Next Up

Next up: I will be launching None of That: A Black Books Podcast

16 Nov 2017

Film: Two Pints [2017]

This is a short film I made in December last year, but have just discovered the full film is on Youtube, Two Pints.

6 Nov 2017

Journaling the Month: October 2017

So on top of quite a few auditions for TV roles, I've had a few productive meetings re Christmas work in Enniskillen. Having missed out on Christmas work last year, having grown used to working with Laughlines, it was good to get this sorted (Laughlines then got in touch about work that would directly clash after I had already committed, was really disappointed I had to turn them down.)

20 Oct 2017

The London Cinema Museum faces closure, please help save it

A few years back I had the unique pleasure of attending the London Cinema Museum - a little, volunteer-run collection of movie posters, early film reels, and decor from an age when going to the cinema was an occasion you dressed up for.

17 Oct 2017

Past Work: The Conversation [2011]


I just unearthed this from the archives over on Vimeo: The Conversation. It was made for the competition Dare 2B Drink Aware, an initiative by drinkaware.ie, which I made with students from the Institute of Technology Tallaght (not Tallaght Institute of Technology, which would be TIT, since as we all know, that stands for Trotter's Independent Trading).

Harvey Weinstein and the silent men.

This past week has seen the whole of the Hollywood power structure completely upended by revelations that one of the most powerful people in the industry has been manipulating his position to sexually exploit vulnerable young actors.

12 Oct 2017

2 Oct 2017

The Fallacy of Britpop's 'Big Four' Revisionism.

Britpop was a glorious era for British and Irish music, when bands from almost every major city in the country were generating enough groundswell to rack up Top 20 and even Top 10 hits regularly, and many of them replicating their home shores success worldwide.

12 Sep 2017

Journaling the Month: August 2017

𝔄ugust is a strange month in this industry. Many practitioners dedicate the whole month to the Edinburgh Festivals, or it is the unofficial break before the September - December Christmas rush.

27 Aug 2017

The lead single: can it sink an anticipated album before it's even dropped?

𝕴've been blogging a lot this summer about Arcade Fire's lead single from Everything Now. It's an instantly-catchy, room-grabbing hit. (Or it would have been, if radio had picked it up - I still think it'll be an indie party classic for years). But it was a strong lead single, something which seems to be a rarity, or a fluke for albums over the years. Why do artists/record labels have such a hard time picking a lead single?

26 Aug 2017

Find me through Nova Artists (For Northern Ireland) and National Talent Agency (Ireland)

𝕴 am delighted to announce I have secured representation in both markets in Ireland this week, with these representatives handling all my bookings for stage, screen and voice.

1 Aug 2017

Journaling the month: July 2017

𝕴n order to keep myself motivated going forward, I'm going to try to journal every month, with some of the things that I have accomplished. It'll be corny, and of little value to a lot of people, but hopefully it'll help me take stock of things. Also, it's on my LifeRPG app as a monthly goal, as is blogging once a week, so I may as well kill two birds (that's a very violent idiom, by the way... isn't there a bowling term or something, that could be used instead?).

8 Jul 2017

Moving to LA for Pilot Season - the actor's Mecca

𝕻ilot season is the early months of the year, when a lot of production companies in Hollywood are creating new TV shows in the hope that they'll be picked up by a broadcaster for long term production. These pilots are the first episodes of shows like sitcoms, dramas and new reality shows.

22 Jun 2017

From Youtube: James McAnespy 2017 Showreel (short edit)

This is from my Youtube channel: Showreel of actor James McAnespy. James McAnespy is a writer, actor and podcast host, based in Ireland. He has performed in a huge variety of productions over a nine year professional career, on both stage and screen. He hosts Ecumenical Matters - The Father Ted Podcast and None of That A Black Books Podcast, based on the Graham Linehan-penned sitcoms, as well as other discussions on culture and life. He blogs at http://blog.jamesmcanespy.co.uk Clips from Two Pints, Jackalope, Éalú

17 Jun 2017

Theatre is no longer the writer's medium

𝔗heatre has evolved away from the writer. This is a stark statement, but increasingly proving itself to be true. Where once the writer was the main crux of the stage, and productions were put on to bring the writer's vision to fruition, or to maximise the impact of their ideas, it is now largely a storefront for singers, dancers and physical performers.

15 Jun 2017

Arcade Fire and the subdued reception in Belfast: A study in the radio-industrial complex.

𝔚hen Arcade Fire decide to call it a day, they will be hailed as the most influential band of the early 21st Century, so when Belfast music lovers look back on their performance at Belsonic 2017, they may do so with a hint of embarrassment. Similar to the legend that Led Zeppelin debuted Stairway to Heaven in the Ulster Hall (only to be almost booed off the stage - they are trying to erase that part from the brochures), Belsonic's opening night might find it gathers up quite a few phantom attendees in the next few decades.

25 May 2017

YouTube: James McAnespy showreel 2017 (long edit)

Showreel of actor James McAnespy. Clips from Two Pints, Jackalope, Rent A Life, Éalú
James McAnespy showreel 2017 (long edit)

How to Find Good Actors, or The Pitfalls of the Novice Filmmaker.

𝕴 recently attended a film audition by an enthusiastic, but largely clueless pair of filmmakers. They had a good set of equipment, and a reasonably decent by-the-numbers concept for a genre horror/thriller. But I fear their film is doomed to be a laughing stock, because they clearly do not know how to identify, or audition, good actors.

15 May 2017

The Odd Couple (2012): One of 20th Century Theatre's enduring crowd-pleasers.

𝕺ne of the more successful productions I was involved in, as far as consistently high bums to seats ratio was The Odd Couple in 2012. It was directed by Mary Lindsay, who I had worked with previously during the rehearsed reading for Sitting Up for Michael. She was so perfect in the role of Doris, it tore me up that she was about twenty years too young for the part when it came to staging. 

10 May 2017

YouTube: Romancing the Score - Brian's father

Romancing the Score - Brian's father

YouTube: Romancing the Score - traditional pubs monologue by James McAnespy

James McAnespy as Brian, railing against the craft beer phenomenon that has swept across the country. What happened to the traditional boozer? From the premier of Romancing the Score by Shane White. Performed at the Pentameters Theatre, Hamstead, February 2015. Directed by John Dunne; Produced by Leonie Scott-Matthews.
Romancing the Score - traditional pubs monologue by James McAnespy

7 May 2017

None of That: A Black Books podcast. Coming soon

So, given that I've burned through every episode of Father Ted and reviewed them on podcast, I need to turn to another podcast subject - what better than Black Books? Graham Linehan's next sitcom following Ted. He and Arthur Mathews had created Big Train in the mean time, for my money the funniest sketch show there's been, which introduced Simon Pegg's to the world.

28 Apr 2017

Ecumenical Matters - The Father Ted Podcast review: Part 2

I called the first part of this look back a review. In hindsight, I probably should have called it a retrospective, but hopefully review has more SEO benefits!

I find it a bit odd that I haven't actually had much negative feedback about the podcast,
Ecumenical Matters The Father Ted Podcast with 5 Star reviews on iTunes
constructive or other wise. It's currently sitting on a healthy five full stars on iTunes (the holy grail of podcast hosting - incidentally I've recently switched to Android and no podcast app holds a candle to the simple user-friendly efficiency of the iPhone's default app. Why is there so many options, Podcast Addict?), and comments on the Facebook page have been overwhelmingly supportive.

26 Apr 2017

Los Campesinos are the most important guitar band of the year!

OK, so this isn't acting, or theatre, or film, but this is important. Listen to Los Campesinos! and do it now. They are unquestionably the most imaginative guitar band going at the minute, with their latest album Sick Scenes up there with Stormzy and Kendrick Lamar as one of the few essential LPs released in 2017.

24 Apr 2017

Great screen acting performances in American Film (Male Leads)

For the purpose of this post, male lead includes Heath Ledger as Joker, since he was the lead antagonist. Also, shut up.

Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight [2008]

Whenever a performer is universally lauded, it's usually because they have dazzled audiences with a showy performance, but it also contains nuance and so isn't just an excercise in buffoonery, like Heath Ledger's transcendant turn as the Joker. 

11 Apr 2017

Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy (2010-11): The American Great Tackles Europe's Nadir

𝔄rthur Miller's best work focused on the American experience. The American Dream, where every man can raise a family by sheer strength of spirit in The Land of the Free was exposed in his most famous work, Death of a Salesman. And the puritanical vim of the early settlers, who curtailed female empowerment/dealt with difficult women, by burning them at the stake in the Salem Witch Trials was laid bare in The Crucible, while serving as the perfect backdrop for a metaphor on McCarthyism.

1 Apr 2017

Black Sails is the best show you aren't watching!

𝔗onight on US Tv, Starz is showing the final episode of the pirate drama, Black Sails, and its the best TV show you haven't been watching.

26 Mar 2017

Playboy of the Western World, a play for the 21st century.

UPDATE 𝕺n May 10-12 I'll be performing in J.M. Synge's Playboy of the Western World. The play is considered one of the great works of Irish literature (a very coveted field - it would be no exaggeration to say that Irish literature is possibly the most prolific in the world), and caused riots upon its premier in the Abbey Theatre in 1907, led by one of the founders of Sinn Fein, Arthur Griffiths.

22 Mar 2017

On set: Run Rabbit Run

Here's a quick photo collage from on the set of Run Rabbit Run... Your intrigued, aren't you?

14 Mar 2017

7 Mar 2017

Ecumenical Matters: Bonus X-over episode with Media MD

In the last few weeks, since I finished the wrap up episode of Ecumenical Matters, I have been doing a crossover episode with MediaMD, and Australian podcast. They have just put the episode up online, and I did a quick intro for them on my side. 

3 Mar 2017

Past Work: Age by Dominic Curran (2016)

Past Work is a series where I look at some of the jobs I have done that I haven't blogged about for a variety of reasons

In November 2016, I was involved in the Black Box's Lunchbox Theatre program, a new writing scheme run by the venue for lunchtime performances. It's a very positive scheme that gives new writers in particular an outlet to have their work performed.

1 Mar 2017

VIDEO: Advertisement for BCSP

This is an advertisement I made for Belfast PCSP's drug awareness campaign with Creative3 Media. It was the shoot I posted the on-set photos of last week.

27 Feb 2017

VIDEO: First rehearsal trailer for Playboy of the Western World



Here is a rehearsal trailer from Playboy of the Western World, which is on in the Crescent Arts Centre Belfast on April 1&2. 

The trailer looks fantastic and I'm really looking forward to performing the play. 

23 Feb 2017

Ecumenical Matters podcast review: Part 1

James McAnespy hosts Ecumenical Matters - The Father Ted podcast
The podcast cover art I designed in Canva -
probably doesn't have Ted in it enough to be
eye-catching in a podcast library
At the start of the month I released the wrap up episode for Ecumenical Matters, The Father Ted podcast. It was the end of about six months work to definitively review every episode of Father Ted. In case you don't know,

14 Feb 2017

On Set: Photos from advertisement shoot with Creativ3

This past week, I was filming with the delightful Creativ3 in Carrickfergus, for an anti drug campaign. The weather was friggin baltic, but the craic was good, and the turnaround was really speedy, so I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's finished.

25 Jan 2017

Press Release: FATHER TED PODCAST TO DECLARE FANS’ FAVOURITE EPISODE

  • Belfast-based Father Ted podcast, Ecumenical Matters to reveal results of months-long fan poll
  • Podcast covered every episode of the classic sitcom with weekly hour long discussion with a different guest from local arts and music scenes
  • Host James McAnespy has performed professionally as a Father Dougal impersonator - and had to respond to Graham Linehan’s dislike of these

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

===========================================================================

A Belfast-based podcast that has forensically studied each episode of the seminal nineties sitcom Father Ted is set to reveal the results of a poll where fans chose their favourite episode of the show.

Having undergone a weekly hour-long discussion on each episode of the classic show, the panel - made up of host James McAnespy and a variety of guests from a variety of performance and comedy fields - were asked if they felt the episode deserved a nomination as a ‘Top 5 Contender’ to be decided at the conclusion of the podcast. Listeners of the podcast were then invited to vote on the episodes and the results are now in and are set to be revealed in the podcast’s final episode.

Father Ted was a hugely popular British sitcom about three dysfunctional priests who were sequestered on a remote island off Ireland’s west coast that ran on Channel 4 from 1995 to 1998. Written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, the show still enjoys a remarkably large following, particularly in Ireland, and is still broadcast on More4.

In 2016, actor, writer and Father Ted fan, James McAnespy started a weekly podcast that explored each episode individually to see how it held up to modern standards of comedy.

“Each week we break down episodes and try to give better context for viewers - especially viewers who wouldn't be familiar with the Irish and Catholic aspects of the show,” James explains. “A particular example is our detailing of Bishop Brennan's first appearance, and how it was directly inspired by the scandal of the real life Bishop of Galway who had a son in America, or we provide more context for Dougal's night wear, the Ireland football jersey and why it would have been important to him in the mid 1990s.”

Regular features include a running count of Mrs Doyle's 'Ah Go Ons', a 'Meet your Maker' where the panel spot appearances of writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews in the show, ‘Jack’s Drinks Cabinet,’ listing every drink Jack has imbibed, and the ‘Fillum Collection’ - a definitive list of the films that the priests have watched.

“The show is still hilarious, even after all these years, and multiple viewings, I’m still finding myself cracking up at it,” James said. “You can go anywhere in the world you will still find someone who can quote the lines back to you!”

The guests on the podcast were drafted from James’ huge network of artists and comedians from his work as a writer and actor in Belfast and London. Guests have included the street artist Friz (Marian Noone) and her husband Gerry Norman of A Plastic Rose, performance poet and musician Colin Hassard, Comedy duo Victoria E Armstrong and David Doherty-Jebb, as well a host of other performers and writers from Belfast and beyond.

Over the course of the podcast, James recorded mostly in his central-Belfast flat, but he also recorded episodes in London, a live episode as part of Culture Night Belfast (where it was one of the festival’s Best Bits) and even in a public square during the Edinburgh festival, while cellist Ursula Burns could be heard in the background.

The podcast dove right into a controversy, by responding directly to Graham Linehan's distaste of tribute shows - James has performed as a tribute to Father Dougal in a number of these shows. During the podcast covering the seminal episode Speed 3 - where Dougal is trapped on a milk float by a randy milkman - James played a clip of Linehan from an interview with Richard Herring, released a day before recording and responded directly to the creator's complaints.

All the podcast episodes are available to download for free on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/ecumencial-matters-father/id1116660897?mt=2), Soundcloud and all major podcast platforms, and the results episode will be release on the 31st January. Listeners can also interact with the show on the Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/EcumicalMatters

======================================================================

23 Jan 2017

Past Collaborators: Michael Keane

Past Collaborators is a feature where I look back at some of the performers I've worked with over the years, with an update of what they are doing now.

Michael Keane is an actor and improv artist from Westmeath who I've a great relationship with, knowing him from London Comedy Writers, as a guest on my podcast, and a friend.

Past Work: Tea [2004]

Past Work is a series where I look back at some of the jobs I've done that didn't get posted up here for a variety of reasons.

Going through some of my old hard drives and laptops has lead to me finding some gems (or not!), and I've decided to put some of them up here for your amusement!

Tea was a short film I made in school while at the CBS Omagh. I had just worked with Chris Baugh on his film Crashing the Wake and it gave me the buzz to want to get into this industry, so I gathered a few of the other runners I was working with - Bryce Dunne and Declan Taggart (who was also one of my best mates, which was handy) - to get them to work with me on the script.

22 Jan 2017

New Short Film: For a Future [2017]

Another student project that I just got a final edit on was For a Future, a crime thriller about two young burglars who try to up their score in order to secure their long term ambitions.

I was working with the same team who made Chairs, so I was familiar with the guys. This was directed by Ben Ross and produced by Ciara McLarnon, who directed Chairs. She has a lot of experience, working with Cinemagic among others, and is one to watch for the future. Jack Tollerton and Jenna Mealiff were on sound again and I was acting alongside Andy Boyd.
As you can see, it's inspired by the likes of Tarantino and Scorsese, and the camera work during the death scene is incredibly effective. 

19 Jan 2017

Tribute to Patrick Sanders

Very sad news trickled through the Belfast theatre circles yesterday with the news of the untimely passing of Patrick Sanders, a hugely talented cartoonist and threare practitioner. I worked with him most closely during Tinderbox's Guidelines for a Long and Happy Life, where he was the co-ordinator of the chorus, and was very generous and warm hearted throughout. He will be dearly missed by his friends and family and there is a very heartfelt tribute on Re:Play's website, who he had been working with over a number of years.

11 Jan 2017

New short film: Chairs [2017]

Just before Christmas I was busy with a number of student projects ahead of updating my showreel. I need new filmed footage, and there's three major film courses being run in Belfast, by Queen's University, Belfast Metropolitan College, and Ulster University, so there is usually a lot of eager young film makers looking for actors.

The first to be completed is a lovely little silent (well, no dialogue) film called Chairs about a hapless janitor's struggles with an unruly group of apparently sentient chairs!

Roles without dialogue present a unique challenge to actors - all communication must come from the face and the physical form. Looking at this now, I feel I made a couple of missteps, but I have identified them and will know what to be aware of in future.

It was a delight to work with the student's of Queens for this one, (directed by Ciara McLarnon; DOP Ben Ross; production Jenna Mealiff) and the writer/sound man Jack Tollerton has put the finished project up on his Youtube channel.



4 Jan 2017

Past Work: Romancing the Score at the Pentameters Theatre Hampstead (2015)

One of the stage productions I had been part of in London that I didn't produce myself was Romancing the Score in the quaint little Pentameters Theatre in Hampstead. The comedy was written by Armagh writer Shane White, about a group of no-hopers who represented a small Belfast pub in a local 5-a-side league.
Rehearsal shot of Romancing the Score. L-R: Myself, Damien Regan, Jon Adams, James Anthony, Mark Moore

2 Jan 2017

New footage found of C.L.G. (Cúmann Luthchleas Gael) from 2014!

It's great finding footage of your old work that you didn't know existed, an unexpected blast from the past! An audience member from the White Bear sent me this a few weeks ago - the full play of C.L.G. from the 2014 run.
I remember Paul Rogers taking one look at the script and just getting it immediately - completely putting to bed any anxiety I had about the fact that the character is written for a much older actor. Paul was great to work with and is now training to be a wrestler - I can't wait to see him in action! He's just decided on a finishing move, so I'll keep you posted when he's laying the smackdown in a ring near you!

I've decided to follow this up with footage of some of my other old work - no matter how good or bad it is! So if you have any footage or photographs of work I've been in, please do get in touch!