Why do we slam the door in each others’ faces?

Convener(s): Wendy Windle           

Participants: Jean-Paul Van Cauwelaut, Sarah Brignal, Sin Inqul, Suzy Harvey, Haley Radford, Alan Cox (and a few others who didn’t sign, but were very nice)

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: 

We quickly established that this issue  - why do we not help each other to succeed more? – needed to be approached from the point of view of, on the one hand, actors and the other, casting/ directors. 

As actors there is a feeling that we are not willing to help each other succeed.  As if success is a limited thing that one must hog for oneself by hoarding information and resources.  Also, actors only ever ask if you are employed when they are.  Sin likened it – brilliantly- to children eying each other up and asking ‘how old are you?’  The oldest child wins.  As does the gainfully employed actor. 

Perhaps it is this awful trap actors fall into of equating their self esteem with their level of work that causes this fear reaction to having others find work if we have not.  Some how this translates into behaviors such as not telling friends about auditions they might be perfect for when we want the job ourselves.  As if we are really ever in competition with each other!  The right person will get the job no matter what!!!

Actors can be mean to each other when they are successful and feel ‘better’ than you.  Only to be reduced to shivering wrecks when the work runs out.  It’s only a job!  You are still a valid human being! 

Also discussed was the phenomenon (amongst all members of the profession) of slamming the door in the face of people who are too successful!  Not giving the confident, accomplished, i.e. ‘scary’ actress a job over the nice ‘safe’ easy to get along with type.

Someone rather excellently pointed out that the problem is that we are English.  This is why we do not openly discuss with our peers that we are afraid of failing, so we act strangely towards each other. 

Moving on to casting/ directors, there is a class system in place it seems where every one is waiting for you to ‘be someone.’  Don’t write to me until you are someone.  WHAT THE?!  Again an English thing as in America there is a feeling that casting officials really do want you to be the next big thing and want you to call them – within reason.  Why is it that an actor here can be thoroughly rejected, and the next week land a big part, then suddenly they have demi-god status?  Ah, well, as long as they are still nice to their friends….

In conclusion, fear seems to be driving the industry.  Don’t be afraid!  Celebrate each other’s successes!  You will be next.  Success will come to us all – it might not be the way you thought you wanted it, but then you have just been saved from a life you would not enjoy.  Keep the doors open for each other.  Share your resources.  The pie is big enough for us all – and your job is not who you are.  It’s just a job.  It doesn’t make you any better or worse than any body else.