What work is out there?

  • Simon Burbage

    Actor

    So far in my professional acting career - 2years worth, i've consistently been told by various people in different parts of the industry how quiet it currently is. I'm never sure whether to believe it or not. Is it quiet? Or is that just something people say to comfort themselves when they aren't working?

    I doubt theres a conclusive answer here, but i'm interested to see what people think, particularly you more "seasoned" pro's, who've seen the industry change over the years.

    • 4th Aug 2010
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  • Allan Scott-Douglas

    Actor

    Well, I, for one, have never EVER had as much work going on and lined up as I do right now...

    I'm working on two musicals, an ongoing corporate engagement, a straight play and a feature film - all between now and the end of September.

    Having said that, at this point in time I have nothing lined up for after this period - but I rather think an actual 'rest' might be required by then anyway!

    So I would say that there seems to be more work around at the moment than there was at this time last year without a shadow of a doubt...however I have a lot of good friends in the industry who are finding it really tough going at the moment so I think it's proabably just a very individual thing.

    Hope you find something soon - if you havent already!

    AL.

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    From my point of view, it's quiet!! But perhaps that's just my casting type and because I don't work for free :) And I don't do theatre either due to not wanting to tour and leave my family behind. So as far as paid film, TV and commercials work there's diddly-zilch as far as I (and my agent) can see!! I had a job a couple of weeks ago, but it was a photo shoot rather than acting. So, I think it is hard at the minute - but maybe there's more around if you do theatre? :) xx

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    I've never ever been so busy in my 25 years since getting my equity card, just finished six months with Zip Theatre since January, a well paid student film (No, it's TRUE! Honest!) a couple of cheap short panto's and last Christmas a big panto, and in a couple of weeks I'm off to join Scooby Doo till october 31st then panto in Doncaster with jimmy Cricket thru dec and first half of jan and in the couple of weeks I've got off at the moment I've been asked to help design a couple of huge Toy Theatres for a posh shop in Piccadilly as well as getting a little bit for my own animated toy theatre film release on ebay etc.

    THANK YOU INTERNET AND CASTINGCALLPRO!

    although yes I could do with an agent and yes I always used to have one I've never worked this regularly as an actor in my life.

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Allan Scott-Douglas

    Actor

    It was hard to tell if the 'i don't work for free' comment was intended as a jibe at me or not...but if so, I don't work for free either! All if the jobs I mentioned are paying gigs - and a couple of them are paying pretty bloody well too!

    If it wasn't and I just mis-interpreted your intentions then I apologise sincerely if I seem overly defensive - I just happen to feel very strongly about 'professional' actors agreeing to work for no fee whatsoever...!

    Ok, rant over now - God, I need sleep!!

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Simon Burbage

    Actor

    For the sake of this post,let's disregard unpaid projects - there's always plenty of them! - let's also not get into the paid/unpaid issue either,that's been covered extensively!

    It strange isn't it,my busy periods have coincided with the majority of my friends not working,and now it appears a little vice versa - it's a funny old,difficult to read business innit?

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Simon Burbage

    Actor

    And Nigel - jimmy cricket? Pinocchios conscience? In panto? Clarify!

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Charles Delaney

    Actor

    .I made a policy 18 months ago to accept work that is paid only; In that sense,I've been quite busy but my idea of real busy is working every day.

    Naturally this would be preferable although another decision I took,(controversial to some) was to focus on film/TV/commercials.I'll consider theatre depending on the project,where it's touring & if it's well funded. I'm now thinking that commercials,although sometimes well paid, can actually hinder your opportunities to succeed in film acting!

    I believe you have to focus & learn what work (Paid) to turn down to acheive your objectives even if it means you risk poverty!

    For example, if a producer phoned me & said 'I want you on a plane to Romania to shoot a commercial in 2 hours time' & I didn't have a signed agreed contract in my hand,I wouldn't get on the plane until I did!

    There are different forms of working as an actor in this business & you have to make the best choices;BTW,Anyone got a crystal ball they can lend me please?!

    "POLE"

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    That's Jimminy Cricket Simon :-) Jimmy Cricket is the Irish Comedian with the wellies and the catch phrase "come here there's more". However we do also have the Honey Monster so your question about how we fit him in will have to wait till I've seen the script. :-)

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    I think there is a big dividing line between "work" and actual "paid work", present Co accepted…no jibe intended to anyone!

    I meet a lot of actors who want me to think they are very busy, but when it boils down to it, they are either working on UNPAID films and or THEATRE ....not really that busy at all.

    There seems to be an overwhelming desire for actors to tell everyone how busy they are, it makes them feel somehow…better than those who are not working. If I am not involved with any paid projects….I just say…nothing in the pot at the moment…..I know the next phone call could suddenly change that all together. I guess its a spill over from the very early days when actors would say they are resting!

    It's a tricky one to answer isn't it. My mate who is 6.4 strong and hunky never seems to stop working. Other actors I know who are brilliant….some have not worked on a paid project for 6 months…and one in particular is with a great agent…RSC and countless TV and film roles to his CV…has had one casting this year! He is gonna look for a new agent now….but it's a tough call to jump ship the way things are.

    I think in general mainstream projects and fully paid gigs, are in much smaller supply than ever before. Now that funding is getting cut, I fear it will get worse. The toughest will survive it in the long run I guess, and we will all have to up our game more than ever!

    How many times do we hear about actors at castings for very small roles….1 little scene, or just a few lines etc…and almost quite famous actors are going for the same parts now! These are parts that they and their agents would never have considered a few years ago! That's is a sign of the times.

    For every out of work actor, there will be someone earning and or very busy of course…….or in one job on a long tour etc etc. As long as you make ends meet over the year and each year….you are not doing too badly.

    I could prob get loads of "action" on unpaid shorts and fringe productions, I get offers all the time on here and via my website! I could take them and tell everyone how busy I am….but I am not in this business to impress my fellow actors!! I'd just be displaying how broke I am!!

    To those of you who are currently working and busy with proper paid acting gigs……..I salute you all! GITS!!

    I reapeat….none of the above is aimed at anyone in particular.

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hey Allan! No it most certainly WASN'T meant as a dig at you! But, to reinforce Mark's point, I could be busy doing unpaid work but am currently not very busy doing paid work!! So the honest answer remains that, as Pole says, paid work for film, TV and commercials (for me at least) is few and far between, sadly! :( xx

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Allan Scott-Douglas

    Actor

    The apologies humbly offered...

    I think it's easier for me as you all say because I actually prefer working in live theatre.

    I enjoy working on film too but theatre has been in my blood since birth and that's always where my main focus lies.

    If I was focussed only on film, TV and Commercials...I wouldve had one job this year! So yeah, I very much get your point!

    Allan.

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Following on from Mark's post, in her book Just Me, Sheila Hancock speaks of the shock she had when filming The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas to note that some of the extras were quite well known actors. They were doing it because times are tough.

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Yes, Toni - my Mum works as an extra and did some work on Casualty a while back and there was an actress there who had been a regular cast member on The Bill and was now working as an extra because she couldn't get regular acting work. Ouch. x

    • 4th Aug 2010
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  • Rachel Dobell

    Actor

    It's always harder for women. Men don't seem to have the competition that women are subjected to - and just look on CCP at the number of male roles compared to women's!

    • 4th Aug 2010
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  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    As long as I can remember people have been saying that the business is "quiet".

    In fact, there are less roles than actors, and it has always been this way; no one ever said that it would be easy.

    But there are plenty of jobs. Switch the TV on. Actors working at every commercial, every TV show. Look at the West-end, 47 Theatres, most of them with shows running.

    And these represent only a small part of the work available.

    There is plenty of work, you're just not getting auditions or not getting these jobs.

    Now you have two options, you can either think that the business is quiet and wait for a miracle or luck; or you can go out there and make opportunities happen.

    There are so many ways, discussed in so many threads.

    Forget about how busy or quiet the business is, it doesn't matter; what matters is that when there is a job, you're the one doing it.

    Do some research, find out what films are in pre-prod, what TV shows are in development, what Stage shows are being produced etc... get on the case, get all the valuable info and act upon it so you will be there when they cast.

    Knowledge is power. It will allow you to make smart decisions for your career, have a plan of action.

    Some actors manage to work consistently, so can you.

    I was once told when I auditioned for a London drama school that I should go back to my country because it was impossible to book work as a foreign person.

    I could have listened, instead I went my own way; who's laughing now?

    Ignore the nay sayers and concentrate on what you can do to further your career. It's not about how much work there is, it's not about how much competition there is; it's about how good you are at both your craft and your business including marketing.

    Good luck to you! To all of you. There is enough work for every one on this forum; and more.

    • 4th Aug 2010
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  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    ah, ah!

    I wrote my big speech and then looked at your profile and saw that you have worked a lot since leaving drama school! So you are already doing it! Keep doing what ever you are doing, it's working! :-)

    • 4th Aug 2010
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  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    well, everyone in this thread can just ignore my first post, you are all working.

    It only applies to actors who don't work and are satisfied by the "quiet business" explanation. I meet actors like this far too often, so I get a little carried away when I hear the "quiet" word...

    • 4th Aug 2010
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Claire makes good points, but it's not quite as Jobs packed as that is it? - I don't think so anyway. Not jobs with proper pay?! However, there are more than you think if you don't mind what you do. I have always banged on about this being a business....and to succeed...you have to add as many strings to your bow as you can. I have met actors who look down on corporate work training videos.....or acting in Murder mysteries....or any other corporate acting work....I'll happily be in a feature film one day, and appear at a conference as Groucho Marx, or Clouseau etc etc.

    I have learned & Earned more from acting and improvisation, by preparing for the unexpected and embraceing the different acting styles and skills required over the years doing that.....than any flipping Drama school could have ever prepared me for. No I am not dissing "all" drama schools either….different thread altogether!

    I gree with most of what you say Claire....but I think in general, it is quieter currently than ever before…..not for everyone granted….but that's always the case! If you added up all the paid shows in the west end....then took out the leading names....there really are not "that" many roles left to go for? ....and the ones that do get in on those castings are usually very established themselves one way or the other. I know what you mean though….and I agree you can't ever afford to sit back and just whine about it. I am an ex engineer…and as an engineer you have to learn "there is always a way" to solve something.

    We all think this business is unfair and hell at times, I'm sure A Hopkins, J Dench etc all had many - many days like that prior to being established, …..but quite often, if we're honest, it's because we allow it to become hell. You can always find "something" if you look and go for it hard enough….but you have to really want it and or really need it.

    Churchill once said: If you are going through hell - keep going!!

    • 4th Aug 2010
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  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    I totally agree with you Mark! :-)

    • 4th Aug 2010
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