This is a message that I received today from Bob Fraser (I’m subscribed to his mailing list) and I wanted to share with you guys. This is an issue a lot of us may face or have faced especially if you are just starting out and most of the work you do is for little to no pay! I personally am not the person to bail out on anyone that I have committed to especially knowing that we have reached a point where finding someone to replace me or to make any changes will likely be impossible! It’s all about building great relationships and having a great working reputation that can carry you a long way in this industry!
I get emails all the time from actors who find that
they are in a ‘pickle.’
Here’s the scenario: The actor has signed on to do
is offered a good paying gig – which means leaving
the ‘small’ show.
The ‘pickle’ is whether the actor leaves the ‘small’
thing (putting everyone else involved in their own
‘pickle’) … or does the actor honor his (or her)
commitment to the first show.
I’d like to give you my opinion – from a producer’s
And, by the way, it’s a perspective that plans for
long term success in our business.
It’s extremely important, at every stage of your
career, to be very discerning (‘picky’) about what
you choose to do (to commit to).
This “something better scenario is the big reason
for being choosy in the first place.
Here’s why: No matter what you are doing, something
better will always come along – guaranteed. And the
way you behave in that circumstance will determine
how you are viewed by producers.
In other words, it’s not about your personal sense
of integrity … it’s about the PERCEPTION of your
integrity – by those who do the hiring.
There are myriad examples of actors who’ve had some
success on television getting the call from someone
who wants them to transition into feature films.
For instance, famously, Tom Selleck was the first
choice for Indiana Jones, but the company producing
his hit show, Magnum P.I. just couldn’t see a way
to release him for the film – and still keep the
series delivered on schedule.
Now, an undeniable reality of our business is this –
the star of a TV series has an enormous amount of
Especially a lead in a one camera filmed show.
So, In this case, Tom could have very easily had his
agents communicate how “unhappy” he would be if the
producers didn’t figure out a way for him to be made
available to do Raiders.
That ‘unhappiness’ would be manifested in regular
tardiness, low performance energy, constant script
arguments, and in general – a behavior pattern that
would surely have cost the company lots of time and
tons of money.
Believe me, if Tom’s agent had made that call, the
producers would have ‘caved.’
That’s simply the reality of a TV star’s ‘power.’
Many series stars have used this ‘power’ to get what
Tom Selleck didn’t. He dealt with his disappointment
and continued to deliver on Magnum.
Every producer in town saw his behavior and he has
enjoyed a stellar reputation among the buyers ever
since. “He’s a smart business man.”
A similar situation happened with George Clooney.
George could have gotten out of his contract with
E.R. and started his film career a few years earlier
– but he chose to honor his commitment – a contract
he’d signed when he was a ‘nobody.’
Again, his behavior was noticed by those who do the
hiring – and to this day he enjoys one of the best
reputations in the industry for loyalty, business
sense and trustworthiness.
You can’t buy that sort of reputation in our biz.
As a result of that decision – it’s very unlikely
that George will ever find himself “out of work.”
Producers trust him.
actors (I’m sure you can name a few) who chose to
‘go for the better deal’ only to find, a few years
later, that the offers started drying up.
This unfortunate situation was almost never because
the actor in question wasn’t delivering, or wasn’t
talented. It’s because the producers and production
companies had a viewpoint about the actor that was
formed when the actor ‘opted out’ of one job to take
a “better” project – and cost some fellow producer
some serious coin.
So, when you choose to do a show – it should be in
the knowledge that you intend to do it to the best
of your ability – whether a “better” opportunity
comes along … or not.
Because that’s a habit worth building.
Here’s the bottom line: The people in our industry
who are in the position to hire actors have very
long memories – and they talk to each other.
So, my advice is simple: Be very careful about what
you practice doing today – because that is what you
will get good at doing.
If you view your business in a way that allows you
to dump one gig because another – ‘better’ – gig
comes along … you will be building a mindset that
can sink you, even in success.
It’s not about whether a show at a small-ish theatre
pays – or not. Or what your rights are … or whether
that low level job is all that important … or what
your gut tells you …
It’s about building the sort of business reputation
in our ‘small town’ that keeps you employed over a
long period of time.
You will be building your habits (and in large part
your reputation) with every choice you make … now
and in success.
Have a great weekend, and as always …
Copyright © 2008 Bob Fraser Productions All Rights Reserved