Emmerdale actor Reece Dinsdale told students it has always been vital to take all of the opportunities offered to you in the ever-changing media industry.
Speaking at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week, the actor and director described hard work as intrinsic to his long career spanning the best part of four decades.
The actor said that this was true of both his acting and his directing work.
Reece said: “I have stayed in this business with this longevity because I’ve paid my dues.”
Despite the relevant experience, Reece was hesitant to direct an episode of Emmerdale when offered to, because soap operas use the a three-camera system rather than one camera.
“I never thought of doing anything like Emmerdale because I was frightened of it.”
However, for Reece “it was just a question of learning”, and after taking this opportunity, he was then offered a part on Emmerdale, joining the cast earlier this year as Paul Ashdale.
Even acting was not always on his radar, particularly coming from the northern mining town of Normanton.
In the 1970s, acting jobs were almost always exclusive to London.
Reece said: “Acting was not something I was planning for, it took me by surprise, and I went hell for leather for it.”
Whilst many see Reece joining the cast of Yorkshire Television sitcom Home to Roost in 1984 as his breakthrough, Reece reminded viewers of Journalism and Media Week that the likes of the BBC drama Threads led to him landing the role in Home to Roost opposite John Thaw.
“The only reason it really worked was because I got this body of work behind me that had given me the experience.”
Having been an actor for 30 years, Reece took up the opportunity to try out directing that came “out of the blue” during playing a central role in an episode of Moving On.
He followed his own work ethic of always coming prepared, so came with drawings of the shots he wanted.
Reece said: “I didn’t come empty handed: I came handed with a bag full of thoughts and images.”
‘Eighteen’, an episode of Moving On directed by Reece, won the Royal Television Society award for Best Daytime Programme.
When discussing being on the set of Emmerdale adhering to social distancing, Reece said: “I thought this is not normal, this is not good.”
He said he dislikes not being close to other actors.
He added he felt sorry for people trying to break in to the media during such hard times, but said he had not changed his advice for budding actors and directors during yet another change for the industry.
“There is no substitute for hard work.”
He also emphasised the importance of social media, which he himself joined at 58, saying it’s as important to “bite” the ear of those in the business, as it is to give 100 per cent.
“Show willing. Turn up. Open your ears. Work hard.”