Treat Actors as Professional Artists; NOT As Stylists, Translators or Low Class Citizens

Treat Actors as Professional Artists; NOT As Stylists, Translators or Low Class Citizens

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Jennifer Rosario started this petition to Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Production Companies and

The life of an Actor is often one of many sacrifices. Pursuing their dreams to work as performers on stage, in films or on television shows to provide entertainment, education and escapism to audiences, requires dedication to training, building their craft, observing humanity, networking, memorizing, studying, competing daily, marketing and branding themselves, all too often working free of charge for credits and ultimately performing when they finally book a show or shoot. The development of an actor’s skill set and acquisition of their performance “tool kit” takes years of dedication and often several considerable financial investments. More than 63,000 actors just in the U.S. face the demanding pressures of their career which often requires them to: work long hours, compromise or consider compromising their beliefs or morals, sacrifice having a family of their own or sacrifice time with their existing families, often sacrifice having a stable home due to a life-style of sofa or hotel surfing (living as road-warriors with their cars loaded with clothing and headshots) and lets not forget the financial sacrifices they make to be available for full days of free auditioning. This alone could be a long list.

It takes a very intelligent, motivated, dedicated, disciplined and determined person to pursue a career as an actor. Many actors are very humble and gentle people and are often well educated professionals with Masters and even Doctorate degrees. They should be respectfully treated as the professionals they are.

However, actors are also expected to replace wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, hair stylists, script translators and in some cases, attorneys. Actors who are unprotected by a union, which is not an option for all actors or available in every market, are overwhelmingly taken advantage of and treated quite poorly. Actors are overall not being additionally compensated for the massive amounts of wardrobe, accessories and styling that are being requested of them.

These styling requests cause the actor to shop for more clothing and accessories (which should be the cost of the production companies), cause the actors to dedicate up to an additional day of unpaid work to shop and or organize all of this wardrobe, cause them extra work on the day of the shoot to style themselves, steam their own clothes on set, attempt to maintain their own appearance while in front of the camera and unable to see themselves, and to lug around multiple heavy suitcases to and from set.

Believe it or not, production also depends on whichever actors bring more options to dress the actors who bring less options. No permission asked most of the time, production simply carelessly rummages through actors’ wardrobes and dresses whomever they wish unless an actor refuses, which no one does due to fear of being labeled as difficult talent.

Putting this extra work on the actor has additional negative effects on the actor AND on the economy. The actor’s focus is often shifted from their on-camera or stage performance and character development to that of styling. Actors sometimes incur injuries or break nails lugging around heavy luggage (not a good thing if they’re also hand modeling that day). The added pressure of these additional roles places an unnecessary stress on actors which can ultimately affect their performances and increase industry burn-out.

Economically, placing these additional demands on actors is putting varying stylists out of business. Hair styling, makeup artistry and wardrobe styling are each separate crafts in which artists specialize in and typically go to school for and get licensing or certifications in.

An actor should have the ability to style themselves but they should be hired to perform as actors, not stylists.

Companies are taking this approach as an attempt to slash their budgets. They figure that actors are “hungry” and they can hire actors as an all-inclusive package without any additional compensation for having the actors doing the jobs of three additional departments on top of the job they actually auditioned for.

Actors should be hired to perform! They should be able to show up on set with their bodies presentable and their minds equipped for their performance! Each other department should be respected as separate crafts.

However, if a company wants the actor to perform these additional functions and the actor is capable of doing so, while it should not be the norm, there needs to be kit fees involves. The kit fees should vary depending on the request with a $200-500 minimum.

Script Translations:

Translations of scripts into other languages also needs to be addressed. Companies are trying to cut budgets by eliminating professional translators and putting that responsibility on bi-lingual actors. However, actors are not being compensated extra for this work nor are they protected legally for their choice of words. When scripts are developed, especially for commercial  products or services, legal and marketing departments need to be responsible for word selections and promises made to consumers. This liability should not be placed on the actor.

Proper Treatment of Actors:

Actors should be provided with covered, applicable heated or cooled seating while waiting to perform. Seating should be provided in the means of an actual chair or sofa. They should not be made to sit on floors or in cruise-line equipment closets to name a few odd industry happenings. They should be provided with at least water throughout the shoot and the opportunity to eat.

Actors should not be “man-handled” by stylists (if there are any on set) , by clients or production crew of any sort. They are living beings and can move their own bodies accordingly.  Actors should not be cursed at or spoken down to or demanded to give their self-supplied clothing to a wardrobe department to keep.

Unfortunately, poor treatment of actors, exploitation and unfair legal liability placements goes beyond what has been addressed here. However, this is a good start!

Thank you for your support and please share this petition to help improve the working conditions of actors whom serve to bring you joy, knowledge, compassion, human recognition and connection, and entertainment through story-telling. 

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