Saturday, March 12, 2011

What does selling out look like?

I'm trying to figure out if I'm a sell-out or not, or what a sell out actually is.

Some fringe artists seem to believe that any time you get money for doing something, that's selling out. I'm not that anti-anything to fall near this camp. I know another actor who gladly admits to "selling himself out" for any and every commercial over the span of fifteen years. He seems comfortable in his life. Not super famous, but been in pretty much everything as a day player. Is that selling out? Working your craft?

My issue right now is that I got cast in a commercial for a company I do not support. Does this mean I sold out? I'm an extra, so my face probably won't be seen, even if I'm not seen, it doesn't change the fact that I'm still doing it. Is it okay because I'm taking their money, or not okay because I'm taking their money? Work is work, but not all work is created equal. At this point, I'm not doing anything against my personal morals, but yesterday morning I never would have thought of working for them. Ever. Now I apparently will.

All steps to get my own stuff produced, like I am gaining points for doing all these other things, and when I get enough points, I can cash them in for my own project. In that sense, I think the means and the ends are not that different. As of now, I am content in my choice. It does not not change who I am. It does remain an interesting question; what does selling out look like?


  1. I don't think that being in a commercial for this company is selling out. I think that selling out would be endorsing something that you do not agree with - as in being the focal point of an advertising campaign as yourself.

    Sometimes actors are cast for films or plays in which they have to play a character who they do not like (or even hate) in real life. You just have to remember that while you are playing that person (or representing that company), you are not really you in that moment - you are someone else.

  2. That's a good point. I've often thought about that, separating myself from my art in the way that yes, these characters are not actually me, but I am still them. Like some sort of scalable venn diagram. However, I do have to acknowledge that no matter what, when I enter into an agreement, it's me saying yes, not my character, so I am ultimately responsible for my own actions, even if they are the actions of a character through me. It's like allowing yourself to be possessed...but in a less extreme way (I hope).