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.