One day you get the news that all of your hardwork has finally paid off and the big break you have been striving for is finally here. The next day you are lying on your back playing a corpse. It’s a great metaphor for the life of a working actor and also something Creed Fletcher discovered firsthand. The self-proclaimed “teddy bear” took some time to speak to Nexus about the challenges he is facing as a young, working actor.
Nexus: You were recently cast in an upcoming TVNZ series, what can you tell us about that?
Creed: I was recently a part of a project based on a very popular book series that contains a large international following and fanbase. A bit of magic, a bit of supernatural activity. I’m not too sure what I can say, but hey, I’ll leave that for the audience to figure out.
It’s going to be distributed into a short film based on a chapter or two in one of the books, and basically their plan with this is to create a series to then set a pitch to the big people with the money bags. If they get the green light from the big people, then they can create something bigger out of this, like a full length film or a tv series.
Nexus: What role did you originally have in the series?
Creed: I was very fortunate to be given the role of a Māori character named Tane. He’s known in the books as this laid back, gentle giant (characteristically like myself too). He’s known to tag along with a few magical sorcerers in some pretty cool adventures. Spoiler alert: he dies.
Nexus: Why was your role cut?
Creed: There was a massive creative issue in one of the departments where they applied a tā moko to my face and, to make a long story short, it didn’t go as planned. Therefore, a very tough decision was made by the director which meant my character was not filmed during the time of production. Instead, they planned on filming my character in later dates that are yet to come. I was a bit bummed out about the decision, but I understand that they wanted to get my character right. There was a lot that needed to be right for this character to work without repercussions from different communities, and I do respect that.
As I mentioned previously, my character does die, and his death is shown in this short film. They decided they wanted to keep me around for production and have me still stand in as my dead character’s corpse. I said yes. At least I still made it in front of the camera in the end.
Nexus: How did you land this role with TVNZ to begin with?
Creed: I met the director on a completely different project we worked on together (he had a different role at that time) and he liked the way I acted. He pitched this idea to me about a project that he had been working on for quite some time and asked me to audition for a role. When the time came, I had my audition and they casted me on the spot. Biggest. Ego boost. Ever.
Nexus: What sets you apart from other actors and theatre students?
Creed: I’m the giant teddy bear of every production, only because I don’t want to come across as the “big, scary, brown guy” to everyone I work with. I am a big softie and I don’t mind living up to that title too.
Nexus: What does your acting and working schedule look like?
Creed: In an acting schedule, from what I’ve noticed, there is a period of time where things are really full on (during production). Before everything gets full on (with reading, learning lines, rehearsing and so on), you have to keep yourself available and flexible otherwise you’ll get the sack. But most of the time a director will have a schedule on when you have to be there, so you can keep on top of that.
Outside of acting, I work as a Checkout Supervisor at Countdown. And to be honest, I get noticed more from that job than I do from being an actor.
Nexus: What are the realities of being an actor?
Creed: For me, it’s been pretty chill. On the rare occasion, I have been noticed from some on-stage shows that I’ve done and I find that really cool. One thing I find hilarious though is that most of the time when you tell people you’re an actor, chances are, they’re going to say, “Oh, so when will we see your big debut on Shortland Street?” or something along those lines. Trust me, there is a whole lot more to the acting game than a hospital sitcom here in NZ.
But I think the one thing that I enjoy is that I’m always meeting new people and establishing relationships with people that could help me land more acting roles.
Nexus: The film industry can be dark at times, have you experienced any trials?
Creed: Absolutely. I have seen people walk out of productions. I have seen blood (both fake and real), sweat and tears. Unfair treatment, dodgy colleagues, exchange of colourful language, you name it. In saying that, it is very similar to what you’d see in a profession of any sort. There will be difficult times, but in those times that I have had as an actor, I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by people in the industry that have been super supportive, and with that I have shared my support in return.
Nexus: What made you want to be an actor?
Creed: I was really unsure what I wanted to do when I left high school. I had been a part of multiple sports teams, tried the tradie life and even considered joining the forces – none of it really appealed to me. It wasn’t until I took drama in my last few years of high school and was really loving it, that’s when I decided I wanted to pursue acting.