Photos of Conan in Movies

I'm A Director, Scriptwriter, Cameraman, Actor And Extra

Thursday, 03 February 2011

Seriously I have had conversations with quiet a few people like this, a couple even had business cards made up with all their 'professions' listed on it.

They thought they were covering all the bases and it would maximise their chances for work, little did they know that in fact no-one in their right mind would ever hire them for anything.... ever....

Not even as the low paid unskilled labourer of the film world - the Extra ....

When your working on a movie, and even a very, very cheap "no budget" movie like Bangkok Adrenaline  it still costs between us$10,000-$15,000 a day to film. Keeping that in mind are you going to hire the best professional specialists you can find, or are you going to hire a bunch of Jack-Of-All-Trades guys who can do a little of everything averagely?

Put it this way. You live in a nice $1 million house (it is same value as a very low budget movie). You have a small electrical fire which did not cause damage but needs to be fixed or you it will cost you a lot. Who are you going to hire? The guy with Electrician and a bunch of letters after his name, or the guy who has Electrician, Plumber, Handyman, AND casual labourer written on his business card?

Or you own a restaurant you need a new Chef. Are you going to hire the "Chef" or the "Chef, Cook, and Dishwasher"?

See what I am getting at? Your value is only as high as the lowest skill you are willing to work at.

It is obvious to everyone, except the guy with the silly card, that he;

  1. Does not value himself or his work
  2. Is desperate and there must be a reason for this
  3. Is not confident in his abilities
  4. Or he is straight out lying about his qualifications

No one is going to hire an Lead Actor or Director who also works as an Extra, because in the scheme of things he is an Extra not a Director, not a Lead. If he was even an average Director or Lead Actor then he would not have to work as an Extra.

And even as an Extra he won't find employment because once the Casting Director sees this all-in-one business card then they are going to chuck your name off the list because you are more likely on set to go around annoying the important people because basically you said on your card you know it all and that you think you are better than just an Extra.

I have seen this on a low, low, low budget shoot before when a assistant cameraman started telling the Director and the Producer they were doing it wrong and started trying to take over the shoot. It did not go down well at all and his name went around the circles of those working in the local film industry quick smart. And the person who recommended him looked like a right fool and damaged his own reputation (me - lesson learned).

This is  why when people ask me to help them get into a movie I just delete the email these days. Unless I have worked with them, not just had a drink with them, or know them from the gym, unless I have actually worked with them then I will not recommend them... and even then I might have reservations.

If you are good at your job you will work in your chosen profession, it might take time as you build your reputation but you will work.

If you are desperate you'll do anything you think you can get into to pay the bills. If you are a wishful thinker (i.e. lazy) then you might think you just need to get that one Directing job and you'll be discovered as the next Quentin Tarantino. You are never going to win the lottery without buying a ticket and the only way to buy a ticket in this industry is through hard work.

Even those 'lucky' enough to be born into a movie family still spend their youth growing up and being around movie people, the industry, and movie sets and learn the job through 15-20 years of association. 

Oh, and to say they are a Director - ok what did you direct? One short film of the family on holiday or did their movie get distribution?

They are a scriptwriter? For which produced movie? How did it do?

There are too many non achievers running around claiming they are scriptwriters as it is hard to prove otherwise, sounds glamorous and stupid girls might sleep with them to 'secure' a part in this 'great upcoming movie'. Don't laugh I have seen idiots try this. I've even met a "Hollywood Scriptwriter" in London.... until a waitress he was trying to chat up introduced us. When I started talking shop he had no idea how to answer. These were simple questions that anyone with a modicum of experience could have answered at which point he had to be somewhere else very quickly. Needless to say the waitress laughed at his hasty retreat.

This is even the basis for a central relationship in a movie script I have read (that is still trying to secure final funding) for the lead character. Why did I have this script? Ahh... well that is another story... 

You are not a Scriptwriter or a Director until you have done something, made something, something successful would help a lot, something recognised within the industry you purport to work in. 

Finally IF you do happen to have a couple of skills you are good in - then you can afford to get a seperate business card made for each skill.

For example when i was working as a freelance Internet Advertiser I also did websites (well I took the job and contracted most of it out) as I did need the money desperately due to an unwanted career change . I was also trying to run my Acting career the rare occasion that an audition came up (not very well I might add) so on any given day I would have 3 different business cards for myself in my wallet and I would pass out the appropriate card to each potential client.

We have a saying in Australia, it may well be universal, but it goes "If you are going to do a job, do it well." I think this best reflects the message of this article. Stop running around trying to do 7 different things and concetrate on your main focus. Sure do what other work you need to survive but try to align your survival job with your long term career goals.

Like me and this website , I like writing so much that I even write books for sale from here (check the left hand column for ads) but that is all aligned to indirectly help my acting career significantly in the future plans for my life journey. This website and the book sales have been my only regular means of support for over 3 years now. It is also through this website and associated online self promotions that I have leap frogged from the Asian film market into the mainstream US film market.

Focus on finding and achieving your life goals  and get to it.

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