CV | Sopporting Artist Credits?

  • User Deleted

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    Should I bother putting extra/Supporting artist jobs on my CV?

    • 10th Jan 2010
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  • User Deleted

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    Dylan ... vast difference 'twixt Supporting Artiste .. and Extra . !!!

    • 5th Jan 2010
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Allan is quite right - the only (basic) answer you will get to this from anyone working within the industry as actor, casting director, agent etc. is 'No, no, no, no, no!'.

    I don't wish this to belittle the quality of any supporting work you tend to do on a regular basis (if that's the case) - the industry standard is simply to draw up a separate CV for your work as a walk-on artist and use this to generate further commissions in the walk-on field for yourself, whilst keeping your straight acting CV distinct. This actually tends to make you seem more professionally minded on both sides - not only those casting acting roles, but those who are promoting you for walk-on work appreciate the distinction, because they are all in the game of making sure that they provide the most appropriate sounding services to those who ask for their expertise.

    If you have just done the odd walk - on or two for experiences' sake, and would like to place it on the CV to bulk it up, the general advice is not to bother - it is difficult to make an 'extra' part look impressive to those with an eye for detail, who may examine your CV - though the temptation is often because these credits can link you to more 'high profile' productions than some of the other work you pick up, to list the casting. But a distinction is drawn by casting directors between roles you have had to audition for, and those that were just allowed you 'on spec' (which is how most walk on casting works).

    There is certainly a thin line, where an actor can take on scenes which amount to a very small number of lines or airtime in a screen project, but still gain a credit - essentially any character identified in the script, who is given dialogue, will ultimately end up in the cast list, however, and is considered 'cast'. Equally, some characters are quite sizeable parts (I have played some myself), but sound curiously minor because they aren't technically named as such - many is the low budget in which the main leads are called e.g. 'Man' or 'Woman', which doesn't always read impressively on the CV! - still, you should always that the character was a significant, identifiable part before listing it.

    Interestingly, 'extras' parts are sometimes listed more easily on resources like IMDB, and this seems to be held to be less of an issue (perhaps because IMDB serves as a database of record, and is not considered to be your 'personal application' for a job), but even these tend to be subject to the production company's confirmation - once again, many minor sounding parts - 'First Security Officer', 'Main Henchman' etc. were referenced in the shooting script and given at least one line in formalised dialogue and so read as 'cast' - many walk on roles are listed as 'uncredited', which gives the immediate clue to the fact that the 'role' was, in fact, support work.

    Things like work in music videos and commercials are often a grey area, it must be said, because frequently these jobs pay well, and may even be actively got for you by an agent, but may not require much more of you than the ability to perform like an extra on set (some, it is true, demand much more extensive acting, and, in essence, feature you in 'lead' parts). With these, I think the judgement call has to be whether you feel yourself that your involvement with the project constituted a substantial role or not.

    Very occasionally, also, you can do a walk on role that may be promoted to a more significant status within the film, TV show, commercial than was initially envisaged - this *may* be worth listing if you know for a fact that you were given some decent screen time or even a line or two in doing it - though you may not receive an end credit in the long run, and would (presumably) be IMDB listed as 'uncredited'.

    Hope that's useful advice - the division is not *always* as clear cut as we'd like - but, when in doubt, leave it out!

    • 5th Jan 2010
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  • User Deleted

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    No - don't list extra/SA work on a serious "I-want-a-decent-part" CV. I have done background and walk-on work for the money, but don't list it on my CV as it's generally considered detrimental to you. People assume that if you do background it's because you can't act. And most of the time it is!!

    However, I started off doing background and then got cocky and asked my agency to put me forward for small speaking parts, proved I really could act and then was submitted for decent parts and made my way on to Spotlight that way. I applied independently for auditions for decent, mainstream TV productions and have been brazen in my applications. Stick to stuff that will prove you to be discerning, professional and talented. (And do the background work to get the money in - Casualty used to be great if you got a run on that!!)

    • 5th Jan 2010
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  • User Deleted

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    Vanessa ... does that mean that they will be removing the ' Best Supporting Actor ' category from the Oscars ????

    • 5th Jan 2010
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  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    Allan,

    I think you are confusing Supporting Artist with Supporting role.

    The first is an extra, the second a principal role (several scenes in a movie; a one scene with lines would be called "day player" or "featured" which can also lead to confusion).

    This terminology is annoying because it's so easy to confuse.

    Basically: extra/walk on/suporting Artist work does not go onto an actor's CV.

    • 6th Jan 2010
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  • User Deleted

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    Gee .... after 45 years in the business, you can still learn something new.... amazing !!!.

    • 6th Jan 2010
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  • Mike Henley

    Actor

    Lee has it right - the rule of thumb is that you only put work on your CV that you have auditioned for.

    • 6th Jan 2010
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  • Katharine Kavanagh

    Actor

    yeah, allan, I think they changed the title of 'extras' roles to 'supporting artists' a few years ago on the back of the whole 'political correctness gone mad' movement.

    Extra sounds demeaning apparently...

    ;o)

    • 6th Jan 2010
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    That is probably true - certainly, Equity now support 'Walks-ons and Supporting Artists', rather than 'extras'. It may have been held that being called an 'extra' makes you sound 'surplus to requirements' (although I seem to recollect also a discussion that revolved around the fact that 'extras' were originally called that because they were generally professional actors who stood in in order to earn a little 'extra' money on the side? Certainly, the majority today are *not*, in fact, actors in any way, shape, manner or form - and maybe it was actually felt that this needed to be a term that was reconsidered accordingly!) A benefit of the re-branding is that it means that even supporting artists gain a better sense of their collegiate status and so

    are held to a higher standard of professionalism than they might otherwise be (it also ensures, if they are members of Equity, that they are paid solidly for the work and effort they put in). The downside to it is that it may well have given many supporting artists too many airs and graces about what they are actually contributing to the production - which might be why so many try and pass themselves off as mainstream 'actors' on the basis of very nondescript 'walk-on' credits (whilst some 'walk-on' work is suprisingly meaty, being a hat bobbing in the background as the main characters pass by having a conversation does not an actor make!).

    This is not, of course, to say that someone who does 'walk on' work cannot get a taste for acting, and go on to win genuine acting jobs for themselves, or that some actors keep 'walk on' work available as a stopgap when they aren't earning enough from mainstream acting. But the basic distinction between the two types of performance always has to be - an actor auditions for a part, and is required to make decisions on how to embody a distinct character that is not themselves (however briefly they are actually featured in the final project, or even if they end up cut from the piece), and a 'walk-on' artist doesn't. That's all there is to it, basically.

    There are certainly some extensive non-speaking parts available in commercials, music videos etc. but these will generally be considered 'featured', pay a higher daily rate than 'walk-on'/'support' work, and are often auditioned for, and so tend to go to mainstream actors, unless very particular skill sets or looks are required.

    It should never be forgotten, though, that another major distinction (and this, I suspect, is why casting directors and agents are so suspicious of those who maintain that 'walk-on' credits equate to acting credits) is that 'walk-ons' are, by default, not intended to be seen. If they are too prominent, they serve to detract from the action, rather than enhance it. A large part of an actor's appeal (or suitability) is precisely that they are cast because they look a certain way, behave in a certain way etc. etc. Whilst there may be a certain 'snobbery' about the way in which most casting directors and agents denigrate 'walk-on' credits, there is also the prefectly valid suspicion of any performer who claims to be castable and yet has never won an actual audition or been cast on the basis of their own particular look and manner (which is to say, the fact that they can act). This is really why the two types of credit should never be mixed.

    As to 'supporting role' and 'supporting artist', the distinction does make sense. A 'supporting role' is precisely that - a 'role' - an interpreted part. Of course, even a 'supporting role' is considered to be, in essence, at the level of co-star billing. Minor roles tend to be referred to (as Claire suggested) as 'featured' (certainly in the States - where you will find that resumes for screen work do not generally state the part played, but simply define whether the part was either lead, supporting, or featured). A 'supporting artist' is, evidently, an 'artist' who works in 'support' - there is no mention of any roles being taken on here.

    • 6th Jan 2010
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  • User Deleted

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    Succinct Lee ... bang on the button !!.

    • 6th Jan 2010
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  • Hugh Osborne

    Actor

    Interesting use of the word 'succinct', there. Happy New Year, all!

    • 6th Jan 2010
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  • User Deleted

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    Slight tongue in cheek Hugh ... nevertheless, our Lee was on the money !!!

    • 6th Jan 2010
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    For me, it may have been succinct!

    • 6th Jan 2010
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Ever noticed my Spotlight CV is much MUCH smaller than my CCP profile? Funny that!

    • 7th Jan 2010
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  • Emily Clare

    Actor

    Don't know if it helps, but I got my CV sorted through an online company (www.watersandwhitecv.co.uk) and they were really helpful. They can tell you what to put (and what not to) on your acting cv, I got some really good advice. Emily xx

    • 10th Jan 2010
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