Massaging that CV: truth/lies - WHO CARES?

  • User Deleted

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    Should actors always tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to agents or potential employers, with regard to their television/film/stage work? I think so. Errors or downright lies on their CV, will, over time, catch up with those who massage their credits.

    My dad, Seamus Newham, got a surprise the other day when he read the profile of a former colleague. He works mainly as an actor; but in the past, and I'm going back to a period in the mid-seventies, he directed a number of plays, including a production of David Hare's: "Knuckle". The leading actor whom he cast in the role of 'Jenny', was just beginning her career, and being ambitious, subsequently, credited a more experienced director with that production.

    Is it possible that was just a hick-up in an otherwise unblemished work history? Well, my dad did notice another 'error' on that particular actors CV with regard to a production that he had no involvement!

    Now, more than thirty years later, with a lot of good stage credits to her name, the actor in question has not amended that inaccuracy with her current agent: Burnett Granger Associates.

    Is this normal practise that some actors are economical with the truth?

    • 10th Dec 2008
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  • Hugh Osborne

    Actor

    I agree, with the proviso that I think one should feel free to omit the work that one is not especially proud of.

    Hx

    PS Thanks for supplying enough clues to allow us all to rush to the Burnett Granger website and work out who the actress in question is...

    • 6th Dec 2008
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  • Dolidh Young

    Actor

    I went to a Marketing for Actors course with Nancy Bishop recently - it was mentioned that not all credits need to be put on a cv. She said to be picky with your credits on your profile - picking the cream of your performances.

    Although lying's never a good idea.

    • 6th Dec 2008
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  • Andrew Lawden

    Actor

    the problem these days , is that things can be checked more easlily on the internet , unless youn have them removed , but this can be tricky ! if you know where to look , you would be surprised what you can find! .

    Best thing is less is more ,and ask yourself ,what do you want the c.v to say about you ???

    • 7th Dec 2008
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    No you shouldnt lie...that's what i taught my kids!

    Your skills, accents etc...should be 100% truthful.

    About your credits: Tonight is a good example. I play the Grumpy Cab Driver in Little Dorrit. Nice handful of lines etc. Trouble is the part will be listed as just CABBIE. I often think this looks a bit weak on a CV in a casting Dir's eyes? ie; No actual name...makes it look no more than an extras role, when in actual fact it was won via auditition and it was actually quite a trickly little scene to play...lots of direction etc.

    So does one simply put CABBIE on the CV or perhaps make up a name?

    My decision has always to put down exactly what it was on the cast list....but I think I might put it down as GRUMPY CABBIE rather than just Cabbie.

    As for making up roles etc.....I don't do it....but I can understand why people do this. It's pretty shoddy practice though.

    Lies on a CV will always bite you on the bum in the end I think.

    • 7th Dec 2008
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  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    i know how you feel Mark, sometimes when a character doesn't have a name- you double think it.

    but I'd never lie on a cv. never

    • 7th Dec 2008
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  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    Mark, in your case you probably should write "co-star" instead of Cabbie (which will looks like extra). It's the American way to say one/off character with one or two scenes. All casting director will understand.

    I'm not sure what one would gain by writing the name of a different director. It was probably just a mistake.

    • 7th Dec 2008
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  • Dolidh Young

    Actor

    I believe in the UK - it's referred to as featured artiste. :)

    • 7th Dec 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Perhaps, although I was under the impression that to be 'featured' was actually to be an extra or walk-on who is paid above standard rate in order to be seen briefly (but significantly) on screen, rather than a specific, scripted part. But perhaps I'm wrong with this terminology.

    I often have exactly the same problem with my parts, Mark - I think it may be a byproduct of being a character actor, whereby the roles taken are very often archetypal and so not dignified with a name per se in the actual script (though, I agree, you can still have plenty of lines, significance and identity). Two other tricks that *might* make the role sound less like an extras part are:

    1. To preface the part, when listed, with a definite article : 'The Grumpy Cabbie' somehow sounds to me more of a specific character than 'Grumpy Cabbie'.

    2. To, perhaps, make the character definition more specific - I think you said elsewhere that you are playing Tom Courtenay's driver. What is his character's name? You can then list the part as 'Lord___so and so's/Mr.____whatever's cabdriver', which also seems more specific to my mind.

    If all else fails, though, IMDB will hopefully back up the validity of your role, as it doesn't list extras credits...

    • 7th Dec 2008
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Lies will always come back to bite you so stick to the truth always and be proud of what you have done rather than what you have pretended to do.

    Fine to omit lesser credits as you move up the "ladder of fame" but never "big up" or add ficticious ones. You will be found out and lose all credibility. Just my opinion but feel strongly about it.

    • 8th Dec 2008
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  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    Well Said Sasha.. was going to say the same thing :)

    • 8th Dec 2008
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  • Mark Joseph

    Actor

    Damn straight Sash.

    Lies = blacklisting.

    Omitting older weaker credits is standard practice. In fact, if you were to be taken on by a powerhouse agent, they probably reduce your CV to a tiny number, the credits that really hold weight with CD's.

    As I take it "featured" is simply terminology for a small part. It would be a role not necessarily with dialogue, but still auditioned and cast, as opposed to an extra/supporting role, where you are hired without audition. If you move the narrative forward in any way within a scene, you can consider it a supporting role. Leads/co-leads are clear enough.

    M.

    • 8th Dec 2008
    • 11
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Lies ALWAYS get found out.

    I was cast for the lead female for a film a couple of years ago and everything went ahead with shooting etc. And all was fine or so I thought.

    A couple of months after we'd finished filming, I had a call from a friend who had googled my name and the film in question and a different actresses name had appeared. So said friend went onto the actresses profile and personal web page to discover they had said they had played the lead and had written a paragraph or two about how great it was!!!! If that wasn't enough the actress concerned is a member on here and other casting sites and I remembered her from my audition! After a number of casual emails to her asking her to remove it she did but not after even more bull saying she had the part!!!! Er, I think I would know if she had had it and not me.

    Some people in this business are just plain foolish. And like a few of you have mentioned, in this day and age with the internet, liars can't hide...

    My case is rested x

    • 8th Dec 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    'In this day and age'...it's an interesting point...

    I note that the original post mentions the CV of an actor with false credits *from the 1970's*, and I think this throws an interesting sidelight onto this thread.

    At drama school, I remember being told by one of my tutors (a good actor, and a wise tutor both) about some of the ups and downs of his acting career, which had been at its height in the 60's and 70's. He told a variety of cautionary anecdotes about how, as a young man, he had frequently 'embellished the truth' about what skills he possessed, and ridiculous antics ensued on set when it was discovered that he, in fact, couldn't drive the motorbike, etc. that he had earlier claimed to be able to. It certainly provided him with some material for funny stories forty years later, but what struck me at the time, and still does, is that he doesn't seem to have got into severe trouble because of it. His career certainly didn't grind to a halt.

    Now, before anyone suggests that I am making the case for the fact that lying on your CV is unimportant, my point is actually how very different attitudes were in the industry thirty of forty years ago. I have met actors of that generation who almost seem to have felt it a *necessary* step to have been 'economic with the truth' on their CV's in order to get a first foot in the door as a stuggling actor. And, I suppose, this seems understandable: taking into account the fact that in those days, Equity was a closed shop (meaning you couldn't act profesisonally without an Equity card, but to get an Equity card, you had to have appeared in a certain number of Equity rate productions - so that actors being taken on surreptitiously and flouting Equity regulations was always happening). There are even stories of that era in which an actor was caught out by a wily director or casting director, found to be lying about a production they had been in, and their sheer chutzpah and determination in searching for the opportunity and bring themselves to the company's attention, won the casters over, and they got the job!

    I think what often happens when young actors of our generation lie on CV's is that they are taking a leaf out of the books of their own tutors, mentors etc. who tell them these kinds of stories about how you have to 'make your own luck' in the industry. But this is to ignore the fact that it is no longer the same industry, and all the 'sympathy' for any actor who is trying to 'embellish the truth' in order to get seen has evaporated. There are many reasons for this, but one of the major ones is that the industry now has far too many people in it looking for jobs - even a benevolent casting director does not want to have to feel the responsibility to help any 'actor in need' to get a break - their jobs are now rendered far easier if they are whittling down the number of suitable candidates, not increasing their number - so they look for any easy way to blacklist a name, dismiss it from their shortlisting, and a false credit is one obvious discrepancy they can pick up on. It labels you 'untrustworthy' and no-one wants an actor who can't be trusted nowadays - end of story.

    We also live in an age where wasted time is money, and where everyone is fearful for their own job security. You couldn't have a situation like the one my drama teacher told me about today which wouldn't prove absolutely ruinous for a career - were you to lie about skills you don't possess and then balls things up on set, you would probably be blacklisted for all time, as the sheer amount of money that would be riding on you getting things right is phenomenal compared to what it once would have been. You might not even get to the stage of being cast, as casting directors are now so anxious for their own next job that they simply cannot afford to take a chance on anyone they feel even remotely uncertain about.

    For all of these reasons, there is no longer any sense in lying on a CV - lies will be found out (because our databasing systems etc. are so much in advance of anything forty years ago), they will never stand you in good stead, but will serve as a stick that you can be beaten down with, and, what is more, modern casting directors will be more inclined to check and double-check any claims you make in the first place. This is partly because it is more than their own job is worth not to do this; it is also because there were less specialised casting directors around in the 60's and 70's. The job of the CD is to source actors, and make sure they are bona fide, primarily so the director doesn't have to worry about it. It was all very different thirty of forty years ago.

    • 8th Dec 2008
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    I'm at a disadvantage here in that I changed my name to Toni Brooks around April this year from Antoinette Sym so all the stuff I did prior to the name change is under that name. I can't see a way of putting - performing as after the credit so will just live with it I guess.

    • 8th Dec 2008
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  • User Deleted

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    Lee sums up the period of the 1970's very well, and the attitude of some actors during that time.

    The actor in question also states in her CV, that she performed Private Lives in ... and names the theatre. But this is contradicted in the director's biog. and the leading ladies current CV; both name a totally different venue where that production of Private Lives was staged.

    Is the whole thing not rather silly for the actor concerned?

    • 9th Dec 2008
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    I think the whole debate of lying on a CV highlights the utter desperation that some actors feel. It's a shame that they feel like that, but whilst I completely disapprove of CV lies....because of the way the business is, certain people find the need to lie! Its not just this business though- Builders lie, TV adverts tell us that XYZ Ltd offer the best broadband speeds, and in reality they don't, and so it goes on.

    However, anyone who lies about being able to ride a motorbike or play a guitar and then the production finds they are lying….should be struck off….however that could be achieved?! (thrown off the spotlight website?)

    If you are lying about credits…..once you have been found out, and you will, it will come back to embarrass you AND YOUR AGENT!!

    Anyone who is reading this and have put downright lies on their CV's should be very ashamed of themselves. You achieve your credits through hard work and your own ability.

    • 9th Dec 2008
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  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    i don't see how people can physically get away with it. the amount of times i have worked with the same people over and over.

    every time i start a new job, there is always someone who i either have worked with before, or i know.. its crazy! i just couldnt get away with lieing. everyone would know! lol

    • 9th Dec 2008
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    in regard to the lying about skills you have/do not have. I attended a work shop recently with a very well known castign director and her advice was that if they asked you to perform that skill/accent on the spot and you dont feel totally confident DONT put it on your CV, her reason was that how can you hold you keep your dignity knowing you have tried to fool them into giving you a job, they wont risk it again!

    • 9th Dec 2008
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  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    yeah Julia, I've been told the same thing. especially in regards to accents

    i mean, i could probably have a decent go at just about any accent, but I'm an not confident it would be 100% perfect, so i don't put it on my cv.

    • 9th Dec 2008
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