You poor, broke-ass, under-employed actors need to quit paying for those â€œhow to get a jobâ€ classes and those tips and tricks newsletters about â€œhow to get an honest to goodness acting gig that pays real moneyâ€ and those â€œkeep your network workingâ€ seminars and those â€œgrow your relationshipsâ€ books. These tricks are not working: you are learning stuff that is making your potential employers annoyed, instead.
Here’s an example. I was Chair of a committee for Women in Film. At a Women in Film social event, I pitched the crowd for volunteers for my committee. After my plea, Actor A made her way to me and gave me her business card and took mine in return. The next day I called Actor A, who told me she was burned out on volunteer work and couldn’t work on my committee. Fine. Okay. Alright. She must have taken a class that taught her to get out of the house and meet people in the industry. So, she followed that advice and went to an industry social event and met meâ€¦under the pretense of working for my committeeâ€¦for which she had absolutely no intention of working. Fine. Okay. Alright. BUT. Now I remember her as the person who DIDN’T work on my committee.
Here’s another example. Actor B read in an online column that one should keep in touch via little news-y chatty emails. Several days after having exchanged cards with Actor B at another industry event, I got a 5 page email newsletter from Actor B. No, she didn’t ask me if she could send me a newsletter; it just arrived in my inbox. The newsletter had a dozen photos of her in various hats (not production stills, just glamour shots), a report from her trip (with her husband footing the bill) to Italy, a paragraph bragging that â€œI get cast as a result of every 3 out of 5 auditions,â€ andâ€¦umâ€¦I didn’t read the remainder. Now I will remember this actor as the one with Logorrhea of the Braggadocio of the Inward-Facing Self. (Is that an actual medical diagnosis? And, if so, what is the Dx codeâ€¦for insurance purposes?)
Person C actually took an interest in the film I was producing. Or so I thought. After taking my card at a Screenwriters Guild meeting, Person C sent me an email: â€œI am really interested in your story and want to help you get your film shot.â€ Wowee, whoopee, someone who is actually interested in my story, my indie film project! I shoot an email back instantly: â€œGreat, bla, bla, what do you want to help with, bla, bla, what do you like about the story, bla, bla.â€ In response from Person C, now revealed to be Actor C, I received several emailed headshots. Oops, the translation of â€œto helpâ€ is â€œto be cast.â€ Okay, so you are a specialist; you only do one job; I dig that. BUT, you lie about it up front. You’re not really interested in my film; you’re really only interested in an acting gig. So, now, unfortunately, I remember you as the person who lied.
Actor C.5 made the following mistake.
(â€œWait,â€ you say, â€œWhy the change in naming convention? What the heck is â€˜C.5′?â€ All will be revealed soon.)
Later that month at yet another industry meeting (I have to quit going to these), I spot Actor C in the crowd. He does not acknowledge my eye contact, does not come over to say hello; acts as if he doesn’t know me from a hole in the ground. After the go-round-the-room-introductions bit, a lot of people take my card, which I have placed next to the coffee and snacks. Late that night, I receive an email from Actor C, saying, â€œI am really interested in your story and want to help you get your film shot.â€ Whoa, dude, I know it’s not nice to make fun of Alzheimer’s and all that, but you need to take a course in remembering people’s names and faces. So now this person is not only Actor C who lied but also Actor C.5 who doesn’t care enough about me to remember my film, my face or my name.
Stay tuned. Next month I’ll rant about how not to get cast in voice work.