By Guy Camilleri
Cameron Roberts is an actor/writer/director from Venice who attends classes at RAW acting studio. Recently, Cameron and I sat down for a chat in Venice. I wanted to explore what it’s like to be a twenty-one year old in 2018.
From what I can recall, being a twenty-one-year-old in Cocoa Beach, Florida was pretty straightforward; eat, surf, girls, bag groceries at Publix Supermarket, more sleep and attend junior college (why again?). If there was an artist/actor inside of me, that voice was definitely in quiet mode.
It would be years later before I ‘woke up’ deciding I had something of value to share and then began to carve out a life based on PLAY/SERVICE, two sides of the same coin… at least in my book.
Having your voice be heard is the basis of my work at RAW acting studio, right here in Venice. I’m thrilled to introduce you to Cameron Roberts, a significant voice as an actor/writer for today’s generation and beyond.
Guy: I’m curious, what’s it like to be a young man in 2018?
Cameron: Well, as far as my insights into ‘manhood’ go, a lot of time is spent thinking: ‘How can us young men step up, and use our voices, along with our privilege, to do better in the world?’ However, I also often ask myself the equally—if not more important—question of: ‘How can us young men minimize our voices—sometimes at the cost of our comfort— to highlight other voices, and hopefully better the world?’
Do you want to be an actor, or do you need to be an actor?
I want to be an actor. I need to be a writer. And I need to be an actor to be a writer, I think.
What role does art play in your life?
I often tell myself ‘There’s no room for your writing, right now. You’re a straight, upper-class, white man.’ So recently, with this question in mind, I try to write for a voice that is not my own and thus explore a point of view that belongs to someone who isn’t a straight, white, upper-class young man. And it’s tough! I feel like I’m writing stereotypical gangsters when I write black men, classic high-school beauty queens when writing about women, etc. I certainly feel the stereotypes—which movies have exposed me to—creeping their way into my writing of minority characters.
However, I’m only twenty-one. I believe that if I keep challenging myself in this way, and make an effort to shut up and listen to voices that aren’t my own, that I will someday be able to cultivate a near-genuine voice for those who are vastly under-represented on the stages and screens of the world.
You have been in Venice since 2001. Describe what growing up here has been like?
I’ll share this: for the majority of my upbringing I would tell new friends ‘I live in Venice’ and they would ask, ‘Oh my god, are you safe there?’ Then, around 2008, the response shifted to ‘Oh my god! I love Abbot Kinney.’ Living in a place where such a shift happened, especially in such a short amount of time, is naturally shocking. Every time I’m home from college, I look around, and something I love is gone, and something I don’t love is here. However, I adore this community, and the hundreds of memories of eating at restaurants like the original Hals, cannot be swept away just because an Adidas store is now in its place.
Anything that you would like from Venice to become in this time of rapid transition?
Yes, I hope it can reconnect to its roots as a beach community. I would also love for Venice to have a well-functioning theatre supported and/or donated by the newcomers in the film and tech world who have decided to make Venice home.
What would you say to someone from your generation interested in acting?
Don’t just be an actor. Do other things…besides waiting tables.
And, what if they decide to go for it. What advice would you give?
The world is vast! ENORMOUS! Spend time around as many non-actors as you can. The way they live their life will inform your craft. One percent of movies, TV and plays are about actors. The other 99 percent is about spies, lawyers, mobsters, drug dealers, ship-builders, etc. You get the point; spend time with as many people from all walks of life as you can.
What has attending a weekly class done for you?
It has given me a place to F%#! up. I can go to your class and know that I can explore whatever I want without being judged. That kind of environment is so rare. I wish I had it in school, but you have encouraged me to carry that willingness to fail when I go back to school in the fall.I look forward to exploring the freedom which RAW gives me even when I’m not there every Monday and Wednesday.
What role does authenticity play in your life?
I’ve never met anyone who is truly authentic. AND I LOVE THAT! Authenticity is one of those things, which we can spend our entire lives chasing. I don’t challenge myself to be authentic, but rather to be more authentic. Never try to be anything. Try to get closer and closer to being that thing. I feel more accomplishment that way.
How do you define intimacy?
I don’t mean any of this in a sexual way, but for me, intimacy is touch. And REAL touch is not nearly as present as it should be in our community anymore. A high five used to mean everything here in Venice. I think we should re-evaluate how we touch each other to show how we feel. Really indulge in a hug with an old friend without worrying about one of the beautiful models walking by judging you. Touch can bring us all together if we let it. Don’t stomp the impulse to give a hug. There’s always room for another one.
Guy Camilleri is a Venice-based actor, acting-life coach, and poet. To audit, enroll in a class or book a coaching session, visit www.guycamilleri.com. Follow Guy on Instagram and Facebook.