Education a must

We hear statistics all the time about how many actors ever earn a living from performing, and the numbers work in the favour of a career in bar tending or shop assisting. But yet, we keep the dream alive by keeping ourselves out there, hoping we are one of the few who will make a living from our craft.

We hear statistics all the time about how many actors ever earn a living from performing, and the numbers work in the favour of a career in bar tending or shop assisting. But yet, we keep the dream alive by keeping ourselves out there, hoping we are one of the few who will make a living from our craft.

I often get emails or Facebook messages (we really are to easily contacted nowadays) from people who are aspiring actors who ask about how they can become an actor or more importantly, a successful actor. I wish I knew, I’d make a lot of money selling that secret. But last week I got an email from an old school friend’s younger sister who had done some acting classes and was looking at getting some work. She asked what agents she should be approaching because her most recent experiences had been shockers. She did what so many people have done and answered an ad in the classified section of the newspaper for an agent looking for actors. While most agents only open their books a few times a year, these people can’t seem to get enough performers on their books, advertising in every issue of your local paper. And wow do they charge you for the “honour” of being on their books. Only dodgy agents and banks seem to be able to get away with charging that many fees. So this poor girl with stars in her eyes paid all this money and thought that would mean she’d start getting castings. Afraid not. She sat on their books for a year without a single call from them. And this story isn’t rare, in fact it’s been done to death.

We need better education for aspiring performers and we need these dodgy agents shut down, because no matter how many people curse their name, there will always be a new breed of young people with Mum’s or their own hard earned money to flush away. But the best thing we can do is to keep the conversation going, and not to let anyone sign with an agent more concerned with padding their books than finding work for their talent. Where’s Today Tonight when you need them …..

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