Don’t Badmouth Any Acting Jobs

Leeann Dearing

Whether you enjoy new, up-and-coming, or star status as an actor, you will inevitably take on roles that don’t excite you and projects in which you cannot fully believe. Perhaps the character is two-dimensional or inconsistent. The writing is elementary. The plot has holes the size of the Pacific Ocean. The acting is poor. The directing leaves much to be desired. The editing is all wrong. The score renders the whole project cheesy. The set is rudimentary. The special effects are outdated. The cast was lazy. The crew was lazier. Everything was amateur. No one knew what they were doing.

Whatever the issue,  it’s best to remain mum. How long? Forever.

That isn’t to say that you never reveal anything negative about your own performance, or rave about a project that you thought to be lousy or mediocre. Critiques are part of life and help everyone, including yourself, to grow. And your audience finds a touch of honesty and candor refreshing. What you must avoid, however, is criticizing, bashing, making fun of, putting down, slandering, and otherwise being downright negative about a project of which you were part. In other words, don’t badmouth any acting jobs.

Why? Well, for starters, it’s bad business. We all have had jobs we didn’t like, and bosses and coworkers we’ve disliked even more so. Some rules are unfair or simply asinine. Some tasks are silly, embarrassing, or seemingly useless. Still, badmouthing bad jobs is bad business sense. And criticisms and poor behavior generally come back to bite you later.

The entertainment industry is often just as much about who you know as it is how much talent and training you possess. It’s a network, and despite its size, a tight-knit community. Ever notice how certain directors often use actors they like in multiple projects? Actors suddenly “detach” from a project, or fail to land one for which they were a shoe-in, when gossip blogs catch wind of distasteful comments they once uttered about a former project or producer. Make yourself indispensable to a film, television show, commercial, or play–any project–by not only illustrating that you and you alone could fit the character in question but also that you are the most likable and hardworking person with whom they have ever worked. As they say, a good reputation takes a lifetime to build, and only a moment to ruin. And in such a connected community and perhaps with the world looking on, you should guard your reputation closely.

There is something else to consider: your potential fan base. Have you ever heard one of your favorite actors make fun of or lament a role of his or hers that you loved? How about a director insulting one of your favorite movies? If you’re lucky, it only dampens your fondness for and sours your memories of the film/show/play slightly. Whether they intended for their comments to offend, still they can be very disappointing. Sometimes your introduction to an actor is in a film that wouldn’t contend for any Oscars but which entertained and enthused you nonetheless. Or a cheesy commercial. Or a guest appearance on a hokey television show. For whatever reason, the performance endeared that actor to you, and you find yourself watching anything he or she does on screen or on stage, at first fueled by sentiment and later by improved talent and note-worthy performances.

You never know who will see what you do, no matter how significant or obscure the role may seem at the time. This should prove motivation to not only put in your best performance every time–no matter the role, no matter the project–but also to never speak ill of it. In doing so, you might just be insulting a fan–or a fan base.

There will always be people out there who don’t like what you do for no legitimate reason. In this business, and in life, you cannot afford to go around giving people legitimate ones.

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