Monday, June 11, 2012

Adventures in Show Business

As a (trying-to-be-working) actor, and as most actors, I subscribe to several websites/online networks that list casting notices. These notices include big-time union films or TV shows, local theatre, indie films, and (mostly) student films. 

Oh, student are a double-edge sword. If it's a well-done film, awesome! You now have a small piece to put on your reel, but no paycheck. If it's a not-so-well-done film, (*cue Price Is Right fail music*) then too-bad-so-sad, you just wasted your time and talent on a sorry waste of space that you pray will never see the light of day.

This all being said, I just HAD to share this latest character description I just received in my inbox.  Keep in mind, this is what is supposed to entice me to submit my head shot and resume to be considered to audition, also I have not changed the wording, grammar, or the format.

 Character: The Prostitute- You will act the prostitute. PLEASE NOTE THAT in the story you give the customer a fellatio. but you do NOT actually give him anything. he does NOT even take off his pants. if you have clothes like the one in the movie taxi driver, it will be great.

Did you see it? Did you see the train wreck of words happen right before your very eyes? Let's break it down now.

Thank you, director. Thank you for telling me that i will be acting, just in case I was unsure what i was signing up for when subscribing to a "casting notice" and paying a monthly sum to do so. But let's get to the real heavy-duty tragedy of this here description. Now, I don't consider myself an expert in sexual acts, but how does one person give someone else "A fellatio" exactly??? Technically speaking, the word fellatio is a noun-according to Webster-but how awkward is that phrase?! Did you ever take an English class young man? (Please, you know a dude wrote this...that and his first name is on the casting notice.) I think the slightly more grammatically correct and less awkward way to phrase that is, "...the character will perform fellatio on a male customer." But maybe that's just me being nit-picky.

What is my favorite part about this student film character description, you ask? It's a toss-up, but I'm definitely leaning towards the part at the end that tells me to dress in "clothes like the one from taxi driver." The grammar nerd inside of me is screaming violently about proper nouns, and qualifiers and quantifiers, but I won't go there right now, lest grammar nerd takes over and this becomes the longest blog post ever about something so, so stupid. Instead, my question is, which clothes are you speaking of, dear, dear director? There are lots of clothes in Taxi Driver.

There's this lovely ensemble.
Columbia Pictures

But you were probably thinking of this one, all covered in blood, right?
Oh, wait! That's right, this role is for a female prostitute. The director was probably referring to one of the outfits worn by the 13-year-old prostitute in the film, portrayed by the lovely and talented Jodie Foster. But based on the director's description, how would one know that unless they were familiar with the film? Any actor worth their salt is familiar with Taxi Driver, but any actor worth their salt is probably not going to give this student film description a second glance, yet alone submit for casting.

This 13-year-old is more talented than I might ever be.
What is my other favorite part about this casting notice? The fact that the director/student has clearly specified that the actress he casts will not actually be doing any sexual acts. PHEW! I was so worried there for a minute. I was concerned that were I to get cast by this kid who is not paying me, in his film that is going to be used solely for educational/school purposes, I would actually be required to give some stranger a BJ for the sake of this kid's grade. Wow.  Thank you for clearing that up.  Dodged that bullet, didn't I?!

It kind of makes me question what people learn in film school.  I mean, do they explain to young wanna-be directors that what you see on the TV/film screen isn't actually happening? If you read any interview with an actor who has filmed a "love" scene, they will mostly all say what an uncomfortable and not-sexy experience it is.

Lesson 1: This girl is not actually a prostitute, kids.

And this man is not actually a taxi driver.

What I guess I'm trying to say is, use grammar and spell check, kids! Also, read your sentence out loud to someone else before you publish it. If you don't put out quality, you probably won't get back quality. Short-story-long: I did not submit for this casting call, mostly because of the grammar and sentence structure, but also because I've already portrayed enough prostitutes and I'm looking to expand my character choices, but that's another story for another blog...

Insert picture of me looking like a prostitute here.

(Sorry, I couldn't actually find one.)

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