Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Actors: What Do You Think of This?

This is a page from a recent book on managing your career as an actor. My question is normative, not descriptive; not "Is this the way it is," but "Is this the way it oughta be?" And if you answer "no" to that question, to quote TalkingPoints.com: "psssst. Do something."
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RVCBard said...

*clicks her heels 3 times*

CultureFuture said...

My first response was, "Who put the Public at the top?" It's a very ill-defined category.

But to answer your question, I'm not necessarily opposed to the heirarchy, except with a few caveats.

1) "A List Stars." I suppose a star-system is unavoidable, has always been there and probably will always be, but it's pretty infuriating to see them completely set apart from all the other actors. At the very least, unions should be a source of solidarity between the "A List Star" and the apparently worth-deprived actor. After all, if you were to look at actors as a group which included the stars, then actors wouldn't be so easy to relegate to the bottom of the totem pole (which it seems is mostly to make a point about how the world will screw you unless you fight it tooth and nail). That's the way it should be: actors who have influence helping actors who don't when they can.

2) "Buyers" and "Sellers." That's just a ridiculous distinction to me. Everyone in this pyramid is buying and selling (with the exception of making the public). Now, if this author wanted to distinguish between "Creators" and "Distributors," he might have something more accurate... except that writers, directors, and casting directors would be under the "bold black line." And the way that it /should/ be is that everyone in this pyramid (*including* the public) should see themselves as /creators/ instead of buyers and sellers.

In the end, I guess I'm not reacting so much to the 'heirarchy' (it turns out that executive producers do have the most say over what gets produced) but to the purpose so crassly indicated by the sidebar. Seriously, we're not making tires.

dennis baker said...

I see the pyramid as true. Trying to think outside the box (or the triangle in this case) I am not sure how things would be switched.

If one is creating their own work and presenting it directly to the public it removes the multitude of middle men. This is seems in clear form currently in the music world with the internet busting up the old model.

As for the categories of sellers and buyers I don't know if those categories would change so fast in the above example. I would love to think it is a more communal aspect in that the two groups are in a dialogue and less in a consumer drive exchange, but the average joe buyer might not see it that way.

I am not surprised by the image, but disturbed all the same. I can't articulate much past that.

Christopher said...

The organization of the pyramid is certainly debatable, but I think the basic idea here is not far off.

I would certainly put agents, managers and unions below the actors. We pay them for services, not the other way around.

As the article says though, we must think of ourselves as the CEO of our own company; In other words, see yourself as high up the pyramid as you can rationalize.

I think to be aware of what you are 'selling', who you are selling it to, and who you are 'buying' services from is very important. To have a concrete understanding of those notions will give us confidence in the business end of our art, even if each person understands it a bit differently.