Students - what are they on?

  • User Deleted

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    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
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    There seems to be a great deal of contra-speak here.

    We do not just work in this job because we love it. We also work to earn sufficient to eat, cover our heads, keep warm etc. We are not ten-a-penny. We are, by and large trained professional actors. That training cost us money to achieve. Just as the directors, producers and cameramne of the future are doing now. Ask any of my tutors if the would allow me to train for nothing. Then use the same answer to those who would devalue my hard work and even expect me to pay for their training. Answer 'BIG NO!'

    Do what you want with your valuable time but do not ask me to do it for nothing. You cannot get a good film without good performance. Your film will end up going nowhere unless there is a perfect actor on the other end of your very expensively hired camera.

    Put that in your budget and smoke it!

    Then give me the credit I deserve as your product. Then tell me you want a three hour gruelling casting audition. I will train you how to treat actors.

    I am an Associate Tutor at Leeds Met Film School. The MA student DO know what is expected of them. I know. I told them!

    • 6th Mar 2007
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    So you've paid for locations, equipment, & cars...once again, the actors expenses come last in your consideration. Nice!! UKP1,000 and not a penny for actors expenses!!

    Without even expenses being covered, you'll be damn lucky to get any professional actors involved, and, no offence intended, using amateurs will result in an amateur looking production.

    I say again, you need to prioritise and you need to move actors significantly higher on your list than we are currently residing.

    ForbesKB

    • 6th Mar 2007
    • 21
  • User Deleted

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    I appreciate the comments you lot are making. although i find it strange that so called professional actors would need to consider student productions as a means of earning their bread and butter in the first place...surely getting something for your show reels is really what this is all about.

    Student productions often manage to get a good free cast, it is the acotrs on their high horses who are missing out.

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Simply put, as professional we make our living from being PAID to act. We do not NEED student productions at all and we certainly don't pay to be part of them, which is my main problem of the "not even you expenses" status of the production that relit the fire under this thread.

    We do student productions purely to help the students out (which is why it's particularly annoying when we are shown no consideration or appreciation), gain more material for our showreels (which is why it is particulary annoying when the promised DVD never materialises) and network. After all, todays student filmmakers are, possibly, the Directors, Producers and Casting Directors of the future.

    Some are, of course, going to be flipping burgers and waiting tables and that is the gamble we take and why I make sure I get a good vibe from the student filmmakers before I commit to the project, as I said before I am as much interviewing them as they are auditioning me and if they don't perform to an acceptable standard it is more likely that they will be the latter.

    Having done nearly 40 LB/Student productions in the past 3 years, I'm probably more of a masochist than most actors (and to be honest, all actors must have a bit of a masochistic streak in us to have chosen this profession anyway), but I am making a living in this business and would rather be working for nothing than sat waiting for my agent to call.

    ForbesKB

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Caroline Boulton

    Actor

    Mr 951594,

    Get a grip we are asking for a fiver for travel not a limo.

    I think I speak for most actors who wont work for less then expenses, when I say we are quite comfy up on our high horses.

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • User Deleted

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    A good arguent Mr Forbes. I will say one more thing though, you could do with cutting us students a little slack? show some graciousness and politely decline if the terms don't suit you.

    If there is an advert posted in future and you think that you might be interested, ask about expenses from the off. It is unfair to the students to have selected you as someone they would like to cast, only to pull out if something doesn't suit you. Maybe include it in your profile?

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    yeh, 951594, its not that we dont get paid for student films. as ive said before, i realy enjoy doing them

    its that we NEVER get expenses, in fact out of ALL the student things ive done- ive only ever got expenses from one production. and i didnt even appear in the movie! i dropped out.

    you rarely get the dvd for your showreel, which is what you are mainly doing it for. and if you do get one, you really have to pester and pester and nearly end up falling out with the producers.

    i think its only curtesy that student film makers produce DVD copies and pay the actors expenses. in the least! LOL

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • User Deleted

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    Caroline if it were i fiver then there would be no problems.

    Its just my luck that most actors are southern and we are northern.

    Therein lies the dilemma.

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • User Deleted

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    Nathan,

    I agree fully that the situations you have found yourself are rediculous!

    But i am not that producer and i deplore the people who are dragging us down!

    We take the time and pay the price of coming down to London for all our castings so that people can meet us for no cost. We also travel down for rehursals. We do this because it is a large cost to bring our actors up north.

    We appreciate the actors who have made the sacfifice for us, and they in turn appreciate the lengths we go to, on a limited budget.

    And they always get boxed, printed DVD copies of the project.

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Caroline Boulton

    Actor

    I think most actors get treated pretty badly by students so you are getting the wrath of it, it sounds like you do make quite an effort ie rehearsals, casting and dvds so thats good to hear. Most actors do understand the lack of money but I think we get tired of the very high expectations for very little in return. Ive done lots of student films and will continue to do so but only for at least expenses as you have to draw a line somewhere as after all this is our profession. x

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    OK, "Mr anonynous numbered being", I take your point that I should have put my expenses requirement in my application, but in my own defence it would have been more practical to have declared that expenses were not even on offer in your original advert and I wouldn't have wasted my time and yours applying. I'm sure many others wouldn't have bother either which may have speeded up your response time.

    "Cut you some slack" and "show you some graciousness" Do I look like a bloody diplomat!! How about you start showing some respect for the industry you are training so hard to be part of at some point in the future.

    We have all worked for the love of the business at some point and will continue to do so I'm sure but the difference between being a professional and being an amateur/hobbyist is that as a professional you will, most of the time, be paid for your work.

    Many hobbyists produce professional quality work, but they are still amateurs! It can also be said that many "professionals" have produced some pretty shoddy and amateur looking work too, but their bills are still being paid.

    On a side note...I'm sure the bailiffs don't work for free either, I should know...I've played enough of them!

    ForbesKB

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    I've just read the comment that referred to us as "you lot" and told us we are missing out because we are "on our high horses"

    It's moments like this that make me wish we were having this debate face to face in a pub!!

    It's precisely this sort of arrogance that gives the student community in general a really bad reputation and if this sort of total disrespect for our professional is allowed to continue you'll find yourself less and less of a filmmaker and more and more of a cartoonist...as you'll be damn sure noone (apart from the desperate celebrity wannabe's that are flooding this industry) will work for you.

    You have so much to learn on so many levels.

    ForbesKB

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Denise Channing

    Actor

    To the student above, I would suggest that you have a great resource within your budget. Any school with a film programme has a drama department, with young actors as eagar to try their skills with film as you are. The possibility of gaining clips for a showreel would be brilliant for them.

    Expecting someone who makes their living by acting/crew/etc to do favours may work sometimes, but it's not reasonable to assume it's acceptable. And certainly not if it means they will be out of pocket.

    The school lets you use their resources, why not use all of them? When you go out into the world, no one is going to let you use the cameras for free either.

    G

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    My final comment to the 'number' is this. "Most actors are down South and we are up North. We go to London and have to pay expenses to transport them (whatever)...".

    Total waffle. Your ignorance of the business astonishes me! What year are you? Are your tutors totally incompetent? Have you no comprehension of the fact that your local Equity Branch is a resource that is there to be tapped? Then again you wouldn't have the 'jolly' in the capital to claim for. But you'd have some budget left for paying the actors, wouldn't you? 37,000 members of Equity. Only 20,000 in London. 17,000 in the regions. 1,000 in Yorkshire!

    Boy. You need to learn an awful lot!

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    An incredible knowledge of my uni, with one flaw, you are wrong i'm afraid and i dont have that at my disposal.

    Mr Forbes, a very mature, i wish i could bash your head in approach to a conversation! Bet your a gem to work with!

    A tip, before claiming to be a professional actor who is too valuable to do stuff for free, bear in mind that with a few clicks we can view your Show Reel! Maybe you do need some hobbyists to help you with that load of...

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Daniel Latham

    Actor

    Having just read "all the comments" i am quite shocked with the way this has gone, if people chose not to be involved in student films...fine dont do it...hold on for something else there are actors out there who do want to.

    I think the giveaway is in the title "student films" as students unfortunately these guys are not able to offer expensives and travel fees and hotel stayovers and coffee and muffins for breakfast THEY ARE STUDENTS and they are learning there craft and by means of casting sites like these they can ask actors who do have some experience to help them with their work....i am sure they would love to be in the position to pay the actors and the crew and still have enough to go out for a slap up meal, but they are not. Simple if you dont want to do these films dont do them but please if you do dont suddenly start moaning when they actually ask you to do some work. which is what this original post was about

    im sure on this site they will get a lot of actors who are willing and wanting to be involved.

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Mutual Respect - that's all we're after. Yes, I do student films. No, I don't work for less than expenses and I get them upfront. If I don't get my DVD copy on time I will hunt you down until I do get it. Simple rules and quite fair in my opinion.

    Us actors quite understand the pressure training filmakers are under to produce the goods for very little budget. We will help you out if you treat us properly. However, by placing us at the bottom of the food chain you simply ask for trouble when the actors are a huge focus of your project and you have very high expectations of them. So, be nice to us, treat us with respect and we will help you out when we can.

    By the way, Mr Random Number, by belittling the work of someone who works constantly in all facets of TV and theatre(no mean feat, way to go Forbes) you have utterly undermined your own argument and made yourself look higly unprofessional.

    Forbes, I think we might have a colleague in common from Batboy, I'll PM you. Til next time...

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    I couldn't believe the vitriol and sheer arrogance from numbers boy (now is he for real or is he just playing devil's advocate? Which would show him to be the callow youth he is). If he had the courage to put a name to his posturings, then perhaps we'd all be in a position to avoid him in the future.

    I've done loads of student films and have had a ball for the most part and you can tell who's going to make it in the future. There are two directors I would work with again for nothing (in fact have done so for one) because I believe in their work and in their vision, and one who's gone back to acting and who I'm still friends with after 7 years!

    I agree there with Catherine - mutual respect is what's needed and that respect is earned.

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    My point precisely...

    The "Face to face in a pub" was meant to indicate that the debate would be totally different in that situation than it has developed into here as people who hide behind anonymous internet handles are rarely so arrogant, self opinionated and utterluy disrespectful in a face to face environment.

    Joy to with? Sometimes and, of course, sometimes not. It depends on the role but it doesn't look like you will ever find out, does it!

    I'm bored with this one now.

    ForbesKB

    • 7th Mar 2007
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  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    I'm really disappointed in the way this has gone...

    I think the basic principle we'd like to get accross (and noted members of Equity are doing a good job being associate tutors) is that all we want are:

    our expenses and to be treated with some respect.

    Those of us not wishing to do student films won't.

    But it's unfair to ask actors to pay for the privilage of being in your film.

    Think of it this way: actors can be a terrific resource for new filmmakers and can teach them a great deal. Surely that's worth at least a train fare and being polite?

    Budgetting is part of being a filmmaker, so the expenses of an actor need to be factored in- that's a useful learning experience, too.

    It can feel very demoralising to know that the camera is being paid for, the location, etc etc but you are unpaid (and sometimes out of pocket).

    I have worked with a variety of student filmmakers (on my showreel, feel free to tear it to pieces) and have a mixed experience. One memorably sent me the DVD from Singapore- that's commitment. He also paid us out of his pocket because he beleived in the Equity minimum and getting decent actors.

    That said I had one chap who made me stand in a rainy forest for a few days for no expenses, and my face is only in the film for 2 seconds.

    Anyway, my rant over. Hopefully you can see there's no chip on my shoulder, I'm just a working person putting my view accross.

    • 7th Mar 2007
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