Blether: #indyref – Aye we’re all economists now

Originally posted 17 February 2014

Aye, it’s all getting quite exciting with the ‘ole independence lark at the moment.

Both campaigns were trotting along as usual. Then the three fellies in London got together and said they’d not let us have the pound if we voted with a majority of YES in September. Like EVER.

Then poor Nicola got barked over by Andrew Marr asking her repeatedly if she had a Plan B.

Then Alex calmly checked his paperwork and countered that…basically they jobbies in London are just being silly and should check what was actually said in the fiscal commission report.

Is it gonnae be like this til September? Is it gonna get feistier? It is isn’t it? Sweet cheeses. Think I might have to book that social media holiday afterall.

Based on a recent article in Moneyweek.com – independence is the very least of our doom and gloom: http://moneyweek.com/endofbritain/

(NOTE: This article doesn’t even MENTION Scottish independence) ¦ (I don’t think) ¦ I read most of it ¦ it was really long)

According to this article, we’re all screwed, all of us. Absolutely all of us living in what we currently know to be our societal economic structure. It’s broke and it doesn’t work financially. Each government is too afraid to lose votes by addressing it, and the buck gets passed onto the next administration/generation. All yous out there with your zombie apocalypse survival plans, will be having the last laugh (or the last can of Irn Bru at any rate).

Here’s a REFRESHINGLY UN-ARSEY view:

So who gives a monkey’s if Scotland wants to try and fuck it up on their own. Ken what? Belgium managed 19 months with NO government at all ¦(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/8936857/Belgium-to-have-new-government-after-world-record-541-days.html)

– so the chances of Scotland imploding on Independence Day and disappearing up its own arse is about as likely as a nuke accidentally exploding at Trident.

It’ll be later. When the money turns to just dirty paper with coke and snot around the edges. Along with everybody else’s.

Blether: The Quit and the Dead

The night before

Preparing to be grumpy as fook for at least the next three days (first three are the hardest, apparently). That’s fine, that actually fits into my schedule quite well. I’m only really needed to be polite to non-family members this week by Friday.

I’ve picked up the non-applicator tampon-looking device which I have to suck when the urges arrive. I wanted a blue one, I got a white one, which really does just make it look like a Lil-Let. Oh well.

Yay.

 

Day one

Boldy take dog for walk with tampon in hand. Realising I didn’t want to choke to death on pocket tobacco fluff via the inhalator (this nearly happended with an e-cig once), I decided to inside-out clean my pocket before popping tampon in.

Found a squashed roley in pocket.

Smoked it on dog walk.

Used tampon for rest of the day.

 

 

Day two

No fags all day. Go to Quit Smoking Club. Share stories of addiction, loneliness and pain. Get CO reading of 2 (was 10 last week).

Miss bus.

Go home.

Get phonecall from person I hate second most in the world. Who barked at me.

Bought fags.

Bought wine.

Got drunk and smoked.

 

Day three – before the wedding

Was doing well. Weeks without a fag. Actualy forgetting to have a craving. Until…

Massive pre-wedding stresses.

Caved. Massive Failure.

Admit at smoking club that I will need to reset my quit date because of massive fail.

 

Before, during wedding, after wedding.

Smoked a bit but actualy didn’t have a lot of time with enjoying visiting family and friends.

 

Honeymoon

Smoked quite a bit, but drank a smegload more.

 

Rejoin quit smoking club after all the fun and frolicking

No smoking for days and days. All seemed to be fine. Then … the RED MIST.

The RED MIST appears to be one of my stronger triggers. Very quickly my strong wil of intention and resolve against the physical addiction can be lost completely on a irregular fury. FUCK IT.

 

The letter

Despite getting back on the wagon again, quite easily to oafter the RED MIST passes, the letter arrives. The letter that was one of the many reasons why to do this.

 

fuck it

i’ll do it later

Blether: The Bond Rant (no-one wants to hear): Reboot, Blondes, Quick-cutting, and other Gripes

Originally posted 1 April 2013 – migrated from previous blog

As my friends on Facebook are now tired of my continual posts moaning about the Bond reboot, I’ve decided to get it all over and done with here on my blog. Once and for all. Then I will shut up. Unless something new comes up, which it will.

I <heart> James Bond

First of all I will put this out there: I love James Bond. Always have. Always will. Ever since I saw my first Bond film, which was Diamonds are Forever as a little girl, I was HOOKED. The glamour, the danger, was blockbuster action movie entertainment in its purest and most effortlessly consumable form. I was thrilled by the danger, fascinated by the ridiculous stunts, tickled by the cool gadgets, entranced by the glamorous and beautiful women, bemused by the eccentric villains, titillated by the silly names, and curled up laughing at the brilliantly delivered classic one-liners. The recipe was brilliant. And I looked forward to a big helping whenever it came around.

Children often don’t notice incredulous misgivings in the realms of logic or reason, and of course it bothered me not one jot that there were several chaps playing this character, who all looked sounded and acted different. I mean…shit if I was happy enough with the irregularities of having some strange old man in a red suit deliver me presents every Christmas that I never saw, and suspiciously these presents were wrapped in the same paper as some other presents, and were gift-tagged from friends and family, and weren’t what I asked for (a unicorn)…well – who cares? That’s not actually that important. I got presents. Cool. So this Bond guy keeps changing? No-one seems to be bothered, so I’m not. It’s accepted.

Bond Recipe

In my opinion this is the recipe for a Bond movie:

  1. One British attractive actor
  2. The famous Bond theme music
  3. 2-3 beautiful women with quirky or downright silly names
  4. One eccentric villain hell bent on world domination or destruction
  5. Some excellent state-of-the-art (in five years) gadgets
  6. One sexy-ass souped up car
  7. One replacement watch for the one he lost/broke in the last film
  8. One ‘M’ who is strict and not impressed with Bond’s jokes
  9. One ‘Q’ who is annoyed that Bond breaks/loses gadgets
  10. One gun barrel target circle with blood drips
  11. One short mission to kick off the film
  12. One titles with dancing ladies and guns
  13. A selection of silly one liners
  14. 1-3 sexual conquests
  15. 10-1000 dead baddies
  16. 3-5 epic stunts by Bond
  17. One twisty turny plot where we meet some colourful characters, see a bit of the world, and where Bond leaves a trail of dead, kills the baddie, saves the planet and gets a nice naked cuddle from a girl after all that exertion.

Cliche? Duh! Yes.

Reboot up the arse

And now we get to this reboot thing. Why oh why oh why…did the keepers of the Bond franchise think it was a jolly good idea, just after “Die Another Day” which celebrated the TWENTIETH Bond film, to throw away the biggest asset they had eh? Namely – the journey traveled so far.

NO-ONE CARED that the actor kept changing
NO-ONE CARED that this career was suspiciously long
NO-ONE CARED that he was getting a bit on the immortal side (he may have been a Highlander – who cares! No-one!)

You can’t buy that kind of ‘not caring’ you know? The audience loved and accepted it. Didn’t give a monkeys and was just looking forward to the next installment. After all, they’ve watched and enjoyed all these other ones and feel like they know the chap really quite well now! The bit in “Die Another Day” where he’s walking through the old gadgets (the ones Q managed to re-acquire of course), was brilliant. So nice to see them all brought together so we could reminisce along with Bond.

Thoughts when I heard the next Bond was Daniel Craig:

Cool, not exactly my cup of tea, but looking forward to it, bring-it

Thoughts when I heard the next film was ‘Casino Royale’:

Cool, re-interpreting the old David Niven one, clever, will prob be awesome, bring-it.

Thoughts during theatrical exhibition of Casino Royale (reboot):

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhhhh!!!!!!! What have they done!!!!!!

They’ve taken him back to the beginning of his career as a double-o? But for WHY???? What about all those missions I followed him on? All those women he slept with? All those baddies he killed? Forgotten? Wiped clean? FOR WHAT GAIN GODDAMMIT??????

This article from The Huffington Post written by Mark Juddery talks a little bit about Bond in its look at the latest fashion of reboots in cinema:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-juddery/series-reboots_b_2515049.html

Mark suggests this reboot might hold the benefit of explaining Bond’s misogyny. It may well do. So what? We just assumed it was something about mummy issues anyway. Misogyny usually is.

Mark Juddery:

“Here was a new world in which Bond started afresh, he didn’t need to be around 90 years old, and best of all, the entire Roger Moore era never happened.”

Um…cheers Mark. I actually enjoyed them thar Roger Moore Bond films innit.

On JamesBondwiki.com there is an interesting discussion debating the pros and cons of the reboot: http://www.jamesbondwiki.com/thread/1699056/Why+the+hell+did+they+have+to+reboot+the+series%3F%3F%3F%3F

Here you can always rely on the really die-hard fans to pick apart the politics from their immense knowledge of the books, the films and the studios and finance that made them. One poster writes:

“It has to do with two things that were messed up about Bond from the very beginning, and they both have to do with mistakes Ian Fleming made that might have seemed innocuous at first but snowballed over time.

One, the rights to Casino Royale were sold to CBS for a song. It’s interesting to speculate whether, had he not done this, the movies would have been made in sequence. Perhaps not; but if they had, as it’s been discussed elsewhere, the EON series would have made much more sense.

Two, as far as the charges Kevin McClory leveled against him for ripping off the Thunderball story, it seems the facts strongly suggest Fleming was guilty as hell. And this caused a nightmarish cascade of glitches. The cafeteria of stainless steel, Blofeld becoming the villain in Diamonds Are Forever, Blofeld failing to recognize Bond at Piz Gloria even though he should’ve been able to; the whole SMERSH/S.P.E.C.T.R.E. thing is partially due to this as well.

While Die Another Day is a far superior movie to Batman and Robin, it was equally damaging as a “bad steer” of it’s respective franchise, directing it into a cul de sac from which said franchise had been unable to retreat. The cool story arc in the books about hunting down a deadly shadowy criminal syndicate from one installment to the next, that had been jettisoned, and it never could have been recovered in a sequel to Die Another Day. You’ll notice, post-reboot, they’re making a high priority of recovering this even compared to bringing back Q and Moneypenny. And doing a fine job of it, too”

– mkfreeberg

This may be, and is actually very interesting, but nevertheless – they’ve just flushed all that down the toilet and tried to Domestos away TWENTY STORIES I LOVED.

Another poster writes:

“The Bond series has been re-booted several times over the years, usually because the franchise has slipped perilously close to parody; the gritty FOR YOUR EYES ONLY was the antithesis of the cartoon antics of MOONRAKER, the harder edge displayed by THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS and particularly LICENCE TO KILL was a direct response to the silliness so prevalent in A VIEW TO A KILL, and the dark tone established by CASINO ROYALE brought a much-needed seriousness back to Bond after the outlandish nonsense which severely undermined DIE ANOTHER DAY. 

Hopefully, the producers won’t repeat past mistakes and allow the series to descend into self-parody once again.”

– beatlehead

While inaccurately saying the franchise has been rebooted several times, this is an interesting point, some of the above-mentioned titles were getting a bit too far on the comical side, but I think they are still important representations of when they were made. This is where films become historical documents for more than just their content, especially for a unique long-running series of films such as Bond. “Moonraker” and “For Your Eyes Only” are mentioned here, now the Eighties still appear a bit on the garish side for us over twenty years later, our hair still hasn’t got that big again, we still can’t quite muster up the courage to wear such big shoulderpads, or bright clothes. The Nineties and Noughties dulled us and made us sage with our anti-capitalist views, magnolia painted living spaces, and abhorrence and shame that we had that decade of surplus income and big stereos – still making us cringe at poor Roger Moore in his Lotus with a woman bending over it in one of those waist-high-cut leopard-print swimsuits that goes right up her crack. And stilettos. Can’t forget them. Why would you be walking round in a swimsuit WITHOUT your stilettos in the Eighties. Yes we did think that looked hot. Fact I’m afraid.

And I’m still no closer to understanding why they’ve attempted to Domestos away TWENTY STORIES I LOVED.

Cheap tricks

This is going to be short and sweet. “Quantum of Solace” – I’ve only seen ten minutes. Twice. I don’t approve of cheap tricks to incur adrenalin-fueled excitement in a viewing audience. Quick-cutting is a cheap trick. I’ve tried to watch it but when I can’t tell what I’m watching because it’s all a mash of limbs, guns, bits of cars and various other close-up things that are gone in a split second and I don’t know what it was. Then I’m sorry. I’d rather turn it off and do the washing up so it doesn’t worry me anymore. If you want me to watch your film sir, then you have to let me see what’s going on. Simple.

Skyfail and Blondefail

Wow, the latest film “Skyfall” has become the “most successful film in British box office history” according to the Telegraph: http://news.sky.com/story/1061375/skyfall-success-helps-cineworlds-profit-rise – that’s incredible, congratulations to the production, creative teams and cast. According to Box Office Mojo, it has made “Worldwide: $1,108,561,013” (at the time of this blog posting): http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=bond23.htm. That’s incredible. That’s even wiped the floor with the original Star Wars: http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=starwars4.htm and Jaws: http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=jaws.htm

I didn’t like it. I’m just going to post my Facebook conversation here (names changed to protect the innocent and the guilty):

  • Belinda: Um…SkyBALLS
  • Person #1: Are you saying that a James Bond film isn’t very good? Well, pull me up a chair.
  • Person #2:nooo! it’s awesome!
  • Person #3: Hope your referring to fatty’s song!
  • Belinda: Just watched it. It’s FUCKING CLOWN SHOES
  • Person #4: THAT was a villain…?
  • Person #3: Stop watching Austin Powers!
  • Belinda: Boring theme, repetitive plot devices seen too many times, spoon-feeding exposition to the audience, and shit CGI kimodos, [and CGI] breath … BREATH! In ‘Scotland’, and just balls. Cheers Sam Mendes. Can I have my Microsoft points back now please?
  • Belinda: *komodos
  • Belinda: Haven’t seen the like of them so bad since the CGI gophers at the beginning of the Crystal Skull
  • Belinda: *shit CGI gophers
  • Person #4: Wait! He’s using a polymorphic code which evolves every time we try to access it! Thank heavens I invented it…
  • Person #3: This coming from a Star Wars fan!!!
  • Belinda: And…still not a blonde Bond girl in sight since A View To A Kill.
  • Belinda: Yeah [Person #3]…holy trilogy only. You know better than that. Not those fucking animated political snorefests.
  • Person #3: So The World is Not Enough doesn’t count then for blondes then?
  • Belinda: Sophie Marceau and Denise Richards arnae blonde
  • Person #3: Don’t do politics. Snorefests are your domain. Couldn’t stand the King’s Snnnnnnnnnorrrrre. Sorry speech.
  • Person #3: Denise Richards was in that movie!
  • Belinda: And…after all my years of school in England trying to convince English kids we didn’t live in caves in Scotland, and only had enough electricity to watch our one television programme Taggart, in our kilts with our pet haggis…he takes her to an empty barren glen, to an old stone house with a priest hole, and one old codger with a shotgun he calls a rifle.
  • Belinda: Like I said. She’s not BLONDE!
  • Person #3: Plus there is one on Die Another Day. Fort William is like that & Glencoe is beside it!
  • Person #3: All it was missing was some tacky granite clad buildings and sheep!!!
  • Belinda: Miranda Frost and Jinx ARE NOT BLONDE
  • Person #3: Obviously Berry is not blonde. Others are dirty blonde.
  • Belinda: They have BROWN HAIR [Person #3]. Brown. That’s Brown. That’s NOT Blonde.
  • Belinda: I’ll show you dirty blonde mate
  • Person #3: No thanks. Not my type!
  • Belinda: Mwa-haha <posts picture of Jennifer Aniston> <whom actually I don’t think is a blonde either>
  • Person #5: ‘Some men are coming to kill us. I’m going to kill them first.’
  • Person #5: WORST LINE OF ‘DIALOGUE’ I HAVE EVER HEARD. EVER. IN ANY MOVIE. INCLUDING ‘HOLIDAY ON THE BUSES’. Thank you SO very much for posting about this… made my night.
  • Person #6: Pertinent question: Is Judi Dench to be considered a ‘Bond girl’ in Skyfall?
  • Belinda: Of course not – she’s ‘M’. And while it was an interesting twist to have a lady boss for Bond, sadly they’ve been wringing out this ‘M stands for Mummy’ ever since.
  • Person #6: Yet in Skyfall she ticks all the boxes required from a Bond girl shy of making the beast with two backs with 007…..
  • Belinda: Out of interest – what boxes?
  • Belinda: Correction to my former claim – the last blonde Bond girl was Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights
  • Person #5: Such a shame they didn’t hire David Walliams to play the Skyfall villain. The guy they did get seems to be channelling Walliams throughout. Ah, well. At least it leaves room for a future, MUCH better Bond film in which Matt and David will play Mr Wint & Mr Kidd…
  • Person #5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2GHL8VhMjo
  • Person #6: the boxes being that she’s the ‘damsel’ in distress needing rescuing in this movie, that she gives Bond sass etc…etc.. And of course SPOILER ALERT!!!!! she dies, like Gemma Arterton, Jill Masterton, Diana Rigg, Caterina Murino (Hubba hubba), Eva green, Teri Hatcher (I think) and the list goes on…..
  • Person #6: Mendez is being lined up for the next Bond film too m’fraid, B. But the bond writers for the last half dozen movies have packed their bags, so a fresh writer(s) will be taking up the reins…
  • Person #6: Also the villain Le Chifre’s GF in Casino royal is like Platinum Blonde.. Does that count?
  • Belinda: YES [PERSON #5]! When I saw the villain walking into camera from a distance I thought it WAS Walliams!
  • Belinda: Och [Person #5] – she needed rescuing in The World is Not Enough too. Old news there. And this guy agrees with me about the definition of blonde Bond girlshttp://thearchnemesis.com/Bond%20Girls.html – see no. 13
  • Person #5: Eve green beats out Jane Seymour?? Nay, I say! Nay! Jane seymour to this day and age is still hotter than Eva Green. She can cougar my arse any time. Helen Mirren too, but that’s another story…..

And what, you might well ask, qualifies me to have such inflated opinions of this?

…30 years experience of watching Bond films…

…and a masters degree in screenwriting.

Blether: Spoilsport bastards #gameofthrones

Originally posted 6 June 2013 – migrated from previous blog

Just watched the epic penultimate episode of season 3 of the most EPICALLY EPIC Game of Thrones last night.

I had to.

I might’ve been wanting to save it for another night.

But no.

That wasn’t a ruddy option was it? Not if I wanted to say…GET ONNA BUS! Because the utter smegheads at the METRO decided to run, on page 3, so that’s the first opened page, a massive picture spoiler which would’ve ruined the viewing in a split second. Reactions of viewing audience around the globe have basically been this gif:

Courtesy of: http://inagist.com/all/342298798401413120/

Proof positive is here as someone thoughtfully collated actual reactions on YouTube of wonderful readers of the book as they filmed their loved ones who hadn’t read the books watch the episode in horror, and then upload it to the net [WARNING: Do not watch if you haven’t seen the episode and are saving it!]:

Now, METRO’s decision was based on the fact that, em, its not a spoiler because, em, the books have been published? And its not a spoiler because it was aired two nights previous on the telly?

Um yeah, but guess what!

A = Only part of the world subscribes to Sky Atlantic you wankers. It wasn’t aired on like say, BBC1 for instance in the UK.

B = Metro is a ruddy free bus newspaper which is why it has such a massive readership. They don’t get your paper because they deliberately want to obtain it for its epic journalism. They look at it because they’ve got a boring bus trip somewhere and don’t want to be bothered by conversation with the nob sitting next to them.

C = It is the WORST case of a spoiler by plastering a MASSIVE PICTURE SHOWING EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED upon the first opened pages of your rag! No warning. No nuffing.

What was the story exactly eh? Your angle was millions of fans horrified by episode. You could’ve ran that without the MASSIVE PICTURE SHOWING EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.

Smegheads.

Blether: Casting Call Hell – WTF?

I sometimes wonder why I bother. At all. Following is a transcript of communication around an advert recently posted on Gumtree seeking actors and actresses for a variety of work.

6 June 2013 Posted: United Kingdom > Edinburgh > Old Town > Jobs > Part-time, Evening & Weekend

Actor / Actresses required for Theatre Work / Short Films (15 – 50 YEARS OLD)

Contract type
Temporary

WE HAVE VARIOUS CONNECTIONS THROUGH VARIOUS CONTACTS AND HAVE A LIST OF SHORT FILMS / DOCUMENTARIES / PLAYS / THEATRE WORK WHO ARE CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR APPLICANTS FOR PARTS!

ALL REQUIRE ACTORS AND ACTRESSES FOR VARIOUS ROLES. SOME PARTS ARE PAID BUT THESE WONT BE AROUND FOR LONG (AS YOU ARE PROBABLY WELL AWARE). PAID PARTS VARY FROM £5-10 PER DAY TO COVER TRAVEL COSTS AND LUNCH BREAKS – AND A FEW WHO WILL PAY UP TO £400 (FORTNIGHTLY) IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE AND ARE RIGHT FOR THE ROLE.

MOST OF THE ROLES ARE VERY SMALL SO EXPERIENCE IS NOT NECESSARY – BUT IS AN OBVIOUS ADVANTAGE!!!

AGES REQUIRED VARY FROM 15-16 (MALE AND FEMALE) TO 45-50 (MALE AND FEMALE) BUT ANY AGE GROUP CAN APPLY. PLEASE NOTE, IF YOU ARE BELOW THE AGE OF 16 WE WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO TURN UP TO ANY AUDITIONS ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT OR A CLOSE
FRIEND.

LOCATIONS ARE: EDINBURGH, GLASGOW, ROSYTH, DUNFERMLINE, INVERNESS SO, DEPENDING ON WHICH PART YOU APPLY FOR, TRAVELLING WILL BE REQUIRED.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION PLEASE FORWARD YOUR FULL PROFILE (HEAD SHOTS INCLUDED PLEASE), CONTACT DETAILS, AND ALL RELEVANT EXPERIENCE AND WE WILL BE IN TOUCH SHORTLY.

HOPEFULLY THIS SUMMER WILL BE A GOOD ONE!!! :-)

An actor flagged the advert on an acting and filmmaking forum. The actor was concerned that the poster had not identified them self/not provided a company name, and wanted to ask fellow actors what their thoughts were on whether it was genuine and worth contacting. Responses were curious but worried. Several people noted they had cautiously emailed enquiries about more information.

I decided I would email on behalf of the actors that I represent who may well be interested in some roles:

6 June 2013 – replied:

Hello

Your Gumtree ad has been brought to my attention. I am an actors’ agent, and I’m curious about your ad describing various kinds of work for performers in short films, theatre etc. I also actively advocate employment rights against the exploitation of performing artists, and since your ad was quite vague about you (it only describes “We have…[etc]” but does not appear to identify yourselves in any way – I wanted to enquire in what capacity you operate? Are you a company? A casting agency? Are you up-to-date with the National Minimum Wage issue with performing artists for professional work? Are these in fact amateur projects? You have indicated that there are positions for 15-16 year-olds and that they should bring an adult with them, but you have not indicated if the work will have appropriately disclosed team members associated with it, or whether any production teams will be ensuring that Child Entertainment Licenses will be properly obtained (http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/1139/entertainment_licences/1285/child_entertainment_licences). As part of the industry here in Scotland I should be very interested to know more so I can advise performing artists accordingly as to the suitability of the work you are advertising.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Best

Belinda
The Masques Agency

I was astonished to receive a rather bolshy reply:

7 June 2013 – received:

Belinda,

We’re just some a couple trying to help out. We know a lot of people (friends) who run shows and we asked if there was anything we could do to help out. They just said be on the lookout for anyone who wants to try for shows or films – so we thought we’d at least try since we have our summer free and we love getting involved in these kinds of things.

Unfortunately, we didnt think that far ahead and didnt anticipate anything we were doing being too much of a problem. Now that you have brought it to our attention, if anyone contacts us regarding our Gumtree advertisement we will ignore their email, or reply telling them we are not interested in anything they have to offer, and they should contact the correct company for any possible parts. I trust this is what you are trying to achieve so fair enough, message received and understood.

The only thing I would recommend in regards to your message is perhaps to consider the way you word things. You do come across as quite stuck up and, even though your only trying to help, and we are also only trying to help out as well, its difficult not to read your message without picking it up as someone who is high and mighty and knows better than everyone else. Obviously the concept of two people just trying to have fun, help a few people over summer is ridiculous and far fetched to you, but why not try to live your life in a positive manner and actually be nice to people? Your message could have been worded so differently and would not have come across as so aggressive. If you have put in a bit of effort! I realise you’re just trying to guide us and help out, and that’s fair enough, but we’re not stupid and we do take responsibility for our own actions. We’re not criminals, and we’re nice, honest people to know. You know my thoughts. I always try to be honest with people and I dont have any regrets. Please don’t contact again.

Against my better judgement (being that this clearly was not worth my time), and after having just spent some time reading an abundance of awful stories about dodgy casting auditions by dubious advertisers – I thought I would try to explain that I was simply trying to ascertain who they were in light of what actors are facing these days: 

Dear [still anonymous]

Oh good grief. I simply enquired about the level of professionalism from what you offered as it was not clear at all.

Your posting is publicly viewable by the actors I represent, and it is my job to look after their interests and safeguard their endeavours in the industry.

In any case, it appears you have decided not proceed, and indeed ignore/tell people who take the time to email you that you are not interested in what they have to offer, which I think will be especially disheartening for them. Which is a shame.

The industry is littered with inappropriate and unprofessional casting calls, here are just some: http://castingcallwoe.tumblr.com/
and there are many advantages taken from those simply looking to perform – a worst case scenario is here: http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/sex-offender-set-up-fake-tv-audition-to-lure-teenager-29326903.html

So two people just trying to have fun over the summer is not ridiculous to me at all. But as a professional working in the industry, and along with wonderful and hardworking organisations like Equity, we look after the careers, rights, safety and interests of the artists we represent.

Belinda

An impressive rant-style response was then sent back to me and to all and everyone who had apparently contacted them enquiring about the work, or just wanted to find out more information: 

Hi,

Due to all the pathetic haters out there who complained about our ad we have had to withdraw it from Gumtree. Apparently, saying we will cover travel costs and give people (£5-10 per day to cover everything) is ILLEGAL and we can be fined £5000 or go to prison for just saying we would do that. Even if it is out of kindness. Since this does not meet minimum wage requirements, the Government (not the people emailing us!!!) have decided WE are the criminals and WE should be fined or go to prison. The people emailing us, (one person called Belinda from some pathetic equity company and another bitch called Pamela from a theatre company??) they just wanted to prove how clever they were so they reported it to the police and the government. Honestly!!!! All we’re actually trying to do is help out here and this is what we get? Our ad was reported to the police and various other authorities and we were basically branded criminals or ”would be” paedophiles just for posting an ad on Gumtree!!! The people who reported our ad are total scum, and they’re the kind of people that don’t deserve anyones time and who need to get a life. We’re sending the same email out to everyone who queried our ad.

Apologies for not being able to forward any info but we have decided Gumtree is not an option we wish to pursue so will not be contacting anyone who contacted us. Next time we want to help out, we’ll be staying well clear of Gumtree and all the pathetic haters who want to destroy what could be a fantastic opportunity to unite people with common interests! We will continue on with our various projects and short films and in future will advertise correctly for positions or will simply offer the roles to people we know rather than give other people a chance.

So they’ve completely missed any of the points I made and have just decided to take the whole thing entirely personally (which is ironic since not I nor anybody else has any idea who they are). I was originally intending on sharing whatever initial response received back on the forum where the actor had raised it (removing any personal names). But decided not to at their initial response as they were clearly just a couple trying to ‘have some fun over the summer’. However, since they have lowered their tone to basic insults like ‘bitch’ and ‘scum’ (which is obviously very rude and irresponsible since they don’t know for sure the age of the persons they might be sending the email to), I have decided to post the full transcipt here. Still no idea who they are, which made it all the easier to post here without worry of identification. Here was my final reply:

Oh my God.

I can’t believe you have just called me scum for doing my job. I haven’t insulted you once. I have simply brought your awareness of the current issues facing the industry you have advertised in to your attention in a formal, honest, professional and respectful manner. And you have not even done me the courtesy of identifying yourself.

For your information, and if you had bothered to check from the name and organisation name I had first and foremost provided you with, I am an Actors’ agent and it is my job to look after the interests, safety, and rights of performing artists.

I actually cannot believe, however ‘helpful’ you were hoping to be, that it has been indeed yourselves who have reacted aggressively to an industry that is working very hard to achieve sustainability. And you, in your lack of understanding have resorted to call us ‘haters’ in a fashion that I can only say is reminiscent of the unprofessional reaction of say…Amy’s Baking Company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy’s_Baking_Company_(Kitchen_Nightmares)).

The fact that you have continually not identified yourself has actually made it all the easier for me to decide to post and blog your highly insulting (and anonymous) response to my enquiries publicly on industry-relevant forums, so that the practitioners in the industry can be warned of the ill-educated and ill-qualified persons who are purporting to offer viable opportunities to them. I was not going to. There was a whole discussion thread about your advert on an acting forum online, but I decided from your initial response that it was not in the best interest to share your response since you were inexperienced and just trying to honestly help. However, since you have decided to completely misrepresent my enquiry (and let me remind you that I opened with acknowledging that you had insulted me and others but that I had not thus far, but would now like to take the opportunity to call you idiots), that I will be sharing all of your anonymous communication in these forums. Which is a shame. Because I genuinely think you had good intentions, but have managed to handle yourselves quite badly indeed.

Shame we’ll never know who you are. But then Edinburgh has only two degrees of separation between everyone, so I don’t expect it will be long before the industry finds out. I’m delighted to hear that you intend to be advertising in a legal and respectful way in the future. That’s wonderful. And all that this industry really asks.

Best,

B

…and yes, their final rant at me.

And back to the original stance point that is somewhat apparent from your email below. You are obviously stuck up and believe yourself to be above anyone else trying to get by without your help!

Imagine that, people actually getting by without the help of a Ms Knowitalls like you? I hope never to meet you in real life as I firmly believe you’re the kind of person I would hate to be around. Its people like you who cause problems for everyone else. You can talk all you want about what you think is right, and what should be happening but, for once in your life, just leave people alone and stop being such a bully. We all take responsibility and its just a sign of how messed up the world is that everyone feels the need to step in and tell other people off for not doing things the way they should, moreover, the way society wants them to do it. Thankfully, I’m an intelligent enough person to realise what people are like. You are definitely a narcassistical nightmare. I’m happy not to know you more than this and Im happy this is our only correspondence. No need to reply. I wont read any response you send. From this moment on if I see your name in the inbox, the email will automatically be deleted. Lets just move on and act like adults. The only reason the decision was made to stay anonymous was the amount of backlash we got from such a simple post. Lesson learnt. We wont be doing that again!

Er…cheers for that guys. Horrified that they might’ve caught me on a cow-day at any point, I read back my writing.

…Nope, I still stand by everything I said. Yes it was written in a formal capacity, but then…I was…um…writing in a formal capacity? So if they’re reading that as stuck-up and aggressive, then they must be very angry with say – Scottish Power, Virgin Media, City of Edinburgh Council, or anyone who doesn’t write in an informal or even sweary and insulting way I’m guessing?

And what is the point here? What the hell have I learned from this particular conversation? It’s just another example of the huge grey in the art and industry, amateur and professional. You can have amateur and professional in both the art and in the industry. And some folks seem to be afraid of the word ‘amateur’ when there really is no need. If it is amateur, then say so – its honest, open, will avoid any disappointment later, and is nothing to be ashamed of. Amateur is a needed level before professional.

But to get to a professional level, people will have worked extremely hard and will have invested so much to afford that status. Issues like this conversation are raised when things are advertised on jobs boards and are unknowingly not quite posted right, not quite explaining exactly what it is. Performers of ALL levels are so hopeful when a job catches their eye. Could it be a really good one? Can I really shine in this? Will it lead to bigger and better things? There’s a lot of emotion there, which rallies worry and caution alongside it.

What a great shame that this particular conversation resulted in name-calling when both parties intentions were actually helpful and good.