The Casting Couch, by Michael Davis
I have not gotten into trouble in a while so because I know I will be in Japan when this article runs, I can be safely away from the crap when it hits the fan.
I love the entertainment business for the most part. That’s for the most part. There are some areas of the business I don’t like and what I don’t like most of all are some in the acting profession.
I just don’t like certain actors. That’s certain actors. Most actors I’m cool with, this rant is not for them.
No, this rant is for the two types of actors I can’t stand. The first type is those who think what they do isn’t a profession, it’s a divine right. These “thespians” think they are involved with an art form of the highest ilk. Those conceited, self centered, cocky, arrogant, little brain, stuck-up creeps don’t take acting seriously and really piss me off.
The second kind of actors that broil my blood are those idiots who get on a bus from Dumbass City Alabama who have no clue what it takes to work in this business and they think all they need is a nice ass and they are In Like Flynn. This column is dedicated to these two sets of morons.
Before I go on I will admit that I am also self centered, cocky and arrogant. I’m not stuck up because I talk to everybody. Now that I think of it, I’m not cocky either – it’s not bragging if you can do it. I’m also not conceited … I’m convinced.
So I fully understand and realize that I share some traits with those for whom I have no respect. The difference is I know that I’m sometimes an asshole. Those I speak of wouldn’t know it even if their photo is spattered on the cover of Asshole Monthly with the caption “Biggest Asshole In The Universe!” They would still have no frinkin’ clue.
I met this very pretty girl recently who wants to be an actress. She wants me to help her get her start in the business. I asked her what work she has done. She had done nothing. I asked her where she had studied. She had studied nowhere. I asked what possible reason would I have to hook her up? What possible is there for me to help her? She had no answer instead she just smiled.
There is a common practice in the entertainment industry, which dates back to the moment to the exact second that entertainment became cool. That practice is called the “Casting Couch.” This young lady I was speaking of was not stupid, in fact she seemed fairly smart. But come on, she clearly thought that just being pretty would count for something.
Can you imagine that sort of attitude in any other career situation?
Me: Hi, my name is Michael and I would like to be the head Chef here.
Marie Callender: Hello Michael, I’m the owner of this restaurant. So, what other restaurants have you cooked for?
Me: I haven’t cooked for any restaurants.
Marie Callender: What cooking school have you studied at?
Marie Callender: Can you cook?
Me: Not really. No.
Marie Callender: What possible reason would I have to hire you as my Chef??
Me: Marie. Can I call you Marie? Marie, have you seen my ass?
The above scenario is why I think that the Casting Couch in Hollywood is a myth. Nobody running a restaurant in their right mind would give me a job as a Chef. Hell, no retarded parson would give me a job as a Chef no matter how nice my ass is, and I have a spectacular world-class ass. The same thing applies to Hollywood, no director or producer is going to make you a star if you have no talent but you have a nice rack.
WAIT! Don’t hit that comment button just yet!
Do some people in Hollywood use the casting couch as a way to lure young talent into bed? Yes. Absolutely. Hollywood is a sleazy town and the entertainment business can be a sleazy business. So yes, there are some people out there who will bait young talent with a proposition. Admitting that, why do I say that the casting couch is a myth?
Because it is.
It is my position that anyone who sleeps with someone and gets the job most likely would have gotten the job anyhow. NO real playa in Hollywood is going to put at risk his or her multi-million dollar movie or put in jeopardy an expensive TV production by casting a no talent actor. Now are there actors with no or marginal ability who may get the job because they where ‘nice’ to someone with clout? Again absolutely! In that case I think that those jobs are most likely as extras or walk ons or something just as forgettable.
If there is any actor out there with no reel (body of professional work on film), no talent and no training that thinks they can get a role staring opposite George Clooney he, she or it is an idiot.
To the actor reading this thinking you managed to score a small walk on or extra role because you slept with someone: So there must be a casing couch because you were on it, right? Well, no, that was not a casting couch, that was you being a Ho.
A Ho by definition is someone who trades sex for something of value. In your case, you used your booty to get that walk on role in the crowd scene in Braveheart. You were extra #1009. Do you keep the DVD cued to your two-second appearance to show friends and family? Do you? Dan Akroyd has a name for you: it’s ignorant slut. As in: Jane, you ignorant slut.
If you sleep with someone to advance your career you don’t want to be an actor staring in movies, you want to be a movie star who acts.
Still don’t get it? Well let me try and be even more clear. I’ll go slow.
Y O U D O N’ T W A N T T O B E A N A C T O R,
Y O U W A N T TO B E A S T A R.
There is a HUGE difference in the two. Like that young CLUELESS girl who talked to me, there are scores of actors who see acting as a quick way to fame. They have no respect for the craft of acting. And in the case of that young lady and countless others who come to Hollywood with no other desire than to be famous, they don’t want to do the work required to bring their game up to a professional level. That is why I don’t like a lot of actors; they have no respect for their craft or the entertainment business as a whole. In fact they don’t even think of the entertainment business as a business, they think of it as a land of fantasy, wealth and their ticket to assholedom.
Well, as much as I have issues with the entertainment business I do have respect for it and respect for those who came before me. The problem as I see it is on both sides of the aisle but just barely the real blame lies with the person looking for a quick “in.” That is the person who gets it in their head that they have something to offer Hollywood because they were the best and brightest in their high school production of Rent. They are as responsible for being taken advantage of as the Hollywood executive who takes advantage of them.
As I mentioned, Hollywood is a sleazy town and I meant it. Most people outside of Los Angeles look at the city of Hollywood as the great place where movies are made. That is really not the case. The city of Hollywood is not prime real estate people; in fact it’s pretty damn seedy. People think that Hollywood is a grand place to live; trust me, you might rather live in Iraq. The fable of Hollywood is much like the fable of the casting couch – it’s what people think it is, therefore it must be. Within the myth of Hollywood, and the myth of the casting couch is the myth of the “Hollywood Executive.” No high-ranking entertainment executive plays the casting couch game.
This country loves scandals and sexual harassment suits! Because of that there is no Hollywood executive stupid enough to play the casting couch game. Most likely it’s a low level con man trying to take advantage of someone.
The reason any low level punk can do that is because scores of actors don’t do any research on the business before they come here. Who does that?? Who does not prepare for their career by studying and researching? Well judging from the myth of the casting couch it seems there is a multitude of young fools who believe that a pretty face is enough to make it in this business. I’m sure that’s true to a certain extent. but come on people at least do a little homework. I’m sure that if you wanted to work for NASA you would at least take a math class; right?
Young people get off the bus every day looking to be discovered. What the Hell is that about? What kind of person are you to think that you can start any job by being discovered?
My dream job is to run DreamWorks or be the first black CEO to run a major motion picture company. I think I have a pretty good shot to achieve one of those goals. Most likely it will be the latter but regardless I’m confident because I’m working at it!
Or maybe I should just do what some people in the acting profession do and hope to be discovered. I won’t do any more work; I won’t look to get better at my craft. I’ll just look pretty and hope that someone notices and hands me a multi million dollar company to run.
For all you people out there who will comment; “Oh those poor people are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous Hollywood people.” If they are stupid enough to believe that you can score a major motion picture deal without doing the work, they deserve what they get.
Now I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the stupid actions of people who think that they can sleep their way to the top. Let me spend a bit on the people who think that “acting” should have its own Nobel Peace Prize category.
Get a life.
I’ll be brief, for all you suckers who think that you have the grandest job on the planet. Know this, anybody can do what you do … anybody. I know what you are thinking: “I am a professional, and people pay me to perform.”
That argument sucks because I know a group of people who act and people pay them regardless if they want to or not. Those people are called con men.
Con men swindle people out of money by acting. Sales people do it. They sell stuff by “acting.” In particular car sales men do it. How do you like that? You and car salesmen have the same job.
There are a group of people who act that I have a lot of respect for: undercover policemen and women. If they give a bad performance, they can be killed. Are you that good? Are you such a great actor that you could survive in a world where if your acting ability was suspect you could be killed?
Well, if no is the answer (and you know DAMN well it is) why don’t you “act” like you have some respect for your craft?
Michael Davis is a comics creator and the founder of the Guardian Line series of comics as well as being a television producer and writer. He was a co-founder of Milestone Comics and his artwork has appeared in Wasteland, Green Arrow: Shado, Green Hornet and The Question, among others.