My name is Ritchi Edwards and I’m a unique actor(born with one hand & have also got Aspergers) who has been acting for over 14 years. I use the term unique as I believe the word disability puts a person in a bracket and is being branded with a limitation. Raindance has always been so great at presenting a wide array of talent from all walks of life including different uniquenesses, I believe even with a uniqueness that that performer has the right to be the pivotal part of a story! Last year I was so grateful to be a part of Raindance Film Festival starring in Homeless Ashes as a British war veteran AL, and the festival gave me a chance to showcase myself as a unique actor, we were so happy to have Homeless Ashes premiere here to a great reception and this moment in my career will always have a special place for quite a few reasons.
- My grandad was with me to witness the world premiere of Homeless Ashes at the festival.
- It was a major moment in my career to be a unique performer at such a prestigious and positively talked about festival.
- It was great to see our hard work from paper to screen be showcased at such a prestigious festival!.
- It was great to be a voice and represent my fellow unique actors and filmmakers
- It was great to share it with the cast & crew who through this journey have become life long friends…
The list is far greater than 5 but I’ll keep it short!.
We hear about the lack of inclusion of black actors in film and the unique performers seem to have had to of taken a back seat when truthfully black & unique actors should both be a part of the same unit both included when you talk about diversity & inclusion in film and the performing arts in general. I shall be working with Raindance on strengthening the presence and bringing more roles played by unique performers into the public eye… to Raindance Film Festival!. A new initiative to give unique performers such as myself a look in. And this is all needed now more than ever because I believe after the current pandemic lots of things are going to change so it’s vital we make the changes that are needed!. Stay tuned for future updates on this.
So now I’ve spoken about all this here’s some advice(below) for unique performers wanting start out or who are already in the industry:
Knowing that you’re a little different doesn’t mean you can’t have those opportunities to be put in front of CD’s(casting directors) to show what you’re made of, you have as much right as anyone else to show your capabilities as an actor or performer in your field, this goes for filmmakers in general whether it be working in front or behind the camera. Now this is the truth that there aren’t as many opportunities for unique performers in our industry so we have to work that little bit harder but don’t EVER be put off by that, I’ve had some great roles so far in my career as a unique performer and I was even called in for Game Of Thrones and that was my first major casting I was so nervous but I came away getting positive feedback & being told I was put forward to the director so I was in the running, I missed out in the end but that missing out wasn’t my main concentrating point… it was the experience and confidence boost it gave me as a unique performer and also exposure so each time you have a casting or get to show what you’re made of whatever the outcome BE PROUD focus on the positives!
I’m very lucky to have an agent (Donna) who is also my friend who strongly supports my vision as a unique actor so if you’re seeking representation I think it’s a must to find those qualities and to make sure that they understand your vision because you want to progress positively – don’t be put off and feel down that you aren’t represented you will get noticed the further you progress so keep it moving and GO GET IT! Those roles that require an ‘able’ bodied artist to apply I believe to not be put off by that and to apply for those roles because minds can be changed and if you fit the bill look wise go on in there and show em what you’ve got talent-wise! Keep your faith strong in your abilities!
If they’re talking about changing the ethnicity of characters then why can’t a unique actor play an able-bodied character! I used to hide the fact that I’ve got one hand but as the years passed I showed him more and acting set me free as a person when I was younger and boosted my confidence dramatically, yeah he’s a him and his names stumpy, my point is that if anyone out there is unsure whether to show their uniqueness… there is no question about it show it for everyone to see! Because as a unique actor that is a major selling point for us as performers! A TRULY positive selling point!
Now with social media as actors/filmmakers we are a brand so make sure you put yourself out there into the public eye and on social media in the correct way. Showcase yourself and get yourself out there post your showreel and headshots because it is all great exposure and you just don’t know who will see it, make sure to hashtag the relevant subject to your post!. I hope in some way this inspires even just one person to keep going and to NEVER give up! Unique is terrifique!
If you wish to keep updated or would like to stay updated with my happenings you can find me on social media by heading into the link below