A Realist Social Realist
THE FIRST ACT
I began writing at the age of 11, it was my coping mechanism for a troubled childhood. At night, in the darkness of my room, I would push a piece of paper against a moonlit patch of wall and scream my emotions through a crayon. These were random lines of confused emotions, frustrations, hope, and fear. From that day to this writing has been my best friend.
At around 15 I discovered poetry and prose and began to put some thought into what I was writing. All these writings were kept secret and would never be read by another until 6 years later, in 2002. I was working in a live-in position at a hotel, I came home to find my room mate reading some of my words. My friend was highly emotional and in the subsequent conversation revealed things about his life that I would otherwise never have known. In our conversation we spoke about mental health, fears and self doubts. In this single moment I realised I was not alone with my suffering and so much pain ebbed away. My friend persuaded me to share my words online, saying that they could help other people feel not so alone in their troubles.
All of my work was essentially diary entries of my battles with depression and struggles with life and society. I was afraid I would be ridiculed for my work and so I posted under an alias, The Broken Child. Posting online exposed me to other people who shared the same inhibitions, fragility, fears and doubts that I did. The conversations my words ignited led me to achieve more healing in a year than in the previous 20. I quickly realised that sharing is one of the most powerful tools we have for healing, not just in ourselves but in others and our societies.
After a three year journey of self-discovery online, I changed my pen name to ‘The Human Voice’. The change was inspired by the frustration and limitation society places on openness regarding mental health and emotional honesty. I have long been an advocate of expression and openness with emotions. Sadly in today's society poetry and prose are not popular mediums, I set about searching for another way to communicate ideas about social reform and increasing awareness of social and community issues.
In 2012, aged 32, I enrolled at University to study sports science. Midway through my first year I watched a short film on YouTube that would inspire the biggest change in my life to date. The short film was set to a prose based voice over and talked about homelessness. YouTube is a phenomenally popular medium and holds the power to send messages direct to the audience, masked behind entertainment. I was a social realist before I even knew what that was. The idea formed in my head that I could use stock images and narrate my poetry over the top, then upload to You Tube. I started to this but it lacked the power of the performance, I needed actors. So I decided I would have a go at making a film.
Without any previous experience or knowledge of screenwriting and film-making, I went out and shot my first film. I found a student with a camera and a couple of Drama students, shot the film and uploaded to YouTube. From that moment on I was hooked, hearing those actors say my words and seeing it come to life was liberating. A few months later I took the bold decision to switch degree, I enrolled on a Joint Degree; Screenwriting, and Drama & Performance. I completed my first proper screenplay in 2013, Silent War. I wrote, produced and Directed the film, it has so far achieved 196,000 views online. All of my films seek to raise awareness of Social and community issues. I founded my own production company, Human Voice Productions, to make not-for-profit films that are released straight to YouTube.
In 2016 I graduated with a 1st Class Degree (with Honors), then in 2018 I graduated with a 1st Class Masters Degree. Sadly I quickly discovered that qualifications, hard work and dedication does not provide a key into the kingdom. I applied for hundreds of apprenticeships, but was denied. I wrote to hundreds of agents, they did not even read my email (can tell by the lack of views on my show-reel). I could not even get a production company to read the scripts, all I got was a response saying 'We cannot read unsolicited scripts'.
An artist has only got worth if they can make those who support them money, and without being given a chance to show what you can do all that is left is isolation. The industry is not designed to let new talent in, and across the world so much talent is going to waste. The lack of opportunity was polluting my soul and creativity, so I made the tough decision to turn my back from my dreams. This could render everything I have worked for and achieved pointless, but the psychological and emotional evolution I found in the attempt is worth so much.
I grew up being constantly told I was worthless and nobody cared about me, that I was not special and would achieve nothing. Well, at least I tried. Also, for someone with nothing to say, I have a film that has achieved 250,000 views on You Tube. I could have kept fighting, but I felt like I was knocking on doors to empty rooms. There is a fine line between a young man with potential and an old man that does not know when it's over.
I do not regret for a second the changes I made, they have liberated my soul and given so much healing to my mental health. Change is available for all, you just have to be willing to reach for it. I have made painful sacrifices along the way, but the only sacrifice you can not recover from is the sacrifice of your own life to meet the needs of others. We have one life, live it for yourself and in your highest truth. Always be sympathetic to the needs of others and never willingly seek to harm, but always stay true to your beliefs and dreams.
What is the meaning of life?.... To live or die trying.
Mark Anthony Games