“Work hard and don’t be a – knob!”

On the very night of their BBC debut, few actors would be found advising young people about careers rather than using the timely opportunity to catch some great press coverage for their first starring role.

Warren Brown isn’t your average actor, however. A professional Thai boxer for many years, Brown began work in the acting profession as an extra, before landing roles on popular television series Shameless and Hollyoaks.

Speaking to an audience at Latimer Talks last night, he explained how Hollyoaks had been “a brilliant learning tool for me, almost like drama school”. Incredibly self-deprecating, Brown explained that landing one big name job does not necessarily mean that you have made it. Jobs in the industry have time limits, and the gaps between jobs are frequent.

“You just think about the bigger picture,” explained Brown. Encouraging the audience of aspiring actors, directors and producers in front of him, he said: “If you fancy it, then just try it.” Brown at least believes that it is better to try and fail, than not try and wonder what could have been achieved. His sincerity and down to earth manner were truly inspiring, as were his tales of how his ambition to succeed had convinced him to continue with menial jobs in between acting employment.

As he puts it himself, Warren “stumbled into [acting]”. Yet his hard work and dedication is evident, and his new starring role in his own BBC drama as well as a brief stint in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is testament to the fact that his success isn’t all down to chance.

Brown modestly commented that “little stuff kept happening, at the right time, at the right place”. However it was clear from his very presence on the night of his biggest part to date, that his willingness to offer advice and help to others and his dedication to his career has played a big role in his success.

However his unusual route did give hope to an audience of aspiring actors who have not had the standard industry training. Indeed, according to Brown, going into an acting career at a slightly older age was beneficial. “Life experience helped”, he explained. He also told of how his previous career as a Thai Boxer had accustomed him to remaining focused and disciplined have benefited his acting.

When asked which director he would like to work with if he could choose, Brown mentioned Dominic Savage and Shane Meadows, and it seems work with Meadows may well be in the pipeline. Brown discussed the privileges of working with celebrated talents.

He described working with greats such as actor Stephen Graham: “he’s such a great guy, and now he’s kind of one of my pals. That’s one thing about the industry, it’s about social interaction –it’s such a big, but such a small industry… it’s a people’s business”. Following on from this, he advised the young people to pay attention to the manner in which they present themselves to potential colleagues or employers. Brown explained that if you were difficult to work with, a potential employer would certainly find out about this before hiring you. Clearly Brown has not put any employers, off with his easy manners and down to earth attitude: another series of both Luther and Good Cop seem likely to go ahead.

Brown is also set to feature in a Miss Marple production: “it’s not really what I ususally do, but it was an opportunity to go away and I think because people don’t expect me to do it, and it’s British, so why the hell not?”

Latimer Talks is a monthly event which takes place in a relaxed but intimate basement in Waterloo. Founded by Latimer Creative Media, the award winning social enterprise, it attracts successful figures from the media industry that share their advice on making it in the industry to young people who have a vision.

It is easy to see why people such as Brown are willing to attend the talks. The events and the young people that attend ooze with enthusiasm, hope and motivation. Brown’s final words of wisdom: “work hard, be good at your job, don’t be a knob”.

Latimer Talks are held on the last Thursday of every month at the Latimer offices in Waterloo. Email info@latimercreativemedia.com for more information or to be added to the mailing list.


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