The civic obligations of being an actor

I’ve mentioned in other venues the responsibility one has to one’s self when it comes to the path of pursuing entertainment as a career. Along with this sense of being and direction is the important culpability of always doing: -What feels right (morally, ethically, & professionally) – is the thing that defines you. I recall a friend in the industry once telling me, years ago, that “character is what defines our choices when the choices aren’t obvious.”

 When I first began to learn the stunt side of the business (and am, as actor, stuntman, coordinator, and director ALWAYS learning) I said to the person who had taken me under his wing that I had no idea what to do to thank him. He told me that in time I would be doing the same thing, offering people guidance and instructing people on how to approach a stunt or improve on something they were already doing. An old friend came to visit and brought his daughter to the show. Afterwards I brought them back stage and gave them a tour of the facility. The talk shifted to one of our loves, live shows and live and interactive performance. He reminded me of a stunt show we were both involved in and how I wound up teaching an impromptu high fall class. Two things happened: One – I helped people fine tune the skill they already had, or in other cases showed them the basic mechanics of what a high fall entailed. Two – I taught people.

I am not an expert, but believe in offering insight when approached. We all have the obligation to offer guidance to others who enter the realm of entertainment. To expand on this posit, it behooves us to offer guidance and insight to any person seeking to gain footing in our area of expertise.  This ought to not be confused with telling people how to do things.

For me, no matter how star struck or rooted in reality the person is, I always offer the same information, though often slightly tailored to their specific concerns or issues. I have also taken to writing letters, or emails, when issues concerning our industry come frothing to the surface. If we don’t offer contrasting, counterpoint insight to news reports or topical concerns, then at the end of the day we don’t deserve to say anything. This applies across the board to anything.

Example – I heard a report on the tax incentive program and how economists stated “states were lucky to break even,” and “the jobs were temporary.” I live in a state that offers a tax incentive to film production, and have worked in other states where those states offer tax incentives to film production.

The reality? For every dollar spent to bring a film project to a location that film project spends on average 5.50 to 6.00 dollars. That is a remarkable return. Those temporary jobs? A lot of your below the line folks move from project to project, making a great living while supporting both the industry and their families. But people don’t know unless you educate them.

My point to this is if you have to question the veritas of a statement, then by all means do the research. If the information is not correct, then become a voice and offer another perspective. This not only makes you more aware, it makes you more efficacious. And if you take the time to do the research, it makes you knowledgeable.

It makes you a responsible member of the community, no matter what that community is.

Knowledge is power only when properly wielded.

Ronald Fox Actor / Author / Stuntman

feed your mind; feed the world


One Response to “The civic obligations of being an actor”

  1. Brian Schroeder (Gene) of Destroyer Says:



    Many thanks for the write up. Would you have any problem with me copying and posting this on myspace for all to read. Your words will give us a good edge against the competiotn. If you know of anyone who has pics and or video please ask them to send them to my e-mail or myspace and I will see that they are also passed onto the other band members.

    Thanks again,

    Brian Schroeder

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