What do I mean by that? Well in terms of acting, what I mean is, there are jobs we take on sometimes that we don’t fully trust.
I’ve had my fair share of learning moments in this industry. When I first started I was so eager to get into acting, I signed up to an agency and as embarrassing as it is to say I gave them money prior to them getting any jobs for me! A good agent (I learned later) doesn’t do that, they take a percentage of what you earn and that’s it, so it’s no surprise that agency never got me a single audition, they didn’t even email or call me once in the time I was signed on.
I’ve also been told I wasn’t going to be given a part because my appearance wasn’t to the “aussie standard”, but I digress. I was recently in a situation where I was given a release form the evening before a job. This release form wasn’t even a contract, let alone one that was up to scratch. Now I don’t want to bad mouth anyone because it all ended up being a misunderstanding and the issues I had with it were easily fixed.
I almost gave up a decent paying job because of a simple mistake. Granted it was a big learning curve for me. I didn’t find the job through my agent, in fact my girlfriend found the job when she had a look on my Star Now profile which meant I was going solo on this one. Although Star Now isn’t the place most professionals recommend or even use, because from everything I hear it seems to be a place where a lot of horror stories come from. Naturally I was a skeptic when I was given this opportunity, I didn’t have to audition they just loved my show reel and offered me the job.
I emailed my agent (who is always there to help me) and contacted the union regarding the contract. Both advised against signing the release forms. The project seemed like good fun though and would be pretty good exposure for me considering it’s for a major production company. At first I actually declined the offer but they didn’t want to lose me. We spoke and realised it was all a misunderstanding, proving how important communication is.
Not only did I judge the company harshly but I underestimated where I stood in terms of negotiation. Being an actor can sometimes be tricky when you don’t understand how business works and I definitely don’t understand it, but I’m learning. I learned that knowing your business is just as important as knowing your craft.
I’m more than happy to find jobs through acting sites that people seem to think aren’t worthwhile but I’m still cautious of them. I think there are some decent projects out there from people who can’t always afford to put a high budget into hiring casting directors. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be a good site I will still be able to use it as another platform to get exposure on.
I am gravitated to good projects, not good pay checks and I feel that we all need to understand that no one starts off at the top of their career. We work for it. We just need to make the right business choice and creative choice in terms of roles and projects we take on.