How to kill your reputation dead















I recently made a swift exit from two popular industry networking forums on Facebook, both as a direct result of online mud-slinging. I have a mental list of about ten people I really wouldn't want to work with now. And honestly, if people asked me, I'd advise against using them. And it's simply because they're rude online.

The quickest way to make sure you don't get work

We all know the film, tv and theatre industry is flooded with talent. It's certainly true for acting, the number of actors out there who look like me, have a more impressive showreel than me and are indeed better actors than me is enormous.


But you see, it's not just about talent, it's about attitude. And recently I've witnessed a whole load of very bad attitude airing it's extremely ugly face online.


Have a think, here. If you're on a networking forum which is also frequented by casting directors, filmmakers, production companies, people who can make stuff happen for you, do you REALLY want them to see you being verbally abusive online? Okay, so you feel like a big fish in a small pond when you assert yourself with a snarky comment. But guaranteed someone will make a mental note that you're the sort of person that splashes their professional gripes ALL OVER Facebook and Twitter. Good employment material? Er... nope.


I've seen several actors ranting about how useless they believe casting directors are (explain THAT one to me, please?) on a forum which is frequented by.... casting directors. Presumably these are actors who want to work. I'm failing to do the career maths on that one and make it add up.


Most recently the time-honoured issue of unpaid work versus paid work reared it's head and all sorts of entitled, dogmatic and downright ignorant points of view were brandished across a Facebook forum. The guy who unwittingly started the discussion (via a crew call for unpaid work) ended up bearing the brunt of all sorts of accusations. And several contributors made it crystal clear that if you dare to disagree with their point of view it is crucial to them that they "win" the argument.


Now, regardless of how you feel about paid or unpaid work, would you want someone on your set who can't back down with grace in a stressful situation for the greater good? Who can't discuss things in a mature way? Who's unable to listen? Who needs to win every conflict to prove themselves? Definitely not.


I'll admit I've fallen foul to the need to be right on several occasions and I've always regretted how it made me look. Always.


It's all about the bigger picture. You are constantly giving out a message to the industry about what you are like to work with. Of course disagree with people. But don't potentially lose work doing it.

Comments: 13 (Discussion closed)
  • #1

    Morey (Sunday, 08 February 2015 23:47)

    The human race cannot stop earthquakes, hurricanes, or the end of life and unfortunately, it cannot fix stupid.

  • #2

    Patrick (Monday, 16 February 2015 11:44)

    i would never put the attitude people display online on par with their real life attitude, because it usually is not. i am highly confrontational online. i think that our collective pool of knowledge is tainted and muddled by wrong information and so, if i see some online, i feel inclined to rectify that. of course people do not react in the most polite way, when you tell them they are wrong and so conflict often ensues - and i adjust my own attitude to the one used on my.
    and yes, some people really take it too far, but we all do. we are all human. we all act very differently online, whether you are aware of it or not. there is no other person you can emphasize with, no tone, no body language, only words and people in general are too ignorant or stupid to understand the true power of semantics
    i have aspergers. i can not filter emotions as others do. i can't utilize them the same way, as a communicative tool, and and i have a hard time reading it correctly on others in real life, let alone where i can't read it at all (online) - i learned to live with it and compensate where i need to, and as complicated as it is to emulate a world of functioning emotions, it gives me an advantage online. i am not as emotionally involved (a compensation technique for me is to hold emotions on a low level, or they are too overwhelming) and get a distance - even if i would write something that seems to others like there are emotions involved, there never are.
    if we would have a conversation online and you would, by mistake, write something factually wrong and i would correct you, depending on your state of mind, you might take it personal, as an attack on your person, and not just the information (and most do) and you start bitching about me being rude etc, i might try to tell you that it is not about you, but the information and here is where being human comes in... we live in a world, dominated by a very small group of people; we have been playing power games since the last ice age and not enough have evolved beyond that yet. i do not participate in them, but people get turned on to it too easily and their reaction is often the same. for most it is about being right and not look like an arse, but it should be about the information - just like on set, it is not about the ego of you or the starts or anybody, but the story.
    don't get me wrong, i appreciate people being nice. but on the net, it is much better to be clear, factual and as little emotional as possible when involved in discussions.

    so if you judge people by their online behavior, you are judging people who are not themselves, who have nobody to reflect their words off of, people who think they are right, just as much as you do.
    my tip is to leave your ego and emotions out of internet discussions. plenty of trolls online can be very nice people in real life. i made an effort some years ago to meet some of my worst conversational partners from online in real life, and of course most of them where just normal people and most of what builds up the heat is misinterpretation (considering that the actual words used in a conversation are only responsible for 15% of the meaning we transport, 25% is tone and the rest is body language and other subtle things like small etc.) and too little effort. sure, some you won't get alone with, but that is true in real life just as much and the person you may hate, may be loved by others. i am sure you have people around who like you and i am just as sure that you have people around who do not.
    so my advice is not to sweat it. it's not like this industry can be rough sometimes in real life, ignore the roughness online. not worth it at all. and forget names. not only do they mean little overall, they mean less online and someone you think you know, may turn out to be someone completely different when you meet them face to face.

  • #3

    vanessabailey (Monday, 16 February 2015 16:23)

    Hi Patrick, I completely get your points. The problem still remains that your online presence IS what people see and it IS what potential co-workers and employers may make a judgement on, whether it's an accurate one or not. If the loudest voice we use online is a rude one, they'll assume it's our most usual one. :)

  • #4

    Benjamin Newsome Casting (Tuesday, 17 February 2015 09:55)

    Hi Vanessa,

    Just wanted to say what a brilliant article and thankyou for writing it. I agree whole heartedly.



  • #5

    Elizabeth Revill AKA Liz Spear (Tuesday, 17 February 2015 10:26)

    Hi Vanessa,

    Excellent article. I support your views. Thanks for pointing this out. Once a comment is out there - it is out there! So many people do not realise that.



  • #6

    Courtney Shumway (Tuesday, 17 February 2015 11:09)

    All good points - after years of freelancing, I've learned to treat all online interactions as professional interactions. Anyone could be a potential employer, colleague, client, or investor. If you wouldn't say it in public, in front of everyone you know, don't say it online :)

  • #7

    Joe Riley (Tuesday, 17 February 2015 15:46)

    Great article Vanessa, hopefully some of those people you refer to will actually take note and think before putting forth their views so vehemently - once its seen, it can't be 'unseen'!


  • #8

    Keith Hill (Tuesday, 17 February 2015 19:13)

    That was so well put, and the responses it has attracted were intriguing, both as to content and provenance. I find it a constant effort to re-phrase what I post to be constructive and moderate, especially when the world is treating me (as I see it) unfairly. It raises two points:
    1) oh, hell, I hope I succeed, and
    2) How much of a berk do I come across in person, when I don't have the time to self-moderate?

    I've always thought that people who regard passion as an excuse for aggression are being lazy, but others find me reserved and over-cerebral. can't win , I sometimes think.

  • #9

    vanessabailey (Thursday, 19 February 2015 01:48)

    Thankyou so much for taking the time to leave your comments - I read them all. I'm glad the article resonates with people :) We're all in it together - let's keep trucking! x

  • #10

    Anne-Marie C (Monday, 23 February 2015 22:49)

    Hi Vanessa,
    Great articles and webpage - hope your project is going well?
    I do believe that there are a lot of people out there who have not yet come to understand how important 'internet presence' as become and how it can push your career ahead or sink it before it even got started! It’s not only posting the wrong comments that put you in the wrong spotlight or rather out of the spotlights – the problem escalates in fact as everything that is posted on internet will start to have a live of his own – it will stay around for a very long while too! A bit of a merry-go-round that keeps reminding people of what you said. Cleaning up after you figured out that post shouldn’t have been posted is not always for a 100 % successful and traces can pop up at the most inconvenient time – like a boomerang slapping in your own face! In a way I see it as a form of stereotyping – often young actors believe it won’t matter that much what kind of roles they accept early in their career, ignoring the fact those little escapades are recorded and may be turn lose on youtube and other sites --- even years after they were shot! The internet is what it says – a public network connecting millions of people – people who will view, read your stuff and you have absolute no control on that! So if it’s better said privately – can harm you – keep it from the internet or it may haunt you for should a long time you can forget about having a career!
    Best of luck!

  • #11

    vanessabailey (Tuesday, 24 February 2015 10:56)

    Thanks Anne-Marie for taking the time to read the article and for your comments, I'm so glad it's resonated. It's a toughie the old internet - very unforgiving as you've rightly pointed out!! :)

  • #12

    Obat Penurun Kreatinin dan Ureum (Friday, 26 August 2016 04:42)

    articles were awesome and very helpful, thank you very much

  • #13

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