The Revolution will not be produced by Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, or Paramount Pictures.

August 15, 2010 § 4 Comments

by ELENA

The last couple of posts have been about women in film (and the occaisonal woman who directs/shoots/produces films). If I am lucky, I will be one of those women in front of the camera. If I am even luckier, I’ll actually enjoy the project that I’m shooting.

That’s the challenge of being a woman in the performing arts field, who is also a feminist. So much of the available jobs in TV/film/commercials are total and complete crap. Because plays are so expensive to produce (a three-person play with one set will cost at least six figures to produce in New York), casts are shrinking, and so are, you guessed it, roles for women.

One of our first assignments in our Acting For The Camera class was to talk about our classmates’ “types”. My professor was straightforward about what we would be most likely to be cast as [Evidently, I'm a quirky "character" type, who would be good in Meg-Ryan type roles]. Frankly, I don’t always appreciate it when people tell me, as a 20-year-old student, what I’ll likely be doing, based on my looks, for the majority of my career. And this year, the projects I filmed included:

-A wheelchair bound wife, having difficulty handling her disability.
-A bobby-soxer in the Fifties.
-A vagabond, living with a collective of people out of the bed of a pickup truck.
-A German prostitute.
-A cancer patient who makes a suicide pact with another cancer patient

Ie, things not in my supposed “type”.

At my first college, I saw talk of “types” totally destroy my classmates, who were convinced that they would not be able to do anything other than what another classmate or professor suggested. There is nothing more tragic in my mind than a bunch of 18-year-old college students that have been convinced that they cannot do anything other than one specific “type”.

As I think about my post-graduate opportunities, I’m leaning more towards jobs not directly related to performing arts, but ones where I could use some of my strengths that I’ve learned as an actor. Why? Because I would have more freedom than having to go on audition after audition, only to be told that I’m “not right for the job” because I am short/have red hair/do not look like Megan Fox.

One of the best things that I learned at my previous college was to make my own work, rather than waiting for good work to come my way. That has to be the future for film, television, and theatre if we want to see things other than Two and a Half Men and Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

I don’t want to be in the position to have to take the horribly sexist commercial/sitcom/film gig because that is the only work available for me. I’d rather break out, and set my own rules, than be stuck having to follow the rules of an industry that occasionally produces brilliant work, but is so stuck in a mentality of “if it doesn’t make money, it will fail” that they keep on doing the same thing, with the same shitty stereotypes, over and over again.

Plus, why would I want to work in the same industry that still employs Charlie Sheen?

§ 4 Responses to The Revolution will not be produced by Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, or Paramount Pictures.

  • srosengarten1641 says:

    “One of the best things that I learned at my previous college was to make my own work, rather than waiting for good work to come my way.”

    This. So much.

    Have you considered finding like-minded and business savvy people and starting up an independent theater or film company (my plan for when I finish my education)? Or finding/developing a one-woman show that you love (I just finished an incredible month long acting program in London, and one of my favorite teachers strongly suggested this as a way to be independent and make your own work)?

    Acting is a brutal profession that relies on creativity – I so strongly believe that being self-reliant is the best way to both foster and encourage that creativity and get yourself work. We also so need those self-reliant and creative women to pave the way for better roles and opportunities.

    • Elena says:

      That’s very much what I’m interested in doing! Either that, or becoming a certified sex-educator (a university in my home state offers a week long training program, and then goes around the university/local schools, teaching people about real sex education).

  • Maybe I’m just not up on my celebrity factoids, but what’s the matter with Charlie Sheen?

    • Elena says:

      Sheen has faced allegations that he abused his ex-wife Denise Richards, his current wife Brook Mueller, and the he abused prostitutes. And he is still one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood.

      Also, Two and A Half Men is overall a terible show, in which Sheen basically plays himself.

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