Thursday, 22 November 2012

Undramatic Irony

“We’ve got this really good idea for a film. How about we make a film about how tough it is being an actor. How talented they are but how tough it can be to get a break. How, to support their dreams they have to take on jobs that they don’t want. What do you think?”

“Sounds great. What’s the budget?”

“We don’t have one.”

“So you’re making those actors, playing struggling actors, work for free.”


“I hate you.”

I imagine this is what would happen if the production team behind a particular casting out at the moment had the misfortune of telling me about their upcoming film. The deleted scene would then show me shoving all my bank statements down their sickening throats and garrotting them slowly and painfully with my woeful tax return. 

The premise of the film is entirely expected. At some point, all actors will have a go at writing a film. Some of them will be bloody awesome. Many of them will be about as good a read as toaster instructions. And of course, as we’re often told to write about what we know, actors will inevitably write about the lives of actors. Heck, even I’ve thought about it. I’ve scribbled down a few ideas. It’s lurking on my computer somewhere with all the other half-baked ideas I’ve had, all sat there as a constant reminder of how horribly short my attention sp- Sorry, I just stopped to watch a video of two cats fighting in French. It was great.

But if I ever got the point where I put my ideas on to camera, I’d damn well make my actors were getting paid. I mean, I’d pay actors all the time otherwise as, given all my Twitter and blog rants regarding pay, I’d be left with about as many legs to stand on as a drunk spider after an encounter with a particularly evil-minded three year old. But if you’re making a film about how tough it is being an actor then bloody hell, wouldn’t you make sure you weren’t that dick? The irony of it all appears to have smacked them round the face so hard that they think the only way actors can play unpaid actors is by not paying them. Because, of course, actors don’t understand how difficult it is to be an actor. We have no idea what it’s like to take on demoralising, low-paid jobs just to keep our dreams wheezing and spluttering. We don’t know what it’s like to be constantly worrying about money or whether we’ll ever get a break. Oh no. We need incompetent fools to not pay us in their precious little film to ensure our performances are real.  

I’m tempted to apply. Just so I can tell them where to stick their stupid film and their ridiculous ideas on how actors should be treated. I’d like to tell them how utterly hateful they are and how everything is wasted on them. I’d like to stand guard and stop any actor taking part in this insult upon our profession. But mostly I’d just like them to go away. And never, ever come back.


  1. Don't worry. The jobs will go to some ex-police officers who fancy 'having a go at acting'. Happens all the time.

    Oh no - hang on: they'll expect pay. And they'll get it. Can't expect them to do it for nothing. That's just for the trained and talented people. Professional actors.

  2. I just happened on this, and for me it raises a fractionally different issue. If every out of work creative decides to solve the rpoblem by making a self-directed sitcom about being an actor out of work, we have only ourselves to blame for everyone else assumning that 1) we know nothing about anything other than acting and, 2) if we weren't poor, we'd have nothing to talk about.