Kevin Spacey - Actor & Artistic Director

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Kevin Spacey

00:03 Kevin Spacey. I'm an actor and currently the Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre in London. The experience of being an actor is one in which you're able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and try to plant seeds about what a writer's ideas are and what they're trying to say and trying to express. And I think the other reason that theatre so valuable to me is because, unlike the film business, it really is the place that you can make families. You know, movies are a crazy schedule and you work with an actor a couple of days and then you never see them again. I don't really like being the star and in the star dressing room and all of stuff, so I'm much happier being a member of a company ensemble than I am as an individual.

00:48 My parents weren't in the arts. My mother had been I think a dancer in school but she didn't pursue it. My mother was a private secretary and my father was essentially a technical procedure writer, which is a difficult thing to kind of describe, but I guess the easiest way to say this, that if you built the F16, my father would have written the manual to tell you how to do it. But they were huge lovers of the arts and started taking me to the theatre when I was very young.

01:17 But it was really a guidance counsellor who suggested that I had an excessive amount of energy and that perhaps I could take some elective courses to find a way to funnel that energy into something a little bit more productive. And so that's how I actually ended up getting into a drama class.

01:37 And I think that when I was beginning as an actor, I was fortunate to have gone to Juilliard when I did go study drama with a great number of actors and actresses who were going on to become very well known very quickly. And I wasn't. And I think the sort of greatest lesson I came out of about that was that comparing yourself to other people is a real mistake. I mean, my struggle wasn't any worse or less or whatever than anyone else's, it was just mine. But I also got very lucky and I was very determined and I was very, very ambitious. It was valuable to be that focused, you know, almost like with horse blinders to sort of reach a place where you could have a career. And now that that happened for me, I'm now sort of it's been turning it all around the last decade and doing the kind of educational work and the kind of outreach and the kind of supporting of emerging artists that we certainly do here at the Old Vic, but I also do on a website that I started eight years ago called TriggerStreet.com, which is all about giving a platform for emerging talent in the film world.

02:44 There's lots of films that people know, you know, that are always sort of mentioned as, you know, wasn't that your favourite? And I'd hope I haven't done it yet. And every time I take on something, the only thing that interests me is what scares me. The only thing that interests me is what I think I can't do. You know, I have another five or six years here at the Old Vic, so, you know, my ten year plan is we're halfway through, and where I will go from here I don't know yet.

03:18 I travel, I play a lot of tennis, I play a lot of ping pong, I see a lot of friends and make a lot of dinners. I enjoy my life. In fact in the last seven years I've carved out more time for me than I think ever before in my life. I think you have to. I think it's hugely important to be able to balance your life with your work. I'm loving living life and, yeah, I think it's just hugely important. I'm fortunate I, you know, don't have a nine to five job, but this job does require an enormous amount of my attention and I live full time in London and I only leave if I'm going to make a movie. But even if I'm able to carve out, you know, two hours in the middle of the afternoon to go play tennis or go to a gallery or take a walk, that's hugely valuable, you know. Even a two day weekend can feel like a five day holiday.

04:06 End

Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey Kevin Spacey. I'm an actor and currently the Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre in London. The experience of being an actor is one in which you're able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and try to plant seeds about what a writer's ideas are and what they're trying to say and trying to express. And I think the other reason that theatre so valuable to me is because, unlike the film business, it really is the place that you can make families. You know, movies are a crazy schedule and you work with an actor a couple of days and then you never see them again. I don't really like being the star and in the star dressing room and all of stuff, so I'm much happier being a member of a company ensemble than I am as an individual. My parents weren't in the arts. My mother had been I think a dancer in school but she didn't pursue it. My mother was a private secretary and my father was essentially a technical procedure writer, which is a difficult thing to kind of describe, but I guess the easiest way to say this, that if you built the F16, my father would have written the manual to tell you how to do it. But they were huge lovers of the arts and started taking me to the theatre when I was very young. But it was really a guidance counsellor who suggested that I had an excessive amount of energy and that perhaps I could take some elective courses to find a way to funnel that energy into something a little bit more productive. And so that's how I actually ended up getting into a drama class. And I think that when I was beginning as an actor, I was fortunate to have gone to Juilliard when I did go study drama with a great number of actors and actresses who were going on to become very well known very quickly. And I wasn't. And I think the sort of greatest lesson I came out of about that was that comparing yourself to other people is a real mistake. I mean, my struggle wasn't any worse or less or whatever than anyone else's, it was just mine. But I also got very lucky and I was very determined and I was very, very ambitious. It was valuable to be that focused, you know, almost like with horse blinders to sort of reach a place where you could have a career. And now that that happened for me, I'm now sort of it's been turning it all around the last decade and doing the kind of educational work and the kind of outreach and the kind of supporting of emerging artists that we certainly do here at the Old Vic, but I also do on a website that I started eight years ago called TriggerStreet.com, which is all about giving a platform for emerging talent in the film world. There's lots of films that people know, you know, that are always sort of mentioned as, you know, wasn't that your favourite? And I'd hope I haven't done it yet. And every time I take on something, the only thing that interests me is what scares me. The only thing that interests me is what I think I can't do. You know, I have another five or six years here at the Old Vic, so, you know, my ten year plan is we're halfway through, and where I will go from here I don't know yet. I travel, I play a lot of tennis, I play a lot of ping pong, I see a lot of friends and make a lot of dinners. I enjoy my life. In fact in the last seven years I've carved out more time for me than I think ever before in my life. I think you have to. I think it's hugely important to be able to balance your life with your work. I'm loving living life and, yeah, I think it's just hugely important. I'm fortunate I, you know, don't have a nine to five job, but this job does require an enormous amount of my attention and I live full time in London and I only leave if I'm going to make a movie. But even if I'm able to carve out, you know, two hours in the middle of the afternoon to go play tennis or go to a gallery or take a walk, that's hugely valuable, you know. Even a two day weekend can feel like a five day holiday. End

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About Kevin Spacey

Age at filming: 46-55, Employer's name: Freelance
Kevin Spacey is an Oscar-winning Actor and the Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre in London. He had a love for the theatre from a young age, and a guidance counsellor suggested to him that he use his "excessive amount of energy" studying Drama at Julliard. Kevin is now based in London and, when he's not making movies or playing ping-pong, he dedicates his time to supporting emerging talent in the film world.

More information about actors, entertainers and presenters

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Average Salary
£39,520
Average Weekly Hours
32
Past Unemployment
YearUnemployed
20114%
20125%
Predicted Employment
Future Employment Chart
Top 10 Industries
For This Job
IndustryJobs
Sport & recreation6,087
Arts & entertainment 5,484
Education3,250
Services to buildings2,953
Film &  music 2,798
Employment activities2,653
Other personal service 2,414
Other professional2,333
Publishing activities2,057
Head offices, etc1,673
Employment Status
Employment Status Chart
Description

Actors, entertainers and presenters sing, portray roles in dramatic productions, perform comedy routines, gymnastic feats and tricks of illusion, train animals to perform and perform with them, and introduce and present radio and television programmes.

Qualifications

Entry does not depend on academic qualifications although some drama schools require candidates to have GCSEs/S grades or A levels/H grades or a degree. Entry can be based upon an audition. Membership of the appropriate trade union is usually required. NVQs/SVQs in performing arts are available.

Tasks
  • Studies script, play or book and prepares and rehearses interpretation
  • Assumes character created by a playwright or author and communicates this to an audience
  • Performs singing, comedy, acrobatic, illusion and conjuring routines
  • Trains animals to perform entertaining routines and may perform with them
  • Introduces and presents radio and television programmes, reads news bulletins and makes announcements
  • Conducts interviews and prepares reports for news broadcasts, current affairs programmes and documentaries
  • Plays pre-recorded music at nightclubs, discotheques, and private functions.
Employment by Region
Regional Employment Chart
Gender Balance
M 57% 43% F
Skills Chart
Where to go next
Trigger StreetSector Skills Council for the TV and Film IndustryAn Overview of Information for the Creative IndustriesThe Old Vic Theatre

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