Don’t Be This Actor! – #1 Professional Relationship Killer

July 16, 2014 at 8:30 am | Posted in acting, actors, Actors & Agents, entertainment, relationships | Leave a comment
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Paul RussellJustin—never one to be mistaken for for Mr. Congeniality—turned to his buddy and quipped, “If I go to a bar I’m bound to get lucky by night’s end.”

Sean peered at him. “Just because you’re single and breathing doesn’t mean everyone will drop a condom for you.”

Justin’s blind sense of entitlement excels in some opportunistic actors who masquerade as friends to colleagues but under their congenial masks they’re social piranhas; feeding their career’s insatiable ambition appetite from a trough of other’s good will.

Casting directors, directors, talent representatives,  producers, and universally aware actors often encounter the-world-belongs-to-me thespians who pretend friendship in hopes of leveraging career opportunities. Repulsed by repetitious actor retailing, talent champions, entertainment employers, and artists favoring integrity over an ambitious agenda, avoid the egocentric actor who leverages career momentum by offering a false friendship.

Recently a friend, who has furthered the career goals of many industry and household known actors, wearily commented that the actors he’d helped for decades and purported to term him ‘friend’ no longer contact him or return his ‘how are you’ inquiries since his pursuing a new career beyond entertainment. He’s no longer of use to their business aspirations. On occasion an actor will randomly e-mail him inquiring halfheartedly, “How’s life?” Then follows quickly the true outreach’s purpose; the social piranha desires career advancement assistance.

Another entertainment industry peer voiced similar of her being wanted by actors only for what she had to offer to representing their careers. As an agent of three plus decades, who was formerly an actress, she provides her knowledge of audition technique and scene study at various studios. When she’s approached by actors seeking her for classes too many of the actors don’t first ask, “How can you guide me with this challenge in my skills I’m having?” Instead the actors ask, “If I study with you, will you also represent me?” Her response is, “One of my loves is sharing my experience and industry knowledge in order to benefit an actor’s skill set. I don’t teach for pay-to-play. I teach because I love actors.” She’ s lost many prospective students with her answer.

I received an e-mail, similar to many I receive from actors never met:

“Thanks for all the info you post and opportunities to learn – I ordered your book from Amazon earlier today.”

I smile, until…

“Do you have a role for me? I want your feedback on my reel at **********.”

The actress doesn’t hear her shower beckoning her.

Ability and appropriateness are the first major factors to winning career goals. Honest intent, without exploitation, of your relations is equally as important a factor. No one is entitled to anything beyond living freely in pursuit of joy.

ACTING: Make It Your BusinessWhen reflecting upon your industry relations, or you’re tempted to link via a social network with industry ask yourself,  “Do I want to leverage (i.e. use) this person for my goals? Or do I want to build a relationship with this person I get so we both get to know the other for ourselves, and not for what we each do?”

Honest friendships foster mutual success, and opportunity.

My Best,

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Elon, Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit

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