A hypothetical scenario.

  • David Vaughan Knight

    Actor

    Actor A is 62 years old. He has been employed as an Actor on and off for 35 years. He trained at drama school, and has built a fantastic CV. Over the years he has invested his time and money in more training, stage combat, acting techniques and the like. Over the years he has built a large network of professional contacts, and is respected by his peers as a professional. He has raised his family on a modest income, always paid his taxes, his agent and union subs. The roles are fewer now but he still soldiers on towards Lear.

    Actor B is also 62 years old. He too has been employed as an Actor on and off for 35 years. He didn't train at a drama school but trod the boards and learnt on the job, he has also built a fantastic CV. Over the years he has invested his time and money in more training, stage combat, acting techniques and the like. Over the years he has built a large network of professional contacts, and is respected by his peers as a professional. He has raised his family on a modest income, always paid his taxes, his agent and union subs. The roles are fewer now but he still soldiers on towards Lear.

    Actor C is 62. He is financially secure and retired. Today he has decided to become an actor. He did some Am-Dram at Uni and always felt his comic turns at the office party were well received. He creates a headshot and with some slight embellishment, joins various casting sites and starts applying for roles.

    The following day, Actors A, B and C are sitting in a casting suite for a reasonably well paid, non speaking television ident.

    Actor C is cast in the role.

    Question: Should Actors A and B's careers of 35 years be protected from Actor C?

    If so, for how long and by whom?

    • 23rd Oct 2012
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  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    In my experience actor c usually lets the companies down and they come back to one of the more experienced ones.

    • 19th Oct 2012
    • 1
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Well if C was cast because of his looks there is not much point in protecting A and B.

    If he was better in the audition then A and B have only got themselves to blame.

    Not sure what you're trying to say. Everybody has to start somewhere and at some point. And there will always be people with more experience who don't get the part.

    • 19th Oct 2012
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  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    There's a lovely relief piece of Victorian or Edwardian sculpture on the side of my brother's old Scout hall, (I noticed today mine has been knocked down for houses) anyway the sculpture shows an an angel like character handing a laborer something and underneath the caption reads "Time rewards labour"

    Clearly time's "run out". :-)

    • 19th Oct 2012
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  • Alex Oyston

    Actor

    What's to protect them from? If C was the best candidate on the day he should rightly get the part and good on him for giving it a go at 62 ;-)

    • 19th Oct 2012
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    If A and B's years of experience didn't get them cast over C then they only have themselves to blame! Noone should be protected from anyone else! It's acting not brain surgery! In the audition room it's actor for themselves and if C nails it then fair play to him!

    • 19th Oct 2012
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  • Andrew Ford

    Actor

    At the end of the day, there are no absolutes in acting. Like any art form it's all rather subjective.

    Actor C may not be the most experienced actor and may not even be the most gifted or most versatile - I don't know, this is a hypothetical situation after all!

    But here's the thing...

    What if he happens to be the best man for the particular job that he's auditioning for?

    • 20th Oct 2012
    • 6
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Exactly! A &/or B should have got the job but on the day, C kicked their butts!

    Much as though I respect anyone who's gone through the whole drama school route, I didn't train and didn't start acting professionally until I was 39! I'm more than happy to go up against anyone in the audition room and sometimes I'll even beat them!

    May the best man/woman win I say! And it's up to the CD/Director to make that call!

    • 20th Oct 2012
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Actor's A and B are responsible for their own careers protecting their own interests; they can do this for as long as they feel necessary.

    Everyone in the pool of actors that a Casting Director considers for a role could be cast and A and B must accept this if C is cast; even if A and B feel that they are more worthy due to the greater length of time they have spent dedicating to their respective acting careers over actor C's relatively "Johnny come lately" approach.

    Best.

    • 20th Oct 2012
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  • Dan Gregory

    Actor

    If Actor C is the best no problem. In the last few years I have met many actor Cs. Many of them had been made redundant or retired with sound financial security and had thought acting might be a "lark". One or two have years of amdram experience which gives them strong techniques and abilities. Some of them think you can take time off if you don't feel 100% and let others down. Some are prepared to work for TV production companies that pay less than Equity Rates because they can afford to.

    It does not just affect the older actor though. As in the 1980s a Recession also means that young people who have no secure job will "have a go". They have nothing to lose.

    The vital spark that makes actors take the risk is missing and that is what makes the difference. Would they have become actors in a time of full employment?

    There have always been a few like the ones who deserve this casting but on the whole they would still be putting security first.

    • 20th Oct 2012
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  • John Eastman

    Actor

    Actor C really ought to take A and B down to the pub, and at least buy them a drink. Then A and B could find out what the hell he did that was so fantastic, and have a moan, and then maybe even 'stick the knife in' after he has gone..

    A: Rotten sod, he must have known the cd..

    B: Yeah, I think they just wanted some ugly geezer for this... prob good we didnt get it..

    This would achieve nothing, but give poor A and B some closure.

    Dont forget that 'amateur' stems from the word 'love', maybe C just loves what he does?

    Also this from wilk: an amateur may be in a position to approach a subject with an open mind (as a result of the lack of formal training) and in a financially disinterested manner.

    At least there's always the pub eh?

    • 21st Oct 2012
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    This scenario applies to all actors no matter what age they are (even us younger ones) and can also be applied to other professions. We all have to face the fact that on the day someone can walk in and be the preferred choice even though they have not invested the same blood, sweat, tears and money and as frustrating as may be it's the name of the game.

    • 21st Oct 2012
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  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    Actor C often doesn't know about the regularly low wages, the high subsistence costs, the personal travel responsibilities, having to sort out your own digs, can't do even basic stage make up, the long hours, the weird dressing room existence of changing in bizarre places in front of people, etc etc etc. it's when these problems appear to the less experienced actors that the poo hits the fan and it all gets very awkward because they see the business like the public see it "glamorous" and as anyone with any experience of the business often jokes it is far from glamorous as you are down to your pants with a radio mike taped to your face and body changing your tights in a dirty dark corner of the scene dock.

    • 21st Oct 2012
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  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    Radio mike? Who's he?

    • 21st Oct 2012
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  • Dan Gregory

    Actor

    Don't know but don't like them. I was trained (dirty word?) to project. I can be heard in the Gods of a thousand seat theatre without the bloody things and can't sing as well when I have to take my volume right down (lack of training?).

    I don't even much like miked sound when I'm in the audience.

    Remember once not being able to do a show when the communityb theatre manager didn't have seperate changing rooms for men & women! WTF?

    • 21st Oct 2012
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  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    Ooh I've gotta have a bit of reverb on my maniacal evil panto laugh :-)

    • 21st Oct 2012
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    I quite can't follow the point/direction of the original post....have I missed the point of this thread start maybe?

    At the end of audition, A & B & C are all on the same level playing field.

    Three actors all going for the same paid role....therefore..all three are professionals at the time.

    If all three are given a fair audition….what's A & B gotta worry about?

    If casting director or director select actor C for the role, what on earth are you going to do or protect? Not allow C to audition coz he has not trained or has not forked out for training or his experience. Come off it!! All you are trying to do is to go back to the closed shop days. Helloooo… those overtly restrictive days are gone....thank goodness!!!

    So...without closed shop, are you saying, only those with previous experience should be allowed to apply? WRONG....illegal...closed shop etc.

    Or are you saying/asking that directors and casting directors please consider first....those with experience/training whatever.....ahhhh...now we have a slightly fairer playing field perhaps.

    If our CV's were graded ie: Each job graded with a bonafide and simple rating system which shows at an instant the types of job an actors has done....then perhaps this offers a kind of "experienced" status over newer actors.

    To say that experienced/trained actors should and must only be considered before newer actors is restrictive, unsustainable and ridiculous. However, I'd be more than up for a system whereby a CV is graded...as I feel its gives the casting director or producers a clearer picture in an instant!

    It would also stop certain actors listing extra work as "featured roles" and or certain actors making up roles to pad out the CV. It would also stem the amount of actors willingly taking on unpaid work….and it would also stop the flood of producers and film makers not paying actors…if their project was graded accordingly. This gives those who pay or produce work which pays their crew and actors more credibility. If indeed that is the point of this thread?

    • 21st Oct 2012
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  • Dan Gregory

    Actor

    The best person should get the job regardless of experience but they should not undercut wages. As Mark says I have seen a lot a SA work on CVs as acting work but also some unaired confidentiality agreement pilots put on them as well.

    If you are good enough to get the work just join the Union though. It's a tax deduction as well.

    • 21st Oct 2012
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Here is another scenario! Actor C comes to me to edit in some footage from a TV ADD to his existing reel. He was heavily featured. Being nosey, I ask him if the add was good money! He says.. rubbish...£150 all in payment for 2 days. The role was a fully featured role in a large production add. I am furious and say he should have gone to Equity about this....but he is desperately worried that would single him out as a trouble maker....and he is also desperate for the work/footage. He had recently graduated, and it was his agent who put him up for the job.

    The point beimng all this does is undercut the more experienced actors and agents trying to make a living. It isn't obvioulsy a case that he was best for the role...as in our Actor C scenario...it was that he was willing to do it for the cheapest pay. That is where actors A & B need protection.

    • 21st Oct 2012
    • 18
  • David Vaughan Knight

    Actor

    Thanks for giving this your time and thoughts.

    Some seem a bit confused as to what the point of the post is. Well there isn't one really, it's just a hypothetical scenario with a question. I'm curious as to what the answers would be, that's all.

    One things for certain though.

    I can't draw some pictures of a house today, and then start working as an Architect tomorrow.

    I can't just buy some spanners and the following day start trading as a Plumber.

    Why can't I walk into any other trade or profession over night?

    Because they are protected by their own professional bodies, through training, education, working apprenticeships and probationary periods. This in turn maintains those vocations as professional. Any one is free to join but there are hoops to be negotiated.

    I suppose a question that seems to be emerging for me is this:

    Is acting a profession? Or is it just a free for all, success is the first one to the red carpet.

    For me it would be a shame if it is the latter.

    Because I believe acting to be an ancient and noble trade.

    • 21st Oct 2012
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