Monday, June 04, 2007

Nepotism

I hear the word nepotism thrown around a lot in reference to the entertainment industry. I can't say I've gotten any gigs in Los Angeles because of a family member, but I can say that I've gotten gigs because the right person referred me. But today I have a little tale of nepotism to share.

My sister-in-law is working production on some series for A&E this summer. The kicker is that it's filming in Malvern, Arkansas. This is maybe thirty minutes from where I was raised. When I was a youth in Hot Springs, I only heard about three productions being shot in Arkansas in time to submit myself. I was called in to work the first one but they only wanted me for my classic Mustang and I made better money at my day job. I never heard from the second one so they either didn't like what I had to offer or it never got off the ground. The third one was a role I got through my sister-in-law when she was still in college. We drove two hours to the shooting location for me to do an under-5 in an independent film only to find out that they canceled production that day. At least gas was a little cheaper then and we got to spend the day hanging out with Chelley.

Back to the story. Chelley is responsible for securing locations, hiring local extras, and tons of other crap. Andrew and I aren't there to help her out, and they couldn't pay us enough to fly back even if they could use us as background talent. I offered up my younger brother and sister. I knew they'd love to be involved in shooting a series in Arkansas. Chelley wasn't sure if she'd be able to use them, but I'd holler from the background every time she called Andrew, "Call the kids! Call the kids! They'll do it."

Chelley lost one of her featured extras over the weekend. He was supposed to play a kidnap victim. Once again, I hollered for her to call the kids. My younger brother snapped a headshot and full body shot with his camera phone (since he's not usually an actor) and emailed them to Chelley. He called me today to tell me he booked three days this week as a paid non union extra to play the kidnap victim. He was thrilled, I was excited for him, and Chelley's problem was solved. She later called Andrew with the good news.

I think part of the reason nepotism seems to be so prevalent in the industry is because you know a family member (or extended family member) well enough that you know if you can rely on them or not before giving them the job. You can also give a family member hell if they disappoint you or try to drop their responsibility at the last minute.

I'll post the news of Bryce's time as a kidnap victim as soon as the deed is done. Now I just need to figure out how to put Kae Ellen to use.

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