Getting to the top is not easy” – Martin Bobb-Semple Reminisces the Challenges He Faced as an Actor
For most of us, the life of an actor seems fun and glamorous; there are red-carpet appearances, fans requesting selfies, and celebs are always dressed to the nines for different occasions. But is their life behind those camera lenses really that pleasant? Did they just wake up one day and find fame and notoriety without ever working a 9 to 5 job? To know what goes into becoming an actor, we got in touch with the famous British actor Martin Bobb-Semple who shared his ups and downs in order to make a name for himself in the entertainment industry.
If you follow British television, you might remember Martin as Thomas James Ross on the 2019 CW series “Pandora” and Evan on the Peacock Original series “One of Us is Lying”. Growing up in London, Martin Bobb-Semple started his acting career at the age of 9, when he made his first on-screen appearance in the West End production of “Oliver” alongside Rowan Atkinson. Prior to his debut, he attended the Saturday stage school in London, and it was there that he learnt how to sing, dance and act. Fast forward a decade later, Martin is now working on a production in LA, turning his childhood dreams into reality with every passing day.
Despite the accolades he has received, Martin’s journey from auditioning for stage performances to becoming a television actor wasn’t as smooth and steady as one might assume. He had to audition for the role in “Oliver” for weeks before he was selected. “Six rounds of auditions later, and many trips into central London with my Dad, I finally got the role, and intense rehearsals started for the show,” reminisces Martin. Even after performing in front of over 2,000 people every night for about three years until the show ended, claiming that his love for it never faded.
Talking about his experience working on-screen, he shares, “After the performance ended, I did feel like I wanted to do screen work. Hence, I started looking for agencies online and began applying for representation. I would google actors’ agents and get in touch with them, hoping they would sign me.”
Martin did this for years, but it wasn’t until he was 15 that he found his very first agent, who then began sending him to auditions for TV shows in the UK. Over the course of his acting career, Martin Bobb-Semple found rejection to be the most daunting challenge he had to face. After 15 years, when he looks back at his struggling days, he recalls people often saying: ‘but you were still young, you had nothing to be worried about’. However, Martin believes otherwise. “When you’re in the situation, and you feel like you’ve exhausted all efforts to even try and get in the room for an audition, or struggling to pay for acting classes as well as struggling to pay for life itself, it can get to you mentally,” he reveals. This ordeal took such a toll on young Martin that he gave up on his acting classes and decided to work full-time at the gym, where he was employed part-time.
Fortunately, during that phase, he received a call from his tutor at the Identity School of Acting, who persuaded him to continue his journey no matter how difficult it got. “He told me getting to the top is not easy… and that there’s no way I can leave, and if I did, I’d be throwing everything away. He said that he wouldn’t just let that happen,” shares Martin. Although it’s disheartening when directors and producers don’t give you a chance to showcase your talents, in his opinion, it’s your patience and determination that land you the opportunities you’re seeking. Martin Bobb-Semple went on to further elaborate this by sharing his success mantra. “It’s been 15 years this year that I’ve been in the industry, and I’m nowhere near where I want to be just yet. Having said that, getting this far has been a result of my determination, belief in myself, patience, honesty and hard work”.
A few months after almost quitting his acting career, Martin auditioned for a Netflix series called “Free Rein”. According to him, the audition went horribly, and he had no hopes of getting a call back. However, luck was on his side, and within a week, he received a call confirming his role as Alex in “Free Rein”. This left him shocked, confused and excited, but more importantly, he felt relieved.
It was during his darkest moment that Martin Bobb-Semple learnt to never give up because, in his own words, “When you feel like giving up, usually there’s something right around the corner for you, if you just keep going.”