What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Flames on the Side of My Face – An Actor’s Rant July 24, 2013

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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Please forgive my actor’s rant. I know I am incredibly lucky to be able to call myself a professional and employed actor. I love my job. But sometimes there are things that just shove you over the edge. This time, it’s parents. Not the parents of the kids in the show. The parents in the audience.

One of the shows that I’m working on right now is a children’s show, and after every performance we go out to sign autographs for the kids. Which is great. I got to meet an actor at my very first show, and I loved it. I would love to be that actor for a child. But the damn parents.

All the kids line up for autographs, they nicely pass over their programs, and the parents stand off to the side and lose every sense of respectable adult conduct. They stand to the side taking ten pictures with the flash on while you’re trying to sign the program, so now you can’t see the program, which is lost in the sea of white spots. Then they get angry when you don’t yank their child in to pose with you so you can get yet another flash in the eyes.

I just want them to ask. Not even politely. I’m too realistic for that. Just say, “Can I have a picture?” Then I’ll know you actually want a picture, that this is hopefully your child (I mean, you could be a creeper, I don’t know), and I’ll know which of the fifty cameras to look at. And if you don’t tell me what you want, please for the love of Jesus don’t get mad at me when I can’t read your mind. I don’t have a way of knowing which children are related. Or worse yet, which six girls belong to your Girl Scout Troop. And God forbid I sign for a seventh child if there are only six in your troop and you haven’t had your group picture yet. This is why you should be wearing your uniforms, Lady! So you can be identified as a group!

Actors are people. Real live human beings with sensitive retina and feelings. Please don’t treat us like monkeys. In fact don’t treat monkeys like monkeys either, because it isn’t very nice. So, next time you wait for autographs after a show or go to Disney, please ask if you can take a picture and point to whichever camera you want the poor actor to look at. It will save time, bad pictures,  and the actors’ sanity.


3 Responses to “Flames on the Side of My Face – An Actor’s Rant”

  1. ABE Says:

    Sometimes this part lasts longer than the show!

    You are right – you can’t read their minds. But if they don’t read things like this, and they don’t actually think, how are they going to learn to behave? Actors aren’t people, you know – they’re, like, ‘actors.’ Public property. Used to it. Needing the ‘exposure.’

    Rant away.

  2. rockettattoo Says:

    I missed my calling as an actor.. but I have worked retail, food service, sales, and customer service and yes people act abysmally in general when dealing with “The hired help”. People just look past you or through you and almost never really at you. Maybe you should get a couple of helpers to interact with the people in line (in costume sounds great to me) and their real mission is to signal to you or someone else who is associated with who and if both pictures and autographs are desired so you know what to expect.

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