Naomie Christensen: Reality Check

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reality Check

Often an Actor's best friend is realism. Know how the ranking system works and standards for Directors and Actors. There three main types of compensation: dollar amounts, points and recognition. The dollar amount is affected by points and recognition. Ghost Writers make the same amount of money as professional writers, because they don't get royalties or recognition.

Everyone is aware that actors negotiate contracts; however, there are underlying options. Points are a percentage of ticket or DVD sales. Lead and supporting actors might take less money to own stock in the movie. Producers also like this option, because compensation is related to merit. The Actor or Actress makes more money if the movie is successful.

Are you no one, mildly famous, famous, superstar or infamous? Recognition is important to entertainers. It establishes income levels. Even an attractive no one is limited to background work and bit parts in independent films. Someone who is mildly famous has better paying roles, even if mainly a background actor. Famous people belong to unions and most people recognize them. They have managers and directors send them scripts. Superstars set their pay scale. Virtually everyone knows them. Fans perpetuate their reputation. Infamous people have reputations of tyranny. Finding work on any level is haphazard. They are divas and jerks.

Ranking is from 1 to 4. A no one is a 1 and a superstar is a 4. Infamous people are a half step lower than their current rank. Rank affects the importance of points and reputation. Usually, people move between the ranks by accepting points as part of their gratuity. A director who works with superstars is taking a chance on someone famous. However, a famous person can make more money if the movie is successful.

Supporting actors often pay to have their names in the opening credits, while it is free to superstars. Producers want to make money. This means hiring people who make movies successful. People think this is related to popularity; however, people become popular through provoking and memorable performances. Having name recognition leads to sales.

When directors and actors have the same rank, the contracts can be straightforward. A no name filmmaker and actor expend time in order to gain experience. They are both equally capable of moving up in rank. Mildly famous directors pay mildly famous actors to be in a film, because they know they will make a certain amount of money based on their own reputation. Major production studios only want to deal with famous people and superstars. Quality control insures a profit.

How does someone gain a reputation? People with acting degrees are trained in multiple arts. They can work in theater, television, film and commercials. Every time someone sees your body of work, it establishes your reputation. Becoming someone to someone else doesn't require a degree. Sometimes it is as simple as belonging to a club or talking to people. Name recognition and reputation are extremely important; however, performance is the dividing line between fame, stagnation and infamy.

After a certain level of fame, audiences lose interest. It takes a long time to get into major films or television. Everyone talks about the "big break." This is essentially the first time they were seen by a large audience. It is difficult to get auditions and monetary compensation does not equal success. Stars reach an apex and then disappear. You would think after being on a television sitcom they would have everything, yet they are no better for the experience.

Always give your best performance regardless if it is a paid or unpaid job. It will be seen by someone else and could lead to better roles in the future. Never take anything for granted. When people see you can sell tickets, your rank moves up and people pay to have you in their production. It is all about being the best person for the role. Having experience and skills, so directors know what they are getting.

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