Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What not to ask a professional actor (a rant for the ignorant).

Apparently some folks haven't been told, so I'm telling you.

Retire this ENTIRE line of questioning, post-haste:

1.) Are you working?

No, I sit at home and watch TV all day.  Casting directors call me and offer me jobs on the shows that I like.

2.) How long are you going to do this?

Until I don't want to do it anymore.  How long are you going to go to that office job that you HATE?

3.) Do you have a real job too?

You mean this is a FAKE job?  Well, they send me real checks, so I think I'll just keep it.

4.) Why don't you get on that hit show (insert title here)?

Thanks for the suggestion.  I hadn't thought of that.  I'll just go to the set right now.

5.) Do you have something to fall back on?

Yes, because I intend to fail at this.  Do you have something to fall back on on case your business fails?

6.) How much money did you make on that movie/ commercial/ TV show?

Let me see your bank statement, and I'll show you mine.  No?  

7.) How come you weren't onscreen that long?

Because I had better things to do.  What the hell kind of question is that?

8.) Would you get me an autograph?

Sure, and while I'm at it, you go get YOUR colleagues to put their signatures on little slips of paper for people they don't know?  We'll trade.

9.) Why don't you contact Oprah/ Tyler Perry? (this question is usually directed to black actors)

I'll just call them up right now.  I'm sure they're just waiting to hear from actors who want to use them to advance their own careers.

10.) Don't the casting people know you by now? How come you still have to audition?

Didn't you send your resume to that company?  How come you still have to interview?

ALL of those are actual questions that I've been asked a number of times.  None of that crap is helpful, supportive, or encouraging. Some of it is none of your business.

Consider yourself informed.



  1. Yes, yes, and yes!!!! Even after all the years I still get comments like these. Well done. Nicole you are the best..... :)

  2. (sigh)

    Ah yes... THAT line of questioning. LOL

    Funny stuff Nicole! AND 'tragic' because it's so true.

    By the way, I was having tea with 'O' (Oprah) today... she mentioned that you hardly ever call her -- unless she calls you first! Be a 'dear' and give her a buzz sometime, won't you? Maybe do a movie with her or whatever.

    Gotta run... sending this from my phone... night golfing with Denzel and Pacino right now. OMG Pacino cheats!


  3. Someone tweeted this link so I thought I'd read it thinking it would be funny and informative. I was wrong. It wasn't the least bit humorous. In fact, I found it extremely insulting and painfully condescending and if I had even the slightest idea of who you were, I would no longer consider myself a fan.

    Do people ask painfully stupid and obvious questions? Yes. yes they do. Do they do it on purpose? Most likely, no. Why do you think it's bad for people to ask you "ignorant" questions but okay for you to treat them like crap?

    As I said, I have no idea who you are as a "working actor" but be assured, I no longer have any interest in finding out or asking you anything at all. Was this too harsh? Probably, but no harsher than anything you wrote.

  4. Wylie -

    Thanks! I thought the insulting questions would stop at SOME point. Jeez... ;o)


  5. Funny guy! Okay, tell "O" (that's what I call her) that I will give her a ring today. I was busy creating a project with Ty-Ty yesterday... no, not Tyler, TYRA! ;o)

  6. Karen -

    Artists get asked these questions ad nauseum, and contrary to your comment, often enough they ARE intentionally insulting and condescending. So you don't know me and don't want to. Everything isn't for everybody, and I'm okay with that. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and hopefully this will foster discussion and, if necessary, behavioral change toward the actors that you know personally. Actors, I assume, that you DO know and love.

    Be well!


  7. Killebrew-Mason4:09 AM

    I'm trying really hard to understand where Karen is coming from, but it's hard. As an actor and getting all these questions over and over again and sometimes from the same people I feel this blog was long overdue and much needed. I can promise you, Karen, we as actors probably never give the responses Nicole mentioned, we are usually too polite, but damned if we wouldn't all like to. I sent this blog to my mother and if she had the wisdom and sense of humor to accept it and learn from it, sorry, but I don't know what your problem is! To each his/her own and God Bless, but I bet you'll think twice before you ask an actor any of these questions? Mission Accomplished. Laugh a little.

  8. You're hysterical! Loved it!


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