Let me start with some good news. Go on over to my IMDb page to find out about my first foray into being a 1st AD: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5356965/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1 The feature is set to film in November. I’ll definitely need to read up on my Tony Bill film set terminology. In all seriousness, I’ve been on a number of sets and produced short films, so I have a solid idea of how to be a great 1st AD.
And now into the main topic of the blog post: the actress mind taffy I’ve had to contend with, namely varying opinions on pursuing Union work for little Non-Union me. I’ve encountered the SAG old-garde who want to make sure that the Union is only filled with “qualified members” and that being Union is the only way to be called a professional. There is also the attitude that there are so many qualified Union people, that Non-Union people shouldn’t take their jobs or even submit because they aren’t “professional” and will just waste the casting director’s time. I thought we were all supposed to be on the same team. Let’s remember that Unions are about fair pay and working conditions, not whether someone thinks you deserve it. One wonderful acting teacher told me that the gigs are all “lottery tickets.” And don’t forget all the people who Taft-Hartleyed themselves before the budget requirement on New Media. Is someone going to take away their membership because they didn’t “earn it?” I certainly wouldn’t! Rise anyway you can, my colleagues! Unions rise and fall based on contributions to the pension, and the more members the merrier.
There was a long e-mail chain post 15 years ago in the Oregon Actors Yahoo groups about what constitutes a professional. Yes, anyone can call themself an actor, but no one gets to arbitrarily decide who gets to do that. Anyone who has been doing it for 15 years like yours truly and has trained ridiculously with a Post-Graduate Certificate in acting from British drama school, deserves some respect you’d think. (Writer/Producer also!) I’m not just sitting here doing nothing. But I’m grouped by default with that kid from Ohio who just one day decided to pursue acting. And that really hurts. One retired Oregon casting director many years ago gave me a long speech about buses of wannabes coming to LA every week and essentially not to think I’d ever make it or think I’m something special. Well-meaning veterans say things to the younger crowd (or those who don’t age) in an effort to give them what they believe to be true, but it’s really discouragement and that just makes life harder.
I’ll go back to drinking tea now and petting my imaginary cats.