09 October 2006

Dieing industry

Here is a fact that many of you out there will dispute: Acting is a dieing profession.

I can't blame you for not believing it, it doesn't make sense. Why would the number of people choosing such a cushy, easy, well-paid job be going down? Well, that would be because it is none of those things.

It could be argued that it never was any of those things, however a strong case could be made for cushy and well-paid. But now at least, many actors are finding themselves laying down a lot of money and getting little in return. Far from being well paid, these people are losing money because they act.

And cushy it ain't. Early in one's career, there's no glamour at all. It's a world of late nights in winter, sleeping through the day in the cheapest hotels fit for human habitation and getting seen by very few people.

But why? It's simple. The reason the rest of the world is fucked up stems from lawyers. So the acting world's problems stem from the agencies. Oh sure, there's the odd good one, but the majority of agencies are rackets.

Permit me to explain. In order to get an audition for a role, one must either gain it by open audition (Rare and extremely unlikely) or else be on the books of an agency. Unfortunately, most agencies require training and/or a part to one's name before they let you on their books. Now, if you don't have the money for training and can never make it to an open audition, this makes that impossible. So in an attempt to corner the untapped talent market, some agencies have dropped such requirements.

Unfortunately, these agnecies almost always charge more in terms of fees than agencies for "professional" actors. They also turn up less significant roles and tend mainly to offer roles in adverts for peanuts. But if you can't afford the training necessary for a professional agency, how on earth are you meant to afford a larger representation fee for lesser results?

Acting? Yeah, it's killing itself. And Equity (UK Actors Union) refuse to lift a finger to help their non-memebrs (They have the same requirements as professional agencies).

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