Professionalism in the industry especially the Australian film industry is yet to compete with the likes of some of the productions that are brought over here from overseas, particularly the US. It is not generally something that is taught at film school or acting class and it’s more of a find your own way type of scenario. How do you define professionalism if nobody teaches it? I think that’s the problem, you can’t define something you know nothing about. I noticed this after living and working as an actor in 3 different cities.
To become professional you need to surround yourself with professional people. Most of my professionalism comes from respected people in the industry such as casting directors, feature film producers and directors. Basically people who have done it before and who are actively working in the industry at the moment.
My greatest discovery about professionalism was in a one day class from a well known and respected casting director. It was the simplest thing that he said. Fill in every space on the form that they ask for. WOW! Everything clicked for me. It makes sense right? They need to know these things and if getting the job comes down to two people and you’re one of them and you don’t have all of the neccessary details on your form then just stop and think for a moment of what the casting directors have to go through to get that information. First of all they have to spend money to ring your agent and wait for a reply. The agent then has to spend money to ring you only for you to get a relayed message for which you may not be able to get back to them straight away. Once again keeping everybody waiting. You’ve just cost yourself the job. These people are on deadlines and they’re dealing with sometimes hundreds of people so you want to make their life as easy as possible.
But I think that can go with all aspects of the industry and life for that matter. Nobody wants to deal with someone who isn’t organised or is going to cost them time or money and I think that’s ultimately what professionalism is all about. Everybody has the ability to change all of that and to improve their chances of getting what they want out of life if you just listen to other people’s needs. It’s simple… the more you listen the more opportunities will land in your lap.
Written by Az Jackson (www.honeyagency.com.au)