Friday, September 7, 2012

And Then I Almost Rage-Quit the Internet

 I promise this will be my last post about trolls...this week. Do I go out seeking trolls? No. Sometimes they find me, and sometimes I stumble across them. Most of the time I try to take the high road and ignore them, but today, I couldn't keep my mouth shut.  I could not stay silent. I was doing some research into joining SAG-AFTRA and looking into getting a loan to pay my union dues and joining fees since my eligibility status is about to change to a "must join" status (remember how I was freaking out about that a while back? I'm better now. I promise.) I had some questions this morning that I couldn't find answers to on the union's website, so I turned to my good ol' pal, Google.  I found a great article in Backstage, but it didn't answer my questions. I turned again to Google.

I came across a blog post by a man named Art Lynch.  In his post, he referred to people who don't join the union immediately as "scabs" like we're less than the all high and mighty union members because we have chosen to delay joining for one reason or another. I personally have worked hard to become eligible to join the actors' union. There is no road map for success in the entertainment industry. While I'm not yet where I want to be in the industry currently, I took a big step up this year.  To quote Frank Sinatra, "I did it my way." For someone who acts like he's so professional and such an expert in this area, Mr. Lynch's blog post is littered with misspellings, poor grammar, and a general air of undue superiority. I wrote (what I think was) a fairly rational argument in his comments section. I doubt he'll approve my comment, so I will share it here on my turf.

My rebuttal to Mr. Art Lynch:
This stance on union-eligible actors seems closed-minded and pompous. I am proudly union-eligible and I got that way through a Taft Hartley, and I have every intention of officially joining the union as soon as possible.

But my definition of "as soon as possible" doesn't sound immediate enough for you based on your post. I am almost at the end of my eligibility period where I "must join" but there are plenty of logical reasons why I am not joining yet. Elaborating on what Anonymous said, if I join tomorrow, then I can no longer accept non-union jobs/theatre jobs to build my resume and my reel. While I am thrilled to be union-eligible, and I have worked very hard for years to get to this point, I know that joining now might not be the wisest decision. I want to develop my craft more, expand my resume and make sure I have a decent reel before I join. Otherwise, it will make it that much more difficult to get work. Who wants to hire a union actor who has no union credits? 

Also, I don't know about you, but $3000 is a helluva lot of money for me. It's more than I make in a month at my "real job" so joining SAG-AFTRA immediately is not even remotely possible right now from a financial standpoint. Last time I checked, my landlord and the grocery store don't accept SAG-AFTRA union cards as valid payment.

While I'm sure there are a handful of actors out there who become eligible to join the union and then "milk" it and/or attempt to abuse the system or "tarnish the brand" that is SAG. But it's ridiculous to assume that everyone who is eligible who doesn't join immediately is like this. I'm sure there are also plenty of naive actors who join the union or buy their way in as soon as possible without enough experience or credits to their name, or without strengthening their own brand - thinking that their union status alone will guarantee them an agent and work, and rocket them to fame and fortune, and that they don't have to work hard to achieve success. Again, I'm sure these types are few in number, and I bet they don't last long in this business.

So, excuse me for continuing to stay on my "selfish" SAG-E path until the timing is right for me to officially join. I am proud to be eligible. I am proud of the hard work I did to get here.  Maybe you should take a second and get off of your high horse and see what SAG-AFTRA has to say about joining:
"...don’t be in a hurry to join unless you are sure that you're ready to compete as a professional. For performers, you should prepare yourself by studying, performing in plays and non-union on-camera projects in order to build your resume and gain valuable experience. The time to join is when it makes sense for you. (Everyone's) situation is different."

Who are you to judge when it's right for someone else to join?

And then I rage-quit the internet
 After replying to Mr. Lynch's post, my hackles were still up and I wanted to keep "SAG-AFTRA Eligible" on everything of mine just out of spite. But, then I became curious as to how other "professionals" in the industry felt on this topic. I found another post talking about union eligible actors that expressed a similar opinion to Mr. Lynch, but I think this second one was worded more practically and didn't come across as a direct lashing out and attack on actors like me. Then I found a very logical list of reasons from a casting director regarding why putting "SAG Eligible" on a resume is not always a wise career choice.  While, these other two posts have a similar opinion as Art Lynch, they approach it in a much more mature fashion. Because of the second two posts, I plan to remove the "eligible" label from my resume and website until I'm officially ready to take the union plunge.  The second two posts made logical and valid arguments, not a hoity-toity temper tantrum. I'm not claiming to have more knowledge than this Art Lynch fellow, if his resume is up-to-date he has had an extensive career and I'm sure has obtained a vast amount of knowledge that he is clearly trying to share with everyone.  But, what he posseses in knowledge, he lacks in tact.

Today's lesson:Trolls aren't just for geeks anymore.  Also, if you are Trolling to try to get people to agree with you, it most likely will not have any positive affects. Don't poke people with a stick and scream "Listen to me, I'm important!"

Wheaton's Law!!! (My Friday battle-cry.)
On that note, everyone enjoy this happy puppy; it's Friday!

TBIF: Thank Boo it's Friday!

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