserve your following, Facebook Picture, tweet or donation I am merely sharing opinions on the subject that I feel should be addressed and listened to. Once you have done so - Then feel free to pledge and what not but don't let a Fancy film take your breath away like it initially did mine.

Put it this way - If the film was not as well constructed and breath taking as it is or even if it didn't exist would you have 'Make Kony Famous as your status'?





Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Make Kony Famous

KONY 2012


Joseph Kony is one of the world’s worst war criminals and I support the international effort to arrest him, disarm the lRa and bring the child soldiers home.

A little confused by this post? Don't be! Just watch the video below and it will all make sense. I know it is 30 minutes long but it is worthy of your time. We need to get people talking about this. We need to show our support. If we don't - No one will.





This has shocked me to the core and has given me a huge urge to do something about it. So - I signed the pledge because I want to make a difference and stop this man. If like me you want to change it then sign the pledge also. Follow the link:

www.kony2012.com

You can also like 'Invisible children' on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/invisiblechildren#!/invisiblechildren

Let's help the Invisible Children by talking about this and spreading the word. The more people that know about it - the better! Sign the pledge if you feel as strongly as I do. It only take a few seconds out of your day - That is all!