Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year

I really wanted my first post of 2012 to be a positive one. Today's post should be a hopeful, optimistic one as I aimlessly dream about what the upcoming year will be thrusting upon me. I've had a bit of a break from blogging over the last couple of weeks due to the acting world being forced into hibernation while pantomime reigns supreme. It's an odd feeling having inactivity left on your doorstep and being asked to look after it over the festive period. Of course, sloping around the house in pyjamas with a bag of crisps while keeping an eye permanently on crappy movies is probably my default mode so I embrace this time of year with pathetically weak arms. But the novelty wears off soon enough and there's only so many times you can watch 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' before the need to be proactive becomes more important than seeing just how many Pringles you can eat in one sitting (it's about 386.) But sadly there's only so much you can do when everything has shut down for mulled wine and presents. As I've said many a time in this blog, I could use this free time do productive things that better me as a person but this never happens so instead the season has been spent with me patiently waiting for the jobs to start coming back.

Last night, while vaguely assisting T as he embarked upon his final push to try and defeat Arkham City once and for all (my greatest skill seems to be pointing out things that aren't actually there), I became distracted by a flurry of acting jobs suddenly being posted online. I leapt upon them with an enthusiasm usually only seen when food is put before me and I excitedly worked my way through them. I applied for all the paid ones that I could and thought I'd just have a quick look through the unpaid ones just in case there was something that looked interesting. As I glanced through the usual stuff, my eye was caught by a post by an incredibly well known production company. How exciting. This company produce some of the biggest television shows out there but hang on, why are they in the unpaid section? And woah, what's that? They're asking for audience members for their upcoming celebrity reality show spin-off? I read through the whole brief and my worst fears were confirmed...here, on a respected casting website was a call for audience members for a reality TV show. My heart sank and my soul wept.

Is this what has become of the acting industry? Are performers now held in such low regard that we are now being used to pretend that we're fans of one of the main culprits in the crime against television. Reality TV has taken over our screens and this cheap programming means that the amount of quality shows is so few that once parts have been offered to those few actors that always appear in these things, there's very little left for the rest of us. And sadly, because of this depressing lack of work, I'm sure there will be some actors who respond to these calls in the hope that it will at least be a chance to get on television.

But my main disappointment is with the casting website. Surely they have standards to uphold and instead of just bowing down to these production companies, they should have the nerve to stand up to them and try to maintain what little dignity the acting profession is desperately clutching on to. This casting site has served me incredibly well over the years and it has helped pay a lot of bills but seeing it become the next victim to the cheap, sensationalised, celebrity driven takedown of the industry is a seriously disheartening way to start the year. I posted about this job on Twitter last night and I was delighted by the reaction of other fellow actors and I really hoped that this casting website would take note and by today the job would be removed but I'm sorry to say that it's still there.

I really hope that this is just a minor blip and the rest of 2012 will be the year that the world of acting finally fights back. Maybe this could be the year that despite the debilitating cuts, dramas such as Black Mirror and Great Expectations can lead the way and prove that there is a lot more to be gained from putting what little money is left into producing quality programmes. Sadly I forsee yet another year dominated by the same formulaic shows meaning that this time next year, I'll be in exactly the same position writing the same blog. See you in twelve months!

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