I’d like to switch to an area that I never talk about – theatrical. The reason I am bringing it up is because, of everything stressful that went on last week, this was the worst. I was witness to the most unprofessional thing I have ever seen.
I know a young (and new) actor, who took a part in a play for virtually no money, but for the experience. He was promised a lot, none of which came to fruition. The young actor made one mistake; he expressed his frustration to someone he should not have. The director/writer (who has been doing this for a long time) should have been the professional. She should have had a meeting with the actor and they should have discussed their issues. Instead, the show ended, the actor was frustrated, and the director was angry.
I will not tell you how it ended. But I will tell you, this is a small business and what goes around comes around. I don’t care if you are the young new actor or the seasoned professional – act professional. In this case, the “professional” did not act that way. Do not assume that because the actor is young that he is not connected. You never know and it is a small business when it comes to reputations. The actor made a “new actor” mistake, but still put on great shows. The professional acted very unprofessionally in every way possible. Instead of stepping up and being a mentor, she tried to ruin him emotionally, as well as threaten his career.
As an actor starting out and taking projects without agent representation, you trust everyone involved to do what they have promised. All I can say is do your homework. Check out all the people involved. Make sure they are who they say they are. If you are not happy, finish and walk away or talk to the person directly.
I do not wish on anyone what this actor had to endure when the show ended. He learned a simple lesson the hard way. I cannot imagine what this director/writer could have learned.
Next week, back to my world.
2 thoughts on “A Bad Theatrical Experience”
Recently a young director/filmmaker, a European, talented kid with significant resources promised me the lead role in his next project, a feature film. I played the lead role in a short film he directed last year which made it all the way to Cannes 2015. I even shot the trailer for the new feature he promised me several months ago. As the shooting date drew near and he again volunteered “you are playing the lead” he also told me about two big name actors who were playing supporting roles in the same film. I was very excited needless to say so the next morning sent out an email alert to my list sharing the news. One of the people on the list is a well known and active casting director – she responded right away by asking me “who told you you were playing the lead?” and about the two big name actors, telling me they had not yet signed on and that she was hired to cast the role I was told was mine. It seems the young auteur had been less than forthright, telling everyone what he thinks they most want to hear so they do what he wants them to do – in my case – be available in case the CD couldn’t come up with any one he might prefer – which by itself is understandable and okay – so long as full disclosure to all concerned parties is made in a timely way- but he had not – he hid that information both from me and the CD – and then makes his decisions based upon an assembled set of players all expecting to benefit from the follow through on his word. Playing us to his benefit. Once all his ducks are in a row he disappoints whoever he feels needs to go and continues on with whoever he ends up choosing. It’s never a good idea to treat people merely as means to ends – we are not – none of us – even if that’s how you think – always better to treat others as you would be treated yourself, I think they call that the Golden Rule. It’s difficult, challenging and time consuming to build and sustain strong, healthy and mutually supportive relationships, it involves risk and the application of moral principles defined as character. Once built they need to be maintained. More work, sometimes even sacrifice. Usually worth it though as relationships are what fuel all human social activity and good relationships fuel good activity. Very easy to poison them though and once tainted, much harder if not impossible to mend. The damage is done. The sooner this lesson is learned the less likely costly mistakes from that missing part in ones character are made in the future.
Beth Thank you for posting. New actors have a hard road and need all of us to support and help make their dreams come true. A bad director can go a long way to ruining this.
We never know when we accept a job what will be. The one thing you don’t want to be is a victim.