Actors Who Money B*tch & Steal

Why do a peevish percentage of actors believe stealing revenue from fellow artists is an honorable entitlement to the profession?

Why do a peevish percentage of actors believe stealing revenue from fellow artists is an honorable entitlement to the profession? A premise derived from a mistaken belief that as ‘artistes’ they’re morally above commerce?

An actor I believed smart and civic-minded posted on Facebook:


“Oh, Paul get over yourself,”  you reply. “Everybody swaps music.”

What if you’re the artist who survives on royalties from your opus? If you write for the screen or stage—your words, plot lines, arc and character development were distributed or produced without financial cha-ching compensating your labors? Others are profiting. Would you appreciate a nay-sayer’s, “Oh, get over yourself?”

Your artistic peers don’t seem to give a damn for your starving artistry as demonstrated in the replies below:


One objection:


The thread quickly vanished.

Composer Jason Robert Brown and a young actress debated heatedly online regarding free online access to his (and other composers’) published sheet music. His copy-written material being accessed by thousands of purveyors for free seriously dips into his revenue stream. He doesn’t have the deep pockets of Sir Webber. He heads a middle-class household. But the actress argued she’s “a starving actress.” Her professional peril she grumbled should allot her and other actors free access.


No one forces upon anyone the profession of actor. An actor isn’t born butt branded designating their career for life. There are many paths available which traverse more stable and monetarily lucrative journeys. But this young woman placed her impoverished career on an altruistic moral plane where money is to be waived because she’s a “starving actress.”

Somalia is starving. You’re spoiled.

When I was near finished writing ACTING: Make It Your Business an actor in a production I was directing asked I forward him the book’s files from my computer. He wanted a free read. I shook my head; walked away. I should have turned, and said, “You give up the $1,500 per week you’re being paid at present to be in this show and…maybe I’ll consider your request.”

For two years an actress e-mailed me seeking free advice of which I dutifully answered thinking she’d been a reader of my first book. In her last list of questions she revealed that she’d go to Barnes & Noble, read ACTING: Make It Your Business, transcribe information, and then place the tome back on the shelf. She could have bought the book on Amazon for $13. Over two years that’s less than 0.0178082191780821917808219 cents per day! I stopped answering her.

While teaching a collegiate class a student whined, moaned, bitched and convulsed a hissy-fit when I mentioned that, as an actor who needs to network with the industry, he would need to obtain the Call Sheet listing agents and casting directors.

His reaction? “I have to spend more money?”

Civilians don’t often bitch about having to pay expenses related to their professional growth. They may complain about the price but not the requirement to pay for education, networking, and career expansion. But with some actors… well… they are an “ahc-torh…” and it’s sacrilegious to their divine muse to dip into the wallet and pay for the benefit of their career. Give me a penny-pinching-pretentious break. This is not Star Trek where money is a charming antiquated form of commerce. If you’re waiting for star date 1314.5 you’re a Ferengi with a dismal future of big-eared begging.

Want to support fellow artists so they in turn can support you? If you recognize yourself resembling one of the above “thieves”: Stop stealing. Pay-up, pay it forward.

My Best,

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
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Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

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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, 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

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