Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Point, Counterpoint

This entry is a reply to an actor's comment at a literary agent's blog piece.

The actor writes: "When I head out to auditions, I bring along my resume. Directors are not the least bit interested in how much work I've done. That resume is all about who they can call to see if I am a pain in the ass to work with and if it is worth casting me."

First, let me state I am not the writer who sent that inappropriate reply to Janet's rejection. I don't write crime fiction. I am a poet, cartoonist, stand-up comic, actor, and retired teacher.

Having said that, let me say I totally disagree with you. I do not know for whom you audition, but casting agents here in NYC are interested in talent and experience, not personalities. They are interested in the quality of the work that the actor can bring. They do not review resumes for the purpose of doing a personality check.

There are many actors who are huge pains in the ass and they work. Their antics do provide some tabloid fodder, but they work. I don't know of any actor who was cast because he was "nice." If that were so, many more actors would have jobs.

Quite honestly, most literary agents are interested only in the quality of the work as well. Trust me, if they discover a literary masterpiece, they would not care if the author was typing naked from Bellevue and had a personality as difficult as Charlie Sheen or Christian Bale.


Charli Armstrong said...

You're right about that, sister! Talent and experience is a plus! If you got it, nothing should stop you. But I should have clarified! Newbies! I'm talking newbies!

When it comes to newbies and it's time to choose, the easiest call to make is to someone on the resume that they know who can give them them the low down. If not, they have to take a chance and hope for the best. It's hard to work with the unpleasant. You do it, but if you can avoid it, why not?

People in the industry talk to each other! Sure the seasoned can be dealt with however begrudgingly. But a newbie?

Why would someone in the query process, trying to build a relationship--however distant--with those who hold the key to a much desired goal want to shove their foot so spectacularly down their throat just to choke on it later?

If someone has a knee jerk reaction that will cause them to send hate mail, imagine what will happen when they have to go through it all over again while their agent is trying to sell the book!

This isn't to say this person will never get an agent or a publisher. But his initial reaction to being rejected makes one wonder if he would be able to take a minor revision!

Contact form here:

Marjorie said...

Charli, thanks for the comment.

I suppose we will have to agree to disagree.

I don't think casting agents make calls to get the lowdown. I think they cast based on auditions. If they think a newbie has talent, she is in.

I think many rejected writers have strong reactions. I have always thought that agents should take the inappropriate mail they receive and throw it away and go on with the work day.

When a big deal is made of it and it is published to the agent's blog, it becomes entertainment for all. And, to create a contest for it just makes it all worse in so many ways.

I was a teacher for 35 years and I am now retired. Many students tried to provoke me when they were angry. I handled it in a professional way. I never posted the angry notes I received. It's just all wrong.

Charli Armstrong said...

You're right, Sister Marjorie.

No doubt casting agents are going to welcome a newbie when she's got chops. But her acting a right fool on the set or backstage is going to get around and may cause other people to pause when considering her.

Who wants the drama?

I think these lit agents and editors can be prone to knee jerk reactions too, so why bait them?

I admire you for never taking the bait of angry notes sent to you. Has anyone ever apologized to you for a misguided note sent on emotion?