Saturday, August 14, 2010

Respect For Actors

At an audition for a large-budget feature film today, where hundreds(though I'm told thousands in total showed up), I retreated to a "Starbucks" for a chilled green tea to wait for my call. Of course, several dozen other audition-ees were present, and we made conversation with one another during the afternoon.
At one point, I mistakenly assumed that a young woman and her husband were there to audition, and remarked on it.
Her husband said "Well, that depends, what's it for?"
He was playful, but I could see the hope in his eyes....and I got similar comments, all afternoon, from folks who either "heard about" the film auditions going on, or wandered up to ask me what I was auditioning for, could they audition, could their child audition, etc.
Famed acting-teacher, actress and writer Uta Hagen was right: there's no "Respect for Acting".
Imagine, kids, an engineer in a lobby area, waiting to see a potential employer, and dozens of folks wandering up, asking if they could "go in" to get hired, too. Except NONE of them has ANY experience as an engineer. Or a musician auditioning for a band, and folks with no experience in music, asking to audition. It would be preposterous.
Really, kids, it's a job. We train, work hard, and study to do this. Really.

My audition felt good. The film concerns a young man's struggle with his identity, and he finds redemption through his poetry and rap music. My love for poetry and for the spoken word has me quite excited about this particular project. I won't know if I am in the call-backs(for you not in "the biz", this means the "finals" from which they will cast the film), for about two weeks, but at least I got to read for the role I really want, and I got asked to stay and read a bit more, and that's always good! I can't say what the role is, but it would be a really meaty role, and one in which I would grow tremendously as an actor.
For now, give respect to everyone for what they do.
Whatever the job is, respect the job, and those who do it.
Peace, kids.


JeffScape said...

Hah. I hear ya. I'm always nice to the newer actors. Some of the experienced ones tend to be a little... er... unlikable, though.

Kid you not... the best celebrity I've ever worked with was Tommy Lee (and in Atlanta, no less). He knows he's so famous, he no longer cares for pretense.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck with the part, Lisa. Sending you lots of good and lucky vibes!

Dave Dubya said...

One can never underestimate the public's aesthetic sensibilities. Wrestling matches will always have more attendance than a production of Hamlet or a jazz concert.

It's sad that our shallow media culture is only exacerbating the situation.

an average patriot said...

Men, Best of luck Lisa!

Lydia said...

I so hope you get the role, Lisa. Your post was so timely for me because Sunday afternoon we went to Portland to see Long Days Journey Into Night, and were in the third row center (I was so glad because I thought Row A was going to be the very first row and I didn't want to be that close having to look up at the stage)...and I was awe-struck at everything from hand gestures to head tilts to silent pauses to forceful shoves. It was remarkable stunning perfection, well worth the price of the tickets and so much more. I was so moved at the end that I had tears in my eyes and couldn't move, so Michael and I sat there until the entire orchestra section had cleared and then joined the crowd in the stairway to the exit. See my latest blog post for a trailer of the production.
I have enormous respect for you actors!

Lisa Allender said...

JeffScape--I feel ya.
Good to know you are nice to the newbies.Everyone tells me how "incredibly kind" I am, and I'll certainly try to continue to be, Jeff.
I just had to vent, though. ;)
And thank you for commenting, honey! :)
Selma--THANK YOU. Means a lot, since you are the go-to, good-vibes gal! :)
Dave Dubya--Yep, eternal friend(and media expert)Collin Kelley commented to me on phone last night, that "reality TV is to blame, Lisa..." and he's right. It's a kind of "instant celebrity" culture, I guess.
Thanks for stopping in!
Average Patriot--Thank you. And thanks for checking in!
"Long Day's Journey Into Night" is one of my favorite plays of all time.In fact, the role of heroin-addicted Mary(the mother) is one I have always wanted.In the strange-coincidence-category,Lydia, guess what?
I am currently researching my (small, pivotal)role as a heroin-addicted mother in "Just Us", a short film which wil be shot this coming weekend.
Atlanta Director Reggie Price wrote the script.

Lisa Allender said...

Which theatre in Portland?

Lydia said...

It was Artists Repertory Theatre's co-production with Sydney Theatre Company, and showed at The Newmark Theatre. Here is the scoop!.
Robyn Nevin played Mary to perfection. I hope you get to play the role one day. And I am VERY excited about your role in "Just Us." :)

Lisa Allender said...

Lydia--THANK YOU, Lydia! :)

Jolly Roger said...

I absolutely despise, and refuse to watch, "reality TV." All that genre exists for is to try to keep from having to actually pay actors and actresses decent wages. And for the icing on that cake, a lot of stage hands and set people also get to spin their wheels.

Lisa Allender said...

Jolly Roger--Indeed.
"Reality TV" has not only contributed to the lack of "Respect for Acting" that now abounds, but it truly does decrease legit acting jobs(and as you say,tech-ie jobs, too) for us actors. Boo, "Reality" TV.