Why a Director – Casting Director Despises (some) Actors

January 2, 2015 at 9:30 am | Posted in acting, actors, auditions | 3 Comments
Tags: , ,

Despised may be too gentle a verb. I once loathed, hated, and had no respect for a portion of my fellow auditioning actors: the gossip-pools that saturated audition studio hallways. They flowed from one building housing audition studios to another. The flood of critical chatters never was (and is) a dry riverbed of snarky surreptitious opinions. When I was an actor, the worst offenders were non-union actors with too much mouth and too little empathy for peers. Or the non-union actors who had circled the stock and dinner theater circuit but never electrified their auditions for the brighter jobs of LORT theaters, Broadway or the then lucrative AEA Broadway tours. Tied for worst were the AEA actors that for lack of talent, personality, or other reasons hadn’t many paying gigs beyond SPT or LOA contracts; their resumes a dumping ground for forgotten showcases attended only by begrudged friends. Why my fervent dislike for these actors? What was their offense? Blatant backstabbing, disrespect for their fellow actors, the entertainment community, producers, and casting directors.

Young and ignorant of the casting hierarchy as I was as an actor I unfortunately was also a sponge silently soaking up the bad mouthing rippling my way. Waves of sniping followed by the speaker’s and their audience’s giggles against the people-behind-the-table for which these actors were about to audition. But… I didn’t absorb the voiced assaults that actors-without-filters had for their fellow auditioning actors.

My audition routine always required one item I bring. A book. A rescue I hoped would draw my attention away from the actors in hallways backstabbing the actors in an audition studio.  Some of the Brutus tongued would press their ears to the audition room door. Others had their eyes peering through curtains or the chipped paint on a window. Once the audition room door clicked shut the clique immediately excreted their verbal bile.

“Did she get that potato sack from the Salvation Army?”

“A monkey did her make-up.”

“If he thinks he’s a tenor, I’m Pavarotti.”

“She reads the scene like a zombie on speed after inhaling helium.”

“He should’ve stayed home. Allow this time for a real actor.”

Those actors of the late 20th century were the equivalent of today’s Fox News. All noise. No substance. Little wit. Often an embarrassment. Our freedom to express openly opinions is never to be suppressed or discouraged. Dialogue seeds growth. Tilling the ground without seeding prompts the sprouting of weeds. The dishonest persons who plant relationships, and then surreptitiously poison the field encourages witnesses to yield their own false harvests.

Some years later when I jumped the audition table to sit behind that unfortunate barrier I rarely encountered past verbal bile clan members. Most disappeared into civilian life. A few have slithered up the ladder to the industry projects (Broadway, screen, and larger regional theater) of my past and present. They audition for me at open calls. I politely welcome and thank each for coming in. If after one of these spoilers of fraternity exits, and then a creative on our team speaks of an interest in the actor I simply say, “He/she wouldn’t be good for company morale.” The actor’s picture and résumé plops atop a large pile of actor résumés for whom no further interest is warranted.

I noticed that when I began auditioning industry and household name actors and the journeyman actors who are often employed; the actors backstabbing fellow actors in audition studio hallways subsided substantially. Maturity rises with each rung up entertainment’s ladder.

Yet, immaturity, and divisiveness continues. The clique has a new forum beyond the hallway. There are online message boards where bitching is encouraged to fester and breed in a digital petri dish. Anonymous unpoliced trolls post vilifying commentary to online articles. This allowance for keyboard courage encourages bad behavior in our 3D pursuits.

I cast in studio complexes where a new generation of the gossiping clique thrives. After I returned from my lunch break of a recent open call I posted on my Facebook profile my TODAY’S TIP.

FB_BA

One of the two chatty actresses above attended the open call after my lunch. I welcomed her.

She auditioned. After she finished singing I genuinely complemented her singing. I then said, “I think we rode the elevator together today.” She didn’t recall. (Fortunately I’m not always recognized when out and about but it has been happening more since the book and articles.) I thanked her for coming in. After she left I placed her résumé atop the large pile of actors for which no further interest was presently warranted. Unfortunately I don’t have a separate pile for permanent lack of interest due to bad actor behavior. But… under my home-office desk is a shredder. And what a cathartic snarling sound it makes as it rips through an actor who brings to mind the gossiping actors of my youth who shredded swaths of my idealism.

My Best,
Paul

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

Skype With Paul
Read Paul’s Best-Selling Book for Actors

Share Answers for Actors:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

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, Elon and Wright State University. He 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.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Follow:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell on Facebook

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net

ACTING: Make It Your Business

3 Comments

TrackBack URI

  1. I loved this article.

  2. I wish this sort of blog had existed when I was first NYC open-calling and UPTAing and so forth, around the same era I believe. I think it’s probably worse now, however. I used to bring a newspaper and sit with the other baritones, in our tweed jackets, in the back corner talking about nerdy things, while the “younguns” in leotards and/or tight black tees tried to out-stress (and out-stretch) one another. I’ve run into a few who were once as you describe who have actually matured into really decent people and performers, so sometimes people do grow.

  3. I learned the lesson, “Keep your mouth shut, you don’t know who’s in earshot” the hard way about twenty years ago.

    I still think about how different my life could have been…


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: