Working Girl

Looking for work in this industry is more difficult than most, and not just because there are more actors than jobs. A lot of it is who you know, and if you don’t know anyone, chances are you don’t get much work.

In most industries, a company can get sued for discriminating against you based on gender, race, age or simply based on your looks. In acting you can only get jobs if you are the right gender, race, age and look. Talent is secondary, unless you are already a name in which case the make up department will happily make you a prosthetic nose (Nicole Kidman) or let you wear colored contacts (Cameron Diaz) to suit the role. The rest of us are stuck with our God-given mugs and we must apply for jobs accordingly.

I perused through a weekly industry publication which lists upcoming auditions. The front page is filled with great roles in exciting upcoming motion pictures, shooting in locations like MontrĂ©al, Madrid and Romania. But the fine print requests “please hold contact until a full casting breakdown is issued”. The only problem is, a full casting breakdown is never issued, at least not anywhere that I have access to.

There are however plenty of opportunities to work for free, especially if you are:
- Greek-Cypriot/Lebanese children
- A Latin/Mediterranean/South American looking female, late 20s – early 30s, sensual and sad
- A model/dancer with good acting talent with a maximum height of 5’7” (unless they mean Kate Moss, there are no models under 5’7”)
- Have a Geordie accent
- Look like Elvis

I received an e-mail about another casting. It is for a photo shoot with some possible TV work hawking a skin care product:

“Careful and specific applications for: Caucasian actress. She should be elegant, confident and well grounded. Perceived age of 45 years old; however, we are looking to cast younger women who look older than their age as their skin will be better (there will be several close ups). Please note ages on suggestions. Skin tone on the face must be smooth. The actress must be extremely attractive with fantastic skin. No dialogue.”

Now, I think I have good skin and, sure, I can play elegant, confident and grounded. But I’m not applying for the role out of principal. Besides, I don’t want to limit my dating chances down the road if some guy sees the ad and thinks I’m 45.

I wonder how hard it is to do a Geordie accent.