Acting, // October 16, 2019
Philip D McQuillan — ACTOR
Interview with actor Philip D McQuillan —
1. Who are you and what do you do?
Ok, so, I’m Philip D McQuillan. In short, I’m an actor, writer, dyslexic, Yorkshireman and creator of headshot photographer comparison website, Headshot Hunter.
2. Why acting?
I had always wanted to and enjoyed performing. Out of all of the variety of performing forms I did, acting was the thing I connected with the most. It was something that gave me a buzz and something I felt good at. I wasn’t academic at all at school. Being a dyslexic child and felt when I was doing acting I could express myself in ways I just couldn’t at school.
3. Why writing?
I always felt like it was something I wanted to do but never thought I could do. Once I started writing I realised I enjoyed it and that it was a creative outlet that I could do in-between acting jobs. Now I find it connects me to creativity in a different but equally fulfilling way.
4. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an actor?
Always but only teens when I realised it could be an actual job. I was taken to Stagecoach (a weekend drama group) when I was 7 to let of all my eccentric energy. That’s where I discovered the love for the arts, singing, dancing and acting. It wasn’t until I was 16, in 6th Form that I really started to wonder if it was actually possible to be an actor as a profession. I was actually told by my school drama teacher not to do it. But I decided to go for it anyway. And went to drama school, at the time Birmingham School of Acting, now Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
5. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be a writer?
During filming as an actor on Love Type-D, I had been written a showreel scene and a blog Acting With Dyslexia and started chatting to the director about the script. She really enjoyed my ideas and invited me to look over a few parts of the script, upon hearing my ideas she told me that I should write. As a dyslexic I’d never thought I was capable but hearing this gave me the confidence. I created Honest Actors Podcast. Unfortunately due to funding the blog with the Acting with Dyslexia is not longer but the podcast is very much recommended to any actors as essential listening.
I ended up being contacted to write an article for The Codpast which is a website dedicated to people with dyslexia, showing off all the different professions people with dyslexia excel in and I also highly recommend it. Since then I’ve written a sitcom pilot with my friend and fellow actor/writer Asif Khan, and I’m in the process of developing a new play which I hope to R&D next year.
6. What are your favorite subject(s)/genre(s)?
Dark comedy, thrillers and detective dramas but theatre I like pretty much anything that I think will entertain and effect the audience, as that what I think good theatre does.
7. How do you work and approach your subject/character?
My approach to acting whether for stage or screen is fundamentally the same. I ask what is it that I am saying? Why am I saying it? With screen after that it becomes about, doing the work quickly, learning the lines, forgetting everything else, being as natural as possible and in the moment. The theatre process is usually longer and you get more time to try and get it wrong, you don’t get that doing screen work. In the theatre you get an opportunity to come back and do it again, you are never really finished developing and it’s different each time. But when on stage it’s I try let go of all the work, and just listen and react in the moment on stage. Keeping it simple is the most difficult part of acting. My approach to writing is to make sure that I am writing. So motivating myself to get to goals like the first draft is a big part for me. But planning to make sure structure is right I feel is very important. Sometimes you can only figure that out by getting it wrong. Finding someone who to read and give me honest feedback, who I trust has helped immensely.
8. What are your favorite performance(s), actor(s)?
Denise Gough in People Places and Things, the best Actor, again Denise Gough, Writer, Duncan Macmillan and Director, Jeremy Herrin, amazing combination!
My favourite film is probably Withnail and I.
9. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I’ve been acting professional for nearly 10 years and can’t pick 1, so top 3 best responses:
• Jumpers for Goalposts by Tom Wells – a Paines Plough production directed by James Grieve.
10. What do you like about your work?
• Rehearsing is the best bit.
• Effecting people and or making people think using art.
• The people you meet and work with.
Having a creative outlet that you can go to when ever you want.
11. What advice would you give to other actors?
Prioritise your Work/Life balance! Life is short, do what makes you happy. Take the work seriously, don’t take yourself seriously.
12. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I want to work, doing the jobs that I find interesting and rewarding. Hopefully I can maintain a healthy home and social life with a creative one. Would be great to have some of my writing staged or commissioned. 🙂
Founder – Actor headshot photographer comparison website: www.headshothunter.co.uk
Monologue Slam Winner 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIkt1V6KxJA&feature=youtu.be
Actor Spotlight C.V: http://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/1/M138586.html
Spotlight Link: http://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/1/M138586.html