State of the industry, unhappiness and way forward

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hello all,

    I have read these forums and seen actors views and concerns and general unhappiness with 'the state of the industry'. I just wanted to give another point of view and hopefully some advice people will find helpful.

    with the bbc casting issues and breakdowns being held back.

    yes this is not ideal or fair. actors with our representation even most agents get some jobs held back. Please understand how hard a casting directors life is, 1000's of people for so many jobs in such little time. This is no different from any other industry, not only actors suffer this lot. If a top job in the city opens up it does not go to every Tom, Dick or Harry. It will go to people who went to Oxford or Cambridge or someone with a great C.V and relervant experience. Not every doctor on the nhs will be interviewed for the new opening as an Harley Street Sergeon.

    best thing to do is try and make sure you make your self suitable for as much as possible. your headshot is your best weapon, make sure you have one that fits every role you can play, have pictures of work you have done, show relevant experience. I also found most success when I put myself in a box, most actors avoid this and I see why but I tend to get cast as the nasty thug as I am an ex boxer from Bermondsey, this and character comedy roles, so my c.v. shows this and trys to exploit this area. It might make the difference as it is hard.

    with no pay/low pay. yes of course no one wants to do badly paid work, no one wants to struggle or work two jobs just to keep afloat. but it is a difficult industry. Few make it well the rest have to survive bit like sport some on millions most on peanuts. This is not ideal but it is the reality.

    Some views on here in my opinion are very narrow minded and very two faced (people saying they wont work for peanuts and everyone should refuse it then it is right there as a credit for 2014).

    Remember no producer wants to pay peanuts everyone wants to pay top dollar and get the best product. Of course some might be taking liberties so view each job as seperate no every low paid job is the same, not every situation is the same and not every low paid company is the same.

    Some low paid work does lead to bigger and better things, I have seen this many times with my clients and with my own production wing of the company.

    Also again consider the producer and everything that has to be paid for, fringe is great example, insureance (very dear), rehearsal space hire, cast, director, a.d, m.d., stage hand, costume guy, lighting and sound desgin, set desgin, techie, front of house, we lose money on card transactions, have to pay the v.a.t, theatre hire, wirters cut, composers cut, leaflet and poster desgin, then print then distribution all for a theatre that holds maybe 60 at £12.00 a ticket and generally sells to less than 45% capicity.

    Where is this money coming from arts funding? of course not this is at an all time low.

    the money comes from public interest, be this a top producer, crow funding, ticket sales. This comes from the one area that matters (Sadly) celebrity. A show with a name in it will generate more money, more interest more funding. Sad but true, so when these do come about names have to be put in them, then people moan all the work goes to famous names but we dont want the work that doesn't because the money is not there.

    Way round this, leave each to their own some might be able to go for profit share low paid others might not, neither is wrong. If you can do it, good experience, good for C.V chance to be seen and you never know where the job might lead and at the very least doing what we love, if I do a job and nothing comes from it I look at it like my football (i enjoyed doing it but it lead to nothing) however it always leads to something be it the director or actor or venue, a general understanding of the industry and ourselves as performers.

    Be proactive, be postive, yes it is hard and maybe unfair but we are here because we love it, that's why we are not bricklayers or cab drivers.

    Also support the industry. Link with other actors create a community. not one that strikes for equity or moans on these forums but one that supports other peoples work. On FB post everyones success stories and shows they are in. It costs money but try and support fringe venues, see new writing, just smile

    everytime we earn just £1.00 (yes we are worth more) we are getting paid to do a job that most people would pay to do, how many pay to be in am dram, how many pay for classes, every job is a class that you are not paying for.

    I'm not saying exploit actors I am an actor and agent that would be mental. I am just saying look at other side of the coin, be pro-active and try and be positive.

    I have struggled, I have been poor I have become dissiluioned and bitter, once I got through that I started doing what I am doing now and I am more successful as a result and help a lot of actors through my productions and my agency. If a poor dysleix ex boxer from a single parent family can do it why can't you?

    • 18th Jul 2014
    • 1892
    • 20
  • Luke Stevenson

    Actor

    It can be very uncomfortable for people, being confronted with information that contradicts their beliefs, especially if they have held those beliefs for a long time.

    It is very common for people to bat away new information as reflexively as blocking something being thrown at your head.

    In psychology, this is known as cognative dissonance.

    en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cognitive_dissonance

    You have to understand that it is very difficult for some people to concede in a discussion.

    In our culture, quite erroneously, being proved wrong is associated with failure.

    Your points will not be respectfully digested by all, but you are being heard. You talk sense.

    Reality is a constantly evolving, emergent process. All systems are in a constant state of change, and people align with the reality they know, and cling onto it because it's safe. The assumption is, if a system has been reliable in the past, it will continue to be reliable in the future. Can you appreciate how scary life would be otherwise? You can't expect people to repudiate everything they have learned over a lifetime. It just doesn't happen much. You might as well try and explain evolution to creationists.

    Good rule of thumb is if you are popular, you are probably wrong.

    • 15th Jul 2014
    • 1
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Luke you talk sense, I think it is important to try and show all sides and opinions (not saying I am %100 right or even right at all) but know a lot of people read these so hope some people will take something from this.

    I have always thought the biggest trouble with this industry is the lack of support from fellow actors, failure is echoed more than success, negitviy is spread more than postitivty. I think the number of views for negitive posts to this one might prove that.

    Not that the netiive posts are wrong or unfounded but people in the profession tend to cling to it more.

    I can not believe these forums are not covered with promotion guess what I am in posts, im doing this at the please come and see,

    I understand people put fears and doubts and talk about what they percive to be wrong on of course they should, I can understand why people come on here for advice and questions.

    I don't understand the lack of promotion and success stories on here, this is a forum for actors we are our industry it is us we should promote so please everyone who reads this if you are doing something be proud and put it on here I for one will try and support it. if you have done a great show with a great cast memeber or director put it on here spread the good word let people know about people doing good things.

    People always tell me about the bad auditions, I always tell them about my good performances (of which their have been at least five in my 20 odd year career).

    Luke is right some people are set in ways and have a certain mind set (right or wrong) but don't let that rule these forums. My favorite director always said smile love your an actor not a maths teacher. So more good news posts please more positive advice and more talk of who is great and to look out for

    • 15th Jul 2014
    • 2
  • Luke Stevenson

    Actor

    This is a great lecture on cultural lag

    m.youtube.com/watch?v=inU7lzc3lnE

    • 15th Jul 2014
    • 3
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    watched that with great interest Luke any chance the people who might need to watch it will?

    • 15th Jul 2014
    • 4
  • Luke Stevenson

    Actor

    The discussion on proper pay was utterly, transparently one sided.

    It will be patently obvious to anyone reading that you bent over backwards to sugarcoat your exposure of hypocrisy, and were generous when refering to the attributes of others.

    You didn't get anything near the same level of respect.

    • 15th Jul 2014
    • 5
  • Luke Stevenson

    Actor

    And no. Of course not.

    • 15th Jul 2014
    • 6
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    thank you glad that was easy to see, I never meant to offend or upset, I do think they was a slight arrogence and nasty side to some of the views and posts and anytime they put something that didnt add up and I called them on it asking for answer to solve problem I was ignored and personally attacked. It is bullying and when I have people ringing me in tears becuase of what is said i felt something had to be done.

    It would seem some actors over 40 who have paid their dues forget the jobs they were once grateful for and feel younger actors should not be giving a same chance, who cares if that stops young actors progressing, they deserve better for their craft (which may be true) but they will go after that no matter who they leave for dead in their wake!

    yeah I agree got a feeling that lecture wouldn't be recieved well even in watched by some

    • 16th Jul 2014
    • 7
  • Luke Stevenson

    Actor

    Unfortunately the vocal minority tend to dictate opinion.

    *Daily Mail*

    Your lone voice amongst the verbiage will be of great value to so many.

    Good work.

    • 16th Jul 2014
    • 8
  • Luke Stevenson

    Actor

    'Professional' is an attitude. Not a credential.

    • 16th Jul 2014
    • 9
  • Keith Hill

    Actor

    Gosh, you two are a breath of fresh air!

    The thing I confess that I find difficult is remembering to respect the cultural racket that's going on inside a) the heads of people who can't make sense of the world and feel powerless to change it, and, b) my head when I'm debating with them.

    I find that an awful lot of people come into our business horribly uneducated in how to think, and often about facts. My instinctive reaction (as subjective and likely wrong as it is) is that there are more in this business than any other of which I've been a part, possibly because entertainment is fantasised as a good occupation for the unacademic.

    What, though I have found is that the more one engages with those with whom one does not agree, the better one gets at making allowances and understanding where another view comes from, and if we as artists can't do that; really what would be the point of our jobs?

    • 16th Jul 2014
    • 10
  • Keith Hill

    Actor

    ..and, by the way, CRACKING REEL, Luke.

    • 16th Jul 2014
    • 11
  • Luke Stevenson

    Actor

    You just put a huge smile of my face.

    Thanks for your comments

    • 16th Jul 2014
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    the positive thing is they are the monority, even if they do voice things more than most, it is so nice to hear comments from people like you two who know the industry are experienced and talented. gives a better perspective of the world and offers encouragment and support which is what people in the industry need.

    it is hard but some people seem keen to make it sound harder and rather than offer support attack, belittle and moan (even if some do have points).

    I can not believe how some people are in the art of understanding and interepiting text yet fail to read or respond to what is there in black and white (either ignorance or arrogence in my opinion).

    And people who say actors must stand together yet are happy to belittle or attack those in the same industry and shut off to any opinion that doesn't match their own. One has even gone out of their way to make up an outragous lie to belittle myself and the people I represent, with support like that in the industry who needs enermies. Lets stand together but if they disagree lie to belittle someone. I use to work with little children and always find when they couldn't come up with sensible answer they would change subject, lie or go to the rediculas. Seems a little sad and uneducated that adults might do the same.

    Still I feel it is time the breath of fresh air comes out and the sensible people speak and let their voices be heard. I have had some many emails thanking me and saying well done due to the other forum. I was very happy to hear them and pleased but find it sad that it gets to the point where people feel the need to do so. I have said it before but if we all support proactively. If we all help and be friendly the community and profession will be a better place for it and those in the community might thrive rather than feel victimised.

    Lovely to read all your comments and hope the posivtive promotion and help continues. let people know these people are the minority and not the way forward

    • 16th Jul 2014
    • 13
  • Seth Daniels

    Actor

    Fantastic post. I myself spent a lot of years wondering why agents weren't getting me the "Paid" work, and what I didn't realise is how difficult it is for Everyone! Involved in this process.

    All I can say in support of this, is that since the beginning of this year, I have searched everyday through the endless amounts of castings paid and unpaid. From this, I have done a fair number of auditions, and though it have been turned down for many, and spent money traveling to unpaid auditions and not getting the part - which trust me is really the worst feeling - I have so far this year been cast as a lead in 3 separate short films.

    All unpaid, 2 have given expenses. All student films, from college to masters degrees. From this I have some great showreel footage which I have updated recently, which in itself has been getting me more notice from casting directors and leading to other projects. And I am acting a lot more then I ever did, through sending auditions or attending castings, to being in these projects.

    I am learning a lot, I am adapting my techniques and it seems to be working. Hey maybe I won't ever get a role that is paid good money, then again maybe my efforts will pay off. But what is true is that I feel good about where I am, what I am doing and where I am going. I have stopped blaming others, and I am taking my career into my own hands.

    • 16th Jul 2014
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Thank you Seth, you are the kind of people I am talking about and there are a few out there. Talented, Hardworking, Experienced but see the industry how I do.

    yes we would all like great pay but it is not always possible. Does that devalue you, I do not think so.

    As actors our main strength is to draw in experiences and every opportunity is an experience (even the bad as we learn from them). Has this work helped, course it has, it helps keep us sharp, it helps with development, I feel we never stop learning as actors/creatives. It leads to other opportunties and contacts and at the very least we enjoy performing so are thankful for that.

    I lost my role in a major west end musical to a boy band member, i then kept getting down to the last few to lose out, often to the better looking actor who maybe vocally wasn't as strong. I then couldnt get seen for any acting work due to training and credits. I couldn't get paid work (who would take a chance on me with my c.v. at the time I wouldn't) I was bitter and angry but then my mindset changed I become positive started writing which I have to say i have a flair for and with like minded people set up the company. We always support positivie people and are very pleased with the work we have done. There are two kinds of actor, and you are the kind who tries hard, stays positive and is proactive. In my opinion and from what I have seen it is the people like yourself that are going places and people like yourself that we look to work with. Keep up good work

    • 17th Jul 2014
    • 15
  • Seth Daniels

    Actor

    Do I smell another opportunity ha ha.

    Thanks mate, very kind of you to say, but you are completely right.

    I really believe the thousands of us that are in the ball pit struggling to be played with for a bit are there because we see our selves as an individual out to beat the rest. Though with most big jobs this is the case, the majority of the work as an actor needs to come from collaboration.

    How do we make money, well you do what you can live with. If you can live happily with being a waiter or working in a call centre, then do it, and with all your might, with all your spare time crack on with your passion. But you can be involved and get paid in this industry without having to work on coronation street.

    Teaching, TIE, theatre staff, these are all great jobs that can, as many on here have said, keep your skills sharp, adapt your abilities etc.

    I mean I earn a living as a Freddie Mercury Tribute artist. I've done it for nearly 6 years. Now let me tell you, the first few years I felt like there was a wall closing in on me, that I would be forever trapped in this world of buttons holiday camps and thompsons holiday resorts.

    But do you know what, doing it has allowed me a very flexible lifestyle - not only to have a family (a little boy nearly 1!!! If you'd like to know) but the time to search and audition and perform and be selective and take chances and have a little money to fund my obsession.

    Do I hate being called a tribute artist - YES! But when someone comes up to me after a gig and says, I saw Freddie in 86 and it was like being there again etc. I know why he feels like that, it's because I'm an Actor! And I did my job as an actor on stage in portraying a character.

    You can find fulfilment out there without giving up on your dreams. It's hard work, nothing worth it is easy. - that's been said way too much but what else can I say.

    Good luck to you all, and here's your first contact - my email.

    [email protected]

    Go do it!!!

    • 17th Jul 2014
    • 16
  • Adam Anouer

    Actor

    The industry in it's current state is a complete and utter shambles. So many Actors are overlooked and negligted for little to know reason it can really put a strain on the motivation to push forward and develop their talents. What makes it worse is that if you vocalise such worries this industry will use it to undermine your quality as if it never existed which is an absolute disgrace.

    I hear a lot of Casting Directors don't have a lot of free time which is understandable it's a difficult job no problem really. Where it gets weird is when a lot of them say "Invite us to see your show" which is a 2/3 hour process of seeing an Actors ability whereas if you were to invite actors to visit you at your own leisure then not only would it save travelling costs and time but then it would be 1 to 1 and you could test what you would actually want to see from them as well. In workshops it's entirely set at the pace of the CD which makes sense and it allows a lot more actors to be seen, surely this should be the standard?

    • 18th Jul 2014
    • 17
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    seth have made note of email, also massive respect for anyone who can carry of Murcury's amazing (and hard) vocals and amazing showman ship. He is my favortie and i think the greatest ever so always in ore of anyone who can pull it off in any form other than the shower (where I give it a crack)

    Adam, you make a lot of good points. I think (and could well be wrong) the reason they say invite to show is they make the assumption that if in something you will be of a resonable standard as someone else has cast you (almost as if the other person has done the vetting for them) the also get to see the arch of your characters journey and interaction with audience/other cast members. They also get to see the creatives and companies. I think certain cd's favor certain companies, directors and venues. this may be down to trust and again thinking the work would be of a standard.

    That said as you rightly point out 1-1 is quicker and you can be more specific to what you want to get from your actor for this certain job.

    Agree again with workshops and think a lot of great cd's offer great workshops and think this is a great idea.

    Again I always reccomend trying to get involved in fringe. I didnt do anything for four years when i got a part in fringe show, I was clueless at the time (had one good agent who did everything for me one bad agent who did nothing) but I didnt understand the industry. One actor got a lot of agents and cd's down and turned my life around.

    it is so hard to get 1-1's with out agent but do rate fringe as a good way to get a firm foot on ladder with agents and cd's I know I saw one actor in a fringe play the other week offered representation and managed to get this person 5 castings in three days (only just joint books) this person is very talented and proactive and gets lots of work himself but through this show got us and touch wood we are working really well together.

    Slightly different as not a casting director (other than shows I write myself) but i favor shows and they people have been cast for a reason, also gives me a chance to see directors and companies at work as well . and I enjoy the show (most times)

    this said I think equity are making good moves to make 1-1s more accessable which is the way forward and needs to be put in place

    • 18th Jul 2014
    • 18
  • Jeremy Randall

    Actor

    Do you know what mate,that is probably the best thing i have read on this here forum......positivity breeds positivity and that is a million miles away from the stereotype bleating of the whingeing actor who often haunts the very corridors of this here crying post!

    Absolute knockout!! Truth is everything!!

    • 20th Jul 2014
    • 19