"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Taking Advantage of Actors

If you live in LA and need money, the easiest thing to do is take advantage of actors. We have stars in our eyes, our head in the clouds, and SAG background vouchers to earn! In fact, one time, the Love of My Life, was parking his car along Ventura Blvd when someone started rapping on his window.
"You! You are going to have a great year! Very lucky! Make a lot of money! You are very lucky! Congratulations!"
Confused, he walked out to better understand this guy, who kept nodding and saying, "Yes, come with me, you have a very lucky year ahead! I'm psychic! I know these things! Come do a reading!" And before Love of My Life could protest, he continued, "You're an actor, yes?"

Cause actors are easy marks.

I was in second grade when a kid named Julio and a few of his friends came up to me at lunch. We weren't in the same class so it was extremely strange for him to come up the table I was sitting at and say, "You're pretty." We didn't know each other at all. Then he smiled and said, "Pretty ugly."

I've been wary of compliments from people I don't know ever since.

And I just received this email:
Dear Lira,

Congratulations! Jen here, and your blog, The Struggling Actress, is a
Master Blog of Performance Arts!

We've scoured the web looking for amazing blogs that not only are great in
content, but informative and helpful when needed.  And we've determined your
blog to be such!  We like to call it a Master of its category!

You can see your blog and others at: [redacted]
As a winner, we honor you by presenting you with an awards badge.  You can
get your badge at the bottom of our winner's page, just to show your readers
that you are a Master.

If you choose to accept or decline to be recognized, please let me know.

Please do not hesitate to call or email if you have any questions.  Again,
Congratulations, and keep up the awesome work!

Jen [redacted]
Here's what's weird - "Jen here..." Hi Jen. I don't know you. And who starts a professional email like that?
"scoured the web" More like Google searched.
And since they gave me a link, I went to it. 46 actor/film related blogs. That's like what, three Google pages? I mean, come on. And none of them were hyperlinked. It was just a really lazy example of:

Trying to get free advertising. (The little "blog award" is a button that says "Master Blogger!" which is linked directly to their own website to try and sell you online classes.) 

Because creating a blog button, Googling three pages of actor/film blogs and then getting 46 bloggers to advertise for them for free could go out to 1,000+ potential readers for simply taking all of what, 20 minutes of work?

But we actors love flattery. We'll take it when we don't know where it comes from or why, because we're a touch narcissistic and every character we portray starts with "Why do I do that?" Everything is about us.

But be wary. People will find ways to exploit you so that THEY can make money. (Case in point: gratuitous nudity. But that is a topic for another day. )

Just be wise to it. If you're an actor in LA, and Especially if you're a NEW actor, you will lose $200 at the bare minimum from people trying to rip you off and take advantage. Always be careful. And safe.


  1. I couldn't agree more. It's ridiculous how people will exploit actors in exchange for some "exposure" or "connections". Actors, be smart and be wary.

    Great post Lira!

  2. Don't get too full of yourself a lot of bloggers get those, if you are successful enough to get enough traffic, you get that crap disguised in different ways. :)

  3. I'm sure tons of bloggers get them. And I know there are a lot of people who get taken advantage of no matter what career they have, but man, I gotta say, we actors are sort of an easy target because we really want to believe we're good enough to make it, and if someone tells us we are, we'll follow them blindly, giving them thousands of dollars. That's why Scientology recruits a lot of creatives.

  4. Great post. Couple points here though:

    1) How can I go back in time and kick second grader Julio's ass? Let's brainstorm that one.

    2) I now have raised expectations for your gratuitous nudity post, which I'm STILL pissed about,

    3) I will mention that actors, even though they KNOW and they have been TOLD that is illegal, will still pay for agency or management representation, and finally,

    4) your blog IS a Master Blog of Performing Arts. Jen was definitely right about that. ;)

  5. Hey Lira,
    Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I actually feel similarly these lists. I've been on a few of these list things now... But I've decided that it really doesn't hurt me. And I'm certainly not losing any money. I might as well use it for marketing.

  6. Angela, I say take the html code and reroute it so that when you click on the button, it'll take you to your imdb page! That oughta show em!

  7. We address the same issue here. Its a shame that people take advantage of people's dreams! http://nyactorscentral.com/dont-get-scammed/

  8. Hey Lira, I received the same random email from "Jenn Here," and was annoyed as well. So much so that i changed the code of her button to link back to my website. But chose to not post it at all.

    It's a shame so many people are trying to take advantage of people's dreams.

    Scams abound all over!

  9. Works the same way up here in NYC. Just interesting episode with an acting coach who pulled me aside to say he had a "good feeling" about me, and that I was clearly special, and that he had a special sense for these things.

    Therefore was inviting me to his exclusive $215 class with agents and casting directors (only 14 spots available!) When I asked who the CDs and agents were, he kind of stumbled and muttered something about nonunion gigs and how there was a lot of work outside of union jobs.

    Not saying he's wrong. I'm just saying he was trying to butter up egos to get a kid with an entry-level resume and black and white headshot to give him money.


Play nice.