Students - what are they on?

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    A friend of mine went up for a student film. She was sent a copy of the script for a 7min film.

    During the casting she was given a page of dialougue written especially for the casting concerning her part and a new charater - ie. a new scene all unseen.

    She perfomed it and was then asked what she thought the relationship was to the newcharacter - the new character wasnt in the script she had been sent and this was a sight reading of 1 page only! She said he'd need to see more of the script to understand their relationship.

    She was also asked what her views of the films central theme were - terrorism. Given she wasnt being paid, her approach to this project was to turn up, do a bit of work and go home. She wasnt going to spend weeks mulling over the broader meanings and doing insightful character study. It was an unpaid 7 min film.

    Needless to say she was taken aback and left thinking "do I really need to jump though all these hoops for some students who arent paying me?"

    She asked them how much experience they had - they said "loads" - turns out they were second year students. She'd been in the business (trained) for 25 years.

    What do you think about it? My friend was taken aback by how intense they were.

    Why do students assume its something bigger than a simple unpaid gig - you aint gonna get much preparation or dedication from your actor when thats all you're offering.

    • 15th Mar 2007
    • 5451
    • 79
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    i think they are just trying to impress her

    dont let her get too worried about it. it would be probably good material for her to use if it works

    but they are second year students, in my experience the filmmaking students only start working with actors in their 2nd year. so it could be their first "proper" film, they just wanna impress actors. especially if they have good cvs

    • 3rd Mar 2007
    • 1
  • Jason Haigh

    Actor

    Hi Claude,

    I totally understand what you are saying.There definately seems to be a lack of perspective or awareness of the experience of the actor or indeed how the whole audition process for professional actors works when dealing with student film-makers.Allow me to site an example.

    Recently i went for an audition for a student film (though this site ironically).The original posting didn't say it was a student film.So off i trot to Regent St to find the address is Westminster University.A few alarm bells start to ring!

    The receptionist tells me where i need to go and i head in that direction twenty minutes early (Be prepared and all that).I find the room and peer through te glass to see three very young men going through a casting with another applicant.So being respectful to the other actor i disappear unseen back down the hall.Why? Because there was no allocated waiting area,no indication that this was the room and these were the students you were supposed to be auditioning for.In fact lets face it no organisation at all to receive potential candidates.

    Eventually at my allotted time i knock on the door.Someone comes to the door and says they will be with me shortly.So off i wander back down the hall.

    The audition itself lasted an hour and a half.This involved discussing the character,reading the whole script pertaining to your character several different ways and then doing exactly the same but on its feet.This you had to do with the so called producer (Some 18 yrs old whose voice hadn't quite broken)Who couldn't feed you anything to work with if his life depended on it.

    So the bottom line is that i gave up a whole days paid work to go and show them the pitfalls of their script and how it could potentially look with a real actor playing the role.All in the hope that i can then give up another few days paid work to go and act in a final grad show peice of work for maybe £30 a day.Did i miss a meeting or oversleep and Tony Blair has brought back slavery whilst my mind was aimlessly wandering.

    Whoever is that desperate to work or is so anxious for their fifteen minutes good luck.I however did not train at one of the leading drama schools in the country and come out with considerable debt to go backwards in my career and satisfy some dreamers fantasy.Of course they maybe the next Anthony Mingella.In which case when you've made it give me a call.

    • 3rd Mar 2007
    • 2
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Don't take this as arrogant, but I don't, as a rule, audition for student productions unless a) I "really" like the script, b) I'm in the area anyway and c) I have absolutely nothing better to do with my time and I all treat auditions for unpaid work as an opportunity to interview the filmmakers and judge wether or not I'm going to get anything out of the whole excercise.

    Always remember that as student filmakers it may well be the first time they've come into contact with us actors and are sometimes more intimidated by the whole process than you are. We've done it all before remember.

    ForbesKB

    • 3rd Mar 2007
    • 3
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hm, charitable view there. I'm afraid a lot of them are also on a bit of a power trip. Kids this young having employment jurisdiction over another human being, often many years older than them, imagining the award-winning director they are certain they'll be in the future...we actors are part of the training process in more ways than that of making their script come alive. Let's hope that they learn pretty quickly.

    • 3rd Mar 2007
    • 4
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    i know what you are saying about it feeling like you are "going backwards", but sometimes, as forbes said, if you aint doing anything else then you may as well do it!

    im so trying to not do any more student films unless i cant find anything else. i wanna go up the ladder, not down it.

    its sometimes good stuff for showreels too!

    there was one application i was quite annoyed at and even dropped out of, it didnt advertise it was a student film and even said in their initial email to me that it was a "feature production". it wasnt just cos it was a student film why i dropped out, there was loads of reasons. but it was very wrong of them to "trick" actors in attending the audition and even start filming scenes before the actors discovering (only by asking) that it was only a short student film. and probably wouldnt even go to any screenings or anything :-(

    ah well, as i said, they are ok for showreels sometimes and its still acting. fills any gaps, just like extra work. and its all building your cv up and up, so when you get the bigger roles you feel like you have earned it more! LOL

    (yeah nathan, keep telling yourself that!)

    • 4th Mar 2007
    • 5
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    and as well!

    i have also made some great friends through working in some student films, some of them who are moving on through the industry now and its good to keep in touch with

    • 4th Mar 2007
    • 6
  • Denise Channing

    Actor

    10 years from now, these students will be laughing at their own arrogance in their youth. Especially the few who stick with film. It's amazing how many film school graduates end up elsewhere.

    Well, maybe not actually. Watching one of my friends with a film studies degree turn to teaching (not even teaching film) leaves me scratching my head and wondering why. But when you look at it, it's probably an easier life. You have to be obsessive to want to make films.

    G

    • 5th Mar 2007
    • 7
  • Daniel Latham

    Actor

    ok then i have read the points and i do agree with most of the views, but i would also like to play devils advocate and say that if we as actors have chosen to be involved in a students film then really that student should be allowed to test his or her craft however they see fit.

    If a film is being made and the director wants to put their vision across in a certain way then sureley this should be there choice, i am taking the initial post as my argument that the director possibly should not have asked the actor what they thought and that we should just turn up and do what is asked of us...you see these students could be the P T Andersons of tomorow and yes i am sure a lot of student film makers do drop out and decide not to persue this chosen career but that can be said of actors i know hundreds of actors that are no longer plying there craft.

    • 5th Mar 2007
    • 8
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    I went for an audition for a student film the other day - simply because the script called for someone my age who is part of a bank heist team - NOT A MOTHER playing a fourth fiddle foil to the lead who's undergoing some crisis or other! Breath of fresh air and the script is really good too. Don't know if I'll get it and if I don't nothing's lost really but it was so good to do something different!

    • 5th Mar 2007
    • 9
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Zippy,

    >>>really that student should be allowed to test his or her craft however they see fit.>>>

    Have to disagree with that, if you're not paying anyone then it sets limits on what you can expect (and deliver).

    Remeber these are people who are still in learning. They are unsure of their capabilities, if there was money involved, and contracts, and insurance, and safety and fire protection then maybe you could meet your actors months before, introduce them to the writer, tailor some aspects etc. But students arent in that league and a degree oif reverence for all parties is required.

    • 5th Mar 2007
    • 10
  • Daniel Latham

    Actor

    Claude

    I do understand what you are saying and on many points i agree, i just think that if you as an actor accept to work with someone be it student, tv or proffesional film director you are being involved in their project, in their vision and yes some may fall at the first hurdle, but i dont think it fair for us to put certain holds on how they want to see out that vision.

    if you as an actor decide to work on a student film you buy into what this means and more often than not that means little or no pay...but you have made that choice to become involved...you can just as easily say no.

    • 5th Mar 2007
    • 11
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    I've just been asked to audition for a student film and in the invitation they declared up front that they would NOT be paying any expenses for the filming dates which would be up in Lincoln! They did however statethey would help with researching the cheapest travel options! How very magnanimous.

    Needless to say, I declined and advised them that we actors to not invest our cash in student productions...It time & talent only I'm afraid!

    I sometimes wonder what they guys are actually been taught at these media courses that seem to be springing up all over the country...is it purely the technical aspects of filmaking as it seems to me they these guys in particular have absolutey no idea how to raise funding and manage a budget.

    Prioritise. A few less snakebites of an evening and they would have at least the travel budget!!

    Grrrrrr.

    ForbesKB

    • 6th Mar 2007
    • 12
  • Denise Channing

    Actor

    This is true, my friends who have done film school have long since confirmed to me that there is no proper training on this.

    Had to giggle at this one, I was asked to do some public speaking up North just a couple months ago. The young organiser said that speakers were given free camping. No fee, no expenses. It would have cost me nearly £100 to go camping, which I don't really enjoy. I was at least able to tell him that I had to give up public speaking because of the film, which is true. He'll have to work out for himself why he gets few if any speakers.

    G

    • 6th Mar 2007
    • 13
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    oh you are so right Forbes.

    there have been "expenses only" productions i have worked on, and at the end of production they havent given me my expenses. i wasnt that fussed really, but as you say... nearly every day at the end of filming i coudl hear them all arranging to go out that night. you know i dont ask for many expenses! i was in the area anyway! it would only have been a quid or two bus pass or something!

    • 6th Mar 2007
    • 14
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    As my lovely mum would have said "It's a matter of principle."

    • 6th Mar 2007
    • 15
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    As a student myself, may i say that for a group of say four students to raise the budget to shoot a 20 min short film, is very hard!

    Especially when we are, to quote Forbes "up in Lincoln!". We intend to offend no one by not offering expenses, but the fact remains that it is near impossible to get a good degree if all our money is going on actors, so we rely on the actors who are willing to make the sacrifice in order to be in the film.

    I am not the kind of student who goes out alot, i am on my way to gaining a 1st class degree, and this is due to my professionalism and dedication.

    We have invested £1000 in our project in order to secure good locations and vehicles, and maintain an excellent working environment.

    I defy anyone to get find cash a small budget to pay all of the expenses for all their actors whilst acheiving the visual results we do.

    • 6th Mar 2007
    • 16
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I do understand what you're saying and agree with some of it, power to the actor I might add. But I would take on any role seriously and detail the character with as much relevant color as possable no matter if I'm being paid for it or not. So I wouldn't nessecarily consider it an insult to be asked character questions at an audition. Isn't that a standard part of any actors process anyway?

    • 6th Mar 2007
    • 17
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I feel the need to contribute to this seeing as how 'Student films' seem to be the only acting work around at the moment. Yes we are all actors because of our love for it and not because of the money BUT would an accountant/doctor etc etc, work unpaid, just because they feel they might learn something from it or because there was no other option avaliable? Probably not. People know that actors have to act (we just do, its in our blood) which is why they can get away with not paying us! and not only that, we still have to go through an often grueling audition process and they can be as snooty as they like because unfortunatly, we are ten a penny! I think that if all actors refused to do unpaid work, gradually universities would sort out larger budgets or spend less on locations or props and be able to pay the actors. After all didnt someone once say, 'all that is needed for acting is bare boards and passion'!

    I shall get off my soap box now, over and out. Lucia x

    • 6th Mar 2007
    • 18
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    >>>After all didnt someone once say, 'all that is needed for acting is bare boards and passion'!<<<

    Maybe someone did, but it would make a terrible film!

    • 6th Mar 2007
    • 19