SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE. SIGH

  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    So,

    I finish a student film a while back, and guess what? I call them and text them about the copy that they need to give me, and they hang up on me on the phone!

    How have people dealt with this when the students dont cough up?

    Apart from breaking of kneecaps and maiming of course...as tempting as it is.....

    • 10th Jan 2007
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    It sounds obvious but take your own contract (shooting people have one to down load)get them to sign it and all the telephone numbers for the college or university. If you don't get any joy by being polite then get heavy and eventually phone the college and that should achieve results. I have had problems getting copies on time but I have always got them in the end. Often to be disappointed in the results I'm afraid though!! I can email you a copy of the contract if you send me your email address. Hope this helps. Amanda

    • 5th Dec 2006
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Thats the scary thing. I did make them sign a contract. And they seem to be taking the piss...

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 2
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Have you tried phoning the University and asking for their tutor?

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 3
  • Lucy Perkins

    Actor

    Poor you, that's really bad luck but all too common unfortunately. Definitely speak with the college and explain that you will do everything to have the students/college blacklisted etc if they're not agreeable.

    Go for the jugular!

    Lx

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 4
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    They just called me back and said they will have it in two weeks for me, and also that they6 were in a class and thats why they hung up. Thats fine.

    But I do seem to be very suspicious about student films....

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 5
  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    It depends which school it was, too.

    I usually phone up and ask the tutors to provide a copy.

    If it was a school that has agreed to pay Equity rates, then speak to Equity. Sometimes a call from someone high up can help.

    It's a shame more of these schools don't take this behaviour seriously : they're teaching a generation of filmmakers not to respect their actors.

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 6
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Lets organise a group of actors to "teach" them a lesson..heh hehe heh....

    Just joking.... Im usually quite a gentle soul....until people annoy me..then I go red and become the Incredible Beetroot.

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 7
  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    Is it a bird?

    Is it a plane?

    No!

    It's The Incredible Beetroot!

    It's a perennial problem... my only way round it was to stop doing them...

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hey Blake,

    Had a similar problem and ended up talking to the film tutor...it took about 3 or 4 phone calls but then they eventually made me a copy after I threatened to pull my name from the film - therefore no final film project!

    Feel a bit cruel...but when you've given 3 free days u kinda expect a little professionalism

    Good luck!

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 9
  • Leila Reid

    Actor

    All the films I have done they have made me sign a contract saying that they can use my face and my voice to basically pass there course. If you go online and then find the number of the tutor and then call the tutor because when they advertise they are offerring you the dvd as payment so technically they havn't paid you so if you get in contact with the tutor you could threaten to with drawn ur services which means that they can't use the film towards passing the course which is a big problem!!!

    Basically there just being arrogant and stuck up. I mean how long does it take to burn a copy of the film on to DVD? er about 30 seconds!

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 10
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Harsh, but fair, Alex.

    Never trust 'You will get a guaranteed copy of the DVD' any more than 'This profit share venture is going to make money.'

    Why are student film makers such a menace? Basically, I think, because they are making films as a course requirement, not as a personal labour of love (let alone a professional product!). Sometimes, student interest in a course requirement isn't great - they are working on sufferance - and they've been taught how to produce polite letters/invites by their tutors to get actors interested, but their long - term concerns with the project are minimal. Frankly, once it's in the can, they're done with it. And, if the tutors thought it was crap, they won't necessarily want to even be reminded they've done it. They're generally secretly hoping you'll go away once the filming's done, and not bother them again because they've now got exams to revise for (or something). But if you pester them long and loud enough, they might burn you a copy just to get you off their back. And are their tutors highly sympathetic to the actors lot? Hardly - they consider your problems none of their business.

    Equally, given the incredibly variable quality of what student films are actually like (I know everyone likes to *think* they're the next Kubrick), is it always worth chasing the damn things up? They're more likely to undermine your show reel most of the time. Still, I can agree that until you see the goods, you can't judge that.

    • 5th Dec 2006
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Alex,

    The harsh truth, but I cant help but agree...

    there is another saying.. I am too old a cat to be scratched by kittens....

    • 5th Dec 2006
    • 12
  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    I have to add- as I don't want to gripe anymore (they're not auditioning for grumpy old women at the moment), but my solution was to strike a deal with a good filmmaker (I'd seen his work) in exchange for working on a couple of films for free (and giving professional advice to the other actors, or the editing) he made me bespoke films for use on my showreel. I'm sure that those peices shine out (and i've had a lot of feedback about them from casting directors) much more than the student films I had to sweat blood for!

    Just a thought- if you're sick of student films, start looking for better filmmakers to collaborate...

    • 6th Dec 2006
    • 13
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    If you are having problems getting copies of your work with film school students then I suggest that you follow the Leeds and District General Branch initiative.

    The first step is to meet with the Head of School and top Tutors. By making a good relationship with them you can introduce a set of good working practices.

    These include working on Equity Student Film contracts, setting up a database of actors willing to do student films, showreel editing for free or small cost, and a database of all the films the school produces so that they can be copied if need be for the actors involved. It also should include a feedback form for the actors to complete with name and address, production and director, producer and tutor name. These then go toward their assessments.

    By making this arrangement work the new directors and producers get a feel for working with actors.

    This is what we have introduced in Leeds by patient understanding and the brilliant insight of the Head Tutors.

    They have also made me an Associate Tutor to allow me to visit productions on site and ensure that things are running smoothly from the actors point of view.

    • 7th Dec 2006
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Blake,

    I can only empathise with your situation. I'm still ot sure what the value is of doing student movies unless of course you have very little camera work. In my experience most of these students are more concerned about where the camera goes and usaly have a very clear idea of how they want actors to 'act' out their scripts. They invariably get caught up in getting their projects completed and in the cold light of day, once they complete that, the last thing on their minds is satisfying some agreement they had, with some guy they barely remember, all those weeks ago.

    Tony

    • 7th Dec 2006
    • 15
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Alan, it sounds like you've done some sterling work there - great advice...although it probably helps that you can go to the School as a representative of Equity and ask for better working conditions! Not all of us have quite so much 'pull'.

    Tony, I agree with your comments. And I wonder if this is what you meant. While I have no particular need to justify what film students get up to, I *do* think we, as actors, can spend a lot of time pontificating about how amateurishly student directors/filmmakers treat us, without ever seeing what's going on from their point of view. If we understand better why what is so is so, then I think we only have ourselves to blame if we came on - board expecting anything better.

    The reason, surely, that many a student film maker is more interesed in where the camera goes, and that the actor ends up in the 'right place', is because they are students trying to fulfil a course requirement. I have never been on a film directing course, but I have been a university tutor, and I can take a guess at how the coursework works. The situation will be something like - 2nd year project - you are required to get together a basic team (writer, director, DoP etc.), craft a scenario for two actors with appropriate levels of 'high stakes' tension between characters, set in one location, and no longer than three minutes duration. You will be required to show that you have mastery of basic screenwriting skills, are able to get basic shots in categories such as long - shot, matching over the shoulder shot and close - ups, and edit the piece together convincingly. etc. Something like that.

    And so, that's all the 'filming' will amount to - get the shots right, get the actors to help you get the shots right, get it edited right. Coursework requirement done. Selecting the 'right' actors is not *that* important, getting a fantastic script together is not *that* important (so long as it does its job), creating convincing characters is not *that* important, getting compositions brilliantly lit and set is not *that* important. It's meat and potatoes stuff, and that (no doubt) is how many of the students see it - they'll be developing the actual film they want to make at home, in between lessons, so that they can start getting it made once they've qualified.

    So, when we as actors go to a student course project with the expectation that this is 'proper' film work, I think we're kidding ourselves. That's not to say we shouldn't take part - we can always learn new tricks for the screen by acting on camera, we can (maybe) strike up rapports with directors who will one day remember us when time comes round for their feature debut. But this film making is just means to an end.

    The other point is, much of this stuff isn't great for showreel because it's not put together with much imagination. But why would it be, if my course tutor has told me I need to get a certain number of types of shot into the composition, and others aren't relevant?

    A low - budget feature, in contrast, may not pay you any money, and may not even turn very good, but you always know that the director has some kind of 'artistic control' over the product, and it will stand or fall depending on that director's abilities.

    • 7th Dec 2006
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    They have called and said it will be two weeks before the print is ready. I am okay with that, but the thing is that in many ways, I had to bleed them in order to get a contract signed and had to become a professional bastard. I dont like being a professional bastard as an actor, and the thing is that one tends to be really harsh with them becasue we all hear stories.

    • 7th Dec 2006
    • 17
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Well, I say good for you, Blake. At least you're getting something sorted.

    Is there anything more I could possibly add?

    Well, one thing (groan!). I do think another complication with student films is age gaps. While some of the people using this site are, no doubt, hardly ancients themselves, I find that the majority are aged anything from late 20's onwards. With (very rare) exceptions, most undergraduate students are 18 - 21 and that's pretty young.

    For this reason, I think it's common to find a student director getting intimdated by the simple fact that you are, in fact, several years older than they are. They also seem to get intimidated by the fact that you have a real job (that must be a first for people who meet actors!). And, really, if they're intimidated, even if they are potentially the next Spielberg (which they probably aren't), you'd be hard pressed to get much out of them. They won't make proper eye contact with you, sometimes, don't like to discuss 'real world' things like equity rates, and all too often have absolutely no desire to direct you in any way, not because they've got the scene nailed just so, but because they're underconfident in their own abilities. If putting the phone down on you because you've rung them during a lecture seems a bit of a childish reaction...well, I think you've guessed my point. The other alternative (which may be even worse) is a 19 year old who thinks they know everything there is to know about film - making. They may prove insufferable to work with, because they'll ride roughshod over any contribution you'd like to make, as they haven't yet learnt the benefits of compromise.

    Not that working with some antiquated director is necessarily better, of course (those guys tend to be very stubborn and set in their ways), but experience always gets enriched with age, for better or worse. (Probably better in the case of directing).

    Equally, I tend to think student flm themes are often a bit ropey because of this age thing. The better ones may be well written, basic domestic dramas, though they don't have much grasp on the sort of relationships that, well, your average 20 year old wouldn't understand. (Lots written about affairs and unwanted pregnancies, not many on divorce - write what you know). Other stuff includes the ones which are 'ambiguous' - where you're never told who the woman and the man really are, where their encounter takes place, why etc. This is probably meant to come over as all noirish and clever, but, frankly, is impossible to act as there's no meat to the actual story. Then there are the ones which include things like a transvestite dressed as a nun daubed in paint undergoing a frontal lobotomy because it's supposed to be giving out a message that is unconventional and challenging. To under 21's, at least.

    Again, perhaps problems that journeymen writers of any age could make with their scripts, but not, I think, the sort of thing that turns up in the work of a writer who has had plays put on, garnered critical reception for a screenplay etc.

    So to sum up, Blake, if you feel like a harsh bastard, I say it's because these guys are behaving like kids! They're allowing you to boss them around because they'd rather not take responsibility for themselves. Don't feel bad about it.

    • 7th Dec 2006
    • 18
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    I agree Lee. I think the older one gets, the less tolerant one can become and while I am learning to slowly make allowances for young people, it is also that they need to know that the world does not revolve around them as self absorbtion is highly common with many people that age.

    Technically, they should have called ME about the delay. Not me having to chase them via a text and then call.

    • 7th Dec 2006
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