I’m an actor it’s my job to do the acting…


Stephanie PressmanWhen work is slow I sometimes turn to Craigslist as a last resort to pick up an acting gig. So long as a project is SAG-AFTRA I’m happy to have work. A few months ago I saw a posting for a sketch comedy series. Sketch is my favorite and I’ve been working with my sketch group (Super Sunday) for about a year and would love to do more. I have experience producing, writing, acting, ACing, running sound, and editing sketch. I would be an asset to any on-camera sketch team. So, I sent them my reel and they responded right away that they wanted me to join them.

I then asked what kind of camera they were shooting on. Their response to my question was one I had never seen before.

They said they didn’t want to work with me if I cared what camera they were using. In the past, actors that asked what camera they used cared more about how their hair looked than the content of the piece.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen any of my work but I think it’s clear I don’t care how my hair looks. I don’t ever need to feel my footage is flattering. Most of the time it isn’t. I’m just happy to have footage out there of me. I’m not a size 2, my curly hair generally is straightened (because bangs and curls don’t mix) and when the slightest bit of moisture or wind  is present it becomes a frizzy jungle of auburn, from most camera angles I have more chins than I care for, but I don’t care. There are a lot of vain actors out there, that act to get praise and love they didn’t get in childhood. They care about how they look more than their performance and I get that. That’s not at all me. I felt super insulted.I’m an actor it’s my job to do the acting. It’s the DP’s job to pick the angles. It’s the director and hair person’s job to look at my hair. It’s continuity and scripty’s job to make sure it looks the same in the close up as it did in the wide shot.  It is my job to stand where I’m supposed to and know what to I’m supposed to say. It’s my job to tell a story in the best possible way.

People come in all shapes and sizes and all of those need to be portrayed in the entertainment industry, including frizzy, auburn haired, size 10, sexy ladies, ladies with crazy unruly hair, and ladies who have 2 chins when shot from a low angle.

I asked about the camera because it was an unpaid project. A SAG-AFTRA, new media, deferred payment deal. I figured if I knew what kind of camera they were using it would give me a clue to the level of professionalism of the project. Not to mention I own a great camera they could borrow if they didn’t have access to one. But, they were super quick to jump to conclusions and make unfair judgements on my character. It truly is their loss.

The lesson I’ve learned…

Be wary of jobs found on Craigslist and always ask questions. I may have lost this gig but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to work with people that make quick assumptions about me without anything to base it on.