Beat The Beast Challenge

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I wrote this post on the 1952 train from York To Glasgow on the evening of 12th March 2020.

John Williams Defence Barrister Addressing The Jury
John Williams Defence Barrister Addressing The Jury

I had just spent two days as the defence barrister John Williams in a student Short Film called ‘The Verdict.’ While unpaid it was an opportunity to travel to York and get more experience, another credit for my CV, and some quality material for my show reel. It was my natural RP accent (which means received pronunciation, or in other words speaks with plum in mouth) and which is by all accounts a really difficult accent to replicate, that attracted the director to me having listened to my Voice Reel. Initially she wanted me to be the judge but then wrote back to me a couple of days later and asked me to consider the role of the Defence Barrister, but then wrote back to me with the script asking me to record a self-tape audition of both parts to help her make up her mind. This I did on return from filming ‘The Hanged’ in Herefordshire and heard back extremely quickly with the offer of a job as the defence barrister. I was delighted and set about learning the lines and was delighted to see that I was not being killed off 1/3 of the way into the film. I was in it for the whole film. This meant that I had a few more lines to learn and had only three days to learn them before reporting for duty in York but learn them I did. On the morning of filming I reported for duty to be completely surprised by the producer/director and script writer, Darcie, who approached me in the atrium of the impressive University of York Law and Management building, with an enormous grin on her face. Darcie was surrounded by a brilliant crew which assisted her throughout this excellent film that she wrote the script for. Shortly after that first meeting we were set to work, I was really pleased by the way in which I was delivering my lines for the camera and most importantly, so were the crew. So much so that one of the students who had just come in to help for 30 minutes with a sound technicality, after watching me deliver my monologue in defence of my client to the jury, came right up to me saying that he is often looking for actors and would love to employ me in his future projects, could I give him a business card. Clearly, I was delighted but only had my challenge cards but they had my email address on so they would do. I realised at that moment that perhaps the time had come to start to set myself up as an actor properly. That if I don’t look and sound like an actor. If I do not start to believe, really believe that I can become an actor of some note. That if I do not start to drive hard for success then the producers, directors and casting directors that are looking for someone like me will never find me. That now was the time to start the hard sell. That trying to become an actor was in effect the world’s longest and hardest permanent job interview in which you are surrounded, almost drowning in the weight of other prospective, perfectly capable and crucially fit and healthy actors. If I think about the statistics a little too much it would be too easy to become disheartened, and sometimes I do, especially during and after an aura or dysfunction. However, Darcie’s determination to pursue a career as a script writer, Director and Producer reminded me of my own inspirational quote from the other day. “There are occasionally really good days, there are far more frequently days in which I struggle, really struggle, but there are never days in which I say I can’t”. I was given the first afternoon off while they filmed a scene in my client’s bedroom so I changed out of my robes and suit and into my travelling clothes to head straight up to the magnificent Yorkminster Cathedral for evensong. We were positioned in the choir stalls and as I sat in that service with such beautiful music washing over me, I gave thanks for life and prayed for all those I am sworn to pray for seeking an improvement in their particular circumstances. After such prayers I find my own condition just that little bit improved. Just that little bit stronger. Life is such a blessing, whatever my dysfunction, I seek to bestow the gift of life onto as many as I can.

I had only one tiny wee aura during filming as I waited for some technical adjustments to be made, before delivering a scene crucial to the most excellent twist at the end of the film, in which I delivered some news to the wife of my client over a mobile from the court. I wandered up the corridor in which I was waiting well away from the crew and breathed it out. It passed quickly, without drama, and then I was back and ready to deliver, which I duly did. I can do this, do this really well, so it is time to start selling myself, for in so doing I might be able to attract more sponsors, and so become a life saver of some note by raising significantly more money for the Disasters Emergency Committee. I could also attract funding for a CEO of particular capability to lead the Not For Profit I was setting up, with the help of my friend and mentor Heather MacLeod, called the Future Nation Foundation, which was bent on breaking the cycle of reoffending in which so many of our disadvantaged and disengaged young people find themselves at significant cost to themselves, their families and the Nation. There is so much untapped capability within our disadvantaged and disengaged young people but it remains untapped without the Future Nation Foundation. I am not, and probably will never be neurologically or cognitively strong enough again to run it myself. But before the damage to the brain done by the tumour, the treatment and each and every one of the more severe epileptic seizures, I had written the plan and financial plan which is good to go, and as an actor of note I could attract significant funding to the project to employ the right CEO, as well as chair it, to save and improve far more lives here in the UK.

On the way home I discovered that my most excellent web designer and sponsor Martin from MHCreations has created a smileometer for me on the website. These last 3 days I have managed to collect another 11 smiles and wish to start to collect as many smiles as I can from wherever I happen to be to start a chain reaction of happiness that will stretch as far as it can with smile after smile after smile making others smile and so feel good about themselves whatever their circumstance. To top it all off the wonderful Jan from Sheffield, the Prosecution Barrister working with me on the film, left me a note on the scraps of paper I was using as a prop on a clipboard as the Defence Barrister. I have only just found it. Jan, it made me smile a beaming smile for which I thank you. “Been great working with you Archie! Keep making people like me smile! Jan x” Thank you Jan. I hope your smile spreads smiles and happiness an awfully long way.

Jans Wonderful Message Made Me Smile
Jans Wonderful Message Made Me Smile

Due to the Covid19 outbreak much of my acting and fundraising activity which was already in place is being curtailed and is likely to continue being so as the restrictions tighten. But rather than see this as a negative I see this is an opportunity to focus on building a platform for the future. I will have the time and space to do the work I need to do to get me moving as we emerge out the other side of the risk posed by the virus. In the meantime I must keep up my fight to stop the brain tumour from returning as predicted and to continue to strengthen my neurological and cognitive function. So I continue to follow my balanced daily lifestyle with a determination to succeed while taking on activity within the home to strengthen my brain. I will continue to chart my daily fight over Instagram and will keep the website updated but there will be fewer posts written for Facebook just now to save capacity for brain training activity. I remain on the look out for a singing teacher in the Central Scotland area who might be able to give me some lessons during this time. I also remain on the lookout for smiles to share with all to help spread a little happiness at this time of difficulty for all. So if you would like to help me spread a little happiness please send me your smile.

If you do not already sponsor me please do challenge me, to continue to strive to make the impossible possible by becoming an actor against all the odds and become employable again. Just £1 per month will encourage me to keep fighting for a new and productive life.

All I ask is for you to give me 10 minutes of your time to set up a simple standing order for just £1 per month through the following link:

I guarantee that every single penny goes to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

I guarantee that I will never call, email or contact you in any way to ask you to increase your sponsorship.

I guarantee that your banking details are perfectly safe because I do not collect or hold your details. The standing order is, as you know, a private and confidential arrangement between your bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland who provide an account for the challenge.

If you would like to learn more please check out my website at:

If you would like to follow my progress please:

1. Like my Facebook page if you have not already done so for regular updates,

2. Follow my Instagram account on which I chart my daily battles to beat the beast: (I know that it is missing the nge but that was how the account configured itself. Need to sort it out one day).

3. Follow my twitter account for regular bits of inspiration:

May you all be blessed with health, happiness and success in all that you turn your hands to. Please bless me with your sponsorship.

Thank you

Yours aye, Archie