I, as my fingers are sometimes wont to brazenly bring battery to my keyboard, blasted an actors’ union that was forcing producers to hold auditions for projects in which jobs did not exist. One example I wrote of was the union requiring regional theaters to hold chorus calls for non-musical plays like The Tempest and Equus. (Note to the union: a horse, no matter how many hands high, does not a chorus make. Plus, ‘horse’ and ‘chorus’ though somewhat rhyming but lacking syllable symmetry of sisterhood are not one-in-the same.)
I angered some colleagues in expressing my dismay that a union was requiring actors and producers to spend money on auditions for which there was no employ available. Actors were also upset – not at me – but at the union for wasting thespian time and treasure. No one asked me to remove the contentious critique. I trashed the troublemaker on my own volition. My purpose for the post was honest in intent to support both actors and producers. No apology here. Where I erred was displaying information sent to me in an e-mail. Ooops.
And that leads us to this week’s Answers for Actors.
This morning I was typing a response e-mail to an actress-friend. In her missive to me she mussed about a recent change of guard for one of my clients. The ousting of the founding artistic director was both controversial and sad. In my reply to the actress I was about to make commentary on the situation but then I recalled the debacle of my recent, now departed, post ‘An Actors’ Union Off the Rails’. If I put any words of wisdom or wit to font electronically those combined characters would have the potential of being shared with others and come back to bite me in my proverbial ass.
Lesson? Never trust what you put in an e-mail to remain private. A no-brainer right? Not so for some. That was the foresight not followed by the person(s) who wrote in an e-mail to a large audience an opinion about a union’s ridiculous audition requirements. The e-mail of which my wrists were slapped for sharing with you. This messenger got shot.
Have we not learned from political and corporate scandals the basic tenet of modern technology? Once one hits the send button of any electronic correspondence all expectation of privacy is forsaken. What we type in an e-mail can be forwarded to others (thank God Facebook doesn’t have this capability… yet). And in our business; oh, boy do we love to spread word with prolific expediency.
So learn from this outspoken champion of yours:
Careful the things you bray
Passion can lynch men
Pilot Season P.S. Next week come back for a posting on obtaining work this pilot season.
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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.
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