Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bitter Bloggings from an Optomistic Actress:Gossip and the Actor

People are talkin', talking 'bout people
I hear them whisper, you won't believe it...

This is something that has been going on way too long.  To all my fellow actors, let's not pretend we don't do the following on a regular basis.  

You and your friends went in for an audition and you know you nailed it but the CD sees it differently and they cast that person who has been talking about you behind your back, how do you know?  Because everyone knows.  They call you names publicly and still get hired because, thankfully for them, their terrible behavior hasn't gotten back to anyone.

So what do you and your friends do once the audition is over?  You go into the car and all the way home you and your friends ask, why on earth did they cast that person.  Over and over again you ask this question until you are blind and deaf and numb.  You do exactly what this person does to you on a regular basis, and hopefully, it won't get back to the important folks involved.

Or better still you are with a group of folks who you just met who decide they have to tear down everyone who ever dared to audition for a part with them.  And you, stupidly, join in the bonding.  They bring up people you have worked with and people you have never met and you start to form opinions about these people based entirely upon what you have heard.

Once again, let's not pretend we don't do this.  And it really isn't good.

An annoying director, a bad casting call, the director won't shut up about you not getting cast, someone who looks just like you gets the part.  There is something gnawing at our insides and we have to get it out or we will explode.  
We want to rub the proverbial face of our biggest competition into the fact we just got cast in a part that we know they wanted.  We want to tell all our friends about landing the big role in the TV show.  We are upset at how a director treated us and we say something.  

The acting network, though full of people, is VERY SMALL!  Often times I go into auditions and know everyone by the rumor mill and can even point to them and know their name.  Guess what?!  We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.  We should only talk half as much as we speak, if that.  

So let's go ahead and broach this subject.  

When I was in college for theater we learned, quite often, that gossip was a bad thing.  It can destroy a production very quickly.  What did we learn to do?  Not talk about people.  Just don't do it.  It creates an unhealthy workplace and causes exclusion, and what are we actors known for but including EVERYONE.  Seems simple enough but even the most die hard folks will get frustrated and spout off to someone.  The things is learning that if you do it, please follow some basic rules.

1)PLEASE DON'T!  Is it really worth a bad reputation if it gets out?  Many times if a director hears bad things about any actor, the mouth who mentions it will also never be hired, as well as the target of the malicious intent.  If an actor can't get through a scene because the extras are mouthing off, not only will the actor being gossiped about likely not be rehired, but the gossips as well.  Directors don't like conflict on their set.  Who else is going to cause a problem?  Fire them too.  Especially on a bigger set with no time for drama, except that which is in front of the camera.

2)DON'T DO IT!  It makes you look like a jerk and just because no one had said anything, doesn't mean they haven't noticed.  To promote a film, a director will do/say anything to make the film look good, including trying to make his/her cast seem better than they are.  But just because they didn't fire you for causing trouble, doesn't mean they haven't taken notice.  And just because you don't think it matters, doesn't mean it doesn't.

3) DON'T!  See above.  I really can't express this enough.  Because things like this happen.
An actor was working on a project.  While off the clock a few fellow cast mates got together and started just mouthing off about other actors in front of the director and producer.  This black list included several very close acquaintances of the actor as well as the director and producer.  The actor said nothing but did hear from the director and producer that these people who were mouthing off will never be hired again by them and they will suggest to potential bosses that these people never be hired again.  The project was almost over, it could be tolerated for one more day, they were basically doing their job on set.  Did they tell them the behavior was deplorable?  Nope.  Did they go to their agents and tell their agents to fire them?  Unlikely.  They simply won't be casting them again and if their information comes through their email again it will go into the circular file.  

4) SINCE YOU ARE PROBABLY GONNA DO IT ANYWAYS...DON'T GIVE A NAME TO ANYONE OR ANYTHING YOU TALK ABOUT.  Sometimes the story is just too funny or absurd and you gotta tell someone.  In theater, it's what you do.  In between scenes you talk about actors.  But how do you go about it?   You tell the story without mentioning a single name.  Be vague.  "I worked for this company and they wanted to do this amazing show I would have killed to be a part of and while director told me I was the most talented actor he had ever seen he was hiring this other girl because I was too tall."  "I went to an audition and it killed me because this actress gave the worst rendition I have ever seen of her monologue and she got a callback/callbacks.  Likely because of the cleavage."  Yes it's still catty.  Yes you are still talking about someone.  At least you have enough respect for them to not try and destroy their reputation as well as your own.  

5) HAVE SOMEONE YOU CAN TRUST TO TALK SMACK ABOUT FOLKS TO.  Yup, I have someone, in fact several someones, that, if it just eats me alive, I will talk to. And they can talk to me.  Big rule, nothing leaves the room.  Because sometimes life just isn't fair and you need someone to talk to.  Sometimes someone says something to you and makes you feel inferior, and while you can live with it while you're working, after work is just hurts too much.  Sometime you need to get it off your chest.  Sometimes you know you were better for a part than the person cast and when you see the film you are only proven correct about your assumption and you just want someone to listen and agree.

So basically, PLEASE SHUT THE @#$% UP about one another!  If you can't keep your mouth shut, be selective of what you say.  The walls have ears, eyes, mouths, and are taking notes.