3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Do Student Films

By Webmaster

  • 3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Do Student Films

    Yep. Sometimes they really do suck!

    (by Carmichael Phillips)

    Alright. Let’s light this candle!

    We’ve already given you the lowdown on how student films can be beneficial to the development of your acting career. You can gain things like quality footage for your demo reel and needed credits for your acting résumé.

    But there is a darker side to pursuing roles in student films. Indeed, the process doesn’t always work as it should.

    Here are several ways that student films can go wrong for actors; several ways it sometimes sucks to do student films:

  • #1: You Don’t Always Get Your Damned Footage!

    And, there it is! Right out the gate. The student film arrangement is sometimes a sham!

    The student film arrangement is supposed to work on the barter system. It’s supposed to go something like this: You, the actor, donate your acting services to their project and, in return, you get a boost to your acting career in the form of experience, credit and, most importantly, high-quality footage for your demo reel.


    RELATED:
    5 Good Reasons to Do Student Films
    What is a Student Film?


    At least, that’s the way it is supposed to work. In reality, all too often, the student filmmaker reneges on the deal. The actor donates their time and talent – usually for free — and works hard to make the project a success. But when it comes time for the student to hold up their end of the bargain – delivering to the actor their footage – they decide it’s not important.

    When the project is over, most student filmmakers are diligent about delivering you your footage. Others, however, rather than making a good faith effort, disappear into the night.

    Those bastards!

    The actor is left to wonder if they’ll ever get their footage and whether or not their hard work will be rewarded. After several attempts to get in contact with the student, most actors give up.

    Even if you get your footage…
    By the way, even if you do get your footage, what are the chances that the quality of the footage will be worthy to go on to your demo reel?

    You might end up with worthless, unusable footage at the end of the day. What a waste!

  • #2: Most Student Films Don’t Pay

    Most student films don’t pay. Of course, you knew that when you signed-on to do the role. Your goal was not necessarily to earn a big paycheck. It was to build your reel and résumé today so you can be more competitive for paying roles elsewhere tomorrow.

    But how likely is it that the student film you work on today will help you in the future? What if the days you spend auditioning for a student film, preparing for the role and filming the project were spent elsewhere?

    You could have, for example, used the time to pursue relationships with casting directors or to find a new agent or to film your own project.

    There’s an opportunity cost to consider here. The time you spend on a student film takes away from the time you could have spent on something else that might have better aided you in the development of your career.

    In this case, not only are you losing real dollars by working for free, but you’re also losing out on critical opportunities.

  • #3: Student Filmmakers Aren’t Always Professional!

    If you are a professional actor who is used to working on professional sets, working with students can be a step-down. A BIG step-down!

    These are kids after all. The phrase “young adults” is still a little bit of a stretch to describe many of them. For some of them, a student film is just not that serious. Some of them don’t even want to be filmmakers at all! And for that reason, they don’t always run a professional, taut ship.

    Problems! Problems!
    Problems with acting in student films can include:

    *disorganized film schedules

    *disorganized sets

    *problems with scripts, including excessive grammatical errors

    *wasting time on set

    *not being respectful of the actor’s time

    *not being appropriately appreciative of the actor’s contribution

    In other words, you can’t expect students to be anything more than students.

    Working on student films is largely beneficial, especially for actors who are not well-established, working actors. But it doesn’t always come up roses. Sometimes, it’s just a total and complete graveyard!

    It sucks!

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • Actor Stories: Molly Shannon’s 10-Year-Struggle to Beat the Odds in Hollywood

    Actor Stories: Molly Shannon’s 10-Year-Struggle to Beat the Odds in Hollywood How many years are you willing to dedicate to your dream of becoming a professional, working actor? (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) How…

    Keep Your Actor Body!

    Keep Your Actor Body! Cut Down on Sugar to Stay in Shape During Quarantine (Todd Bruce) Coronavirus has robbed us of something many of us hold dear: our weekly or monthly trips to…

    Quarantine and Build

    Quarantine and Build…Your Acting Career 5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Acting Career While Under Quarantine (by Jim Webb) “It was the worst of times. It was the worst of times.”…

    Don’t Do These 7 Things When Choosing a Monologue

    Don’t Do These 7 Things When Choosing a Monologue Here are some things you should absolutely avoid when choosing your next monologue (by Jim Webb) Are you looking for a new monologue? Don’t…

    The Push Strategy vs. The Pull Strategy

    The Push Strategy vs. The Pull Strategy What if you, as an actor, didn’t wait for the market to demand your acting services? (by Carmichael Phillips) “My career began the day I left…

  • Ad

  • 7 Basic Facts about Stella Adler

    7 Basic Facts About Stella Adler Stella Adler left behind a powerful legacy, inspiring a who’s who of iconic actors (by Carmichael Phillips) Stella Adler (February 10, 1901- December 21, 1992) may have…

    “Tenacity is almost more important than talent” (Mark Hamill)

    “Tenacity is almost more important than talent” (Mark Hamill) (Arranged by AM staff) Actor Mark Hamill has a face most Star Wars fans would instantly recognize, even though he does some of his…

    Don’t Panic! It’s Just a Redirect.

    Don’t Panic! It’s Just a Redirect. 5 Things You Can Do to Reduce the Fear of the Dreaded Redirect (By Jim Webb) Human beings didn’t always dominate the Earth. Once upon a time,…

  • Ad

  • Actor Stories: How Rashida Jones Almost Gave Up on Acting

    Actor Stories: How Rashida Jones Almost Gave Up on Acting ‘It felt like a waste of time to keep doing this over and over again’ (by Carmichael Phillips) Ok, fine! Rashida Jones’ entertainment…

    “Don’t be a one-trick pony” (Christian Bale)

    “Go for new tricks. Don’t be a one-trick pony” (Christian Bale) (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) In an interview with the Oral History of Hollywood, actor Christian Bale had an interesting take on the…

    5 Great New Year’s Resolutions for Actors

    5 Great New Year’s Resolutions for Actors Here are some great New Year’s resolutions you should strive for, if you haven’t already (by James Webb) We are a few weeks into the new…

    10 Reasons You Didn’t Book the Role You Should Have Booked

    10 Reasons You Didn’t Book the Role You Should Have Booked There are countless potential reasons why you didn’t book the role you thought surely you were going to book. Let’s just start…

    “Listen and React” (Michael Caine)

    Michael Caine’s Greatest Advice to Film Actors: Listen and React “Listening is really what acting is all about, for movies. It’s not like the theatre. It’s an entirely different situation.” “When I was…

  • Ad

  • What is the “Repetition Exercise”?

    What is the “Repetition Exercise”? There are several objectives that the Repetition Exercise seeks to achieve. Chief among these is to increase the actor’s reliance on their instincts. (by Tonya Tannenbaum) The “Repetition…

    “Education is so essential” (Jake Gyllenhaal)

    Education is Essential “Education is so essential, because there’s no way of knowing what good material is, or knowing if a story is original, or knowing what makes a story original, or know…

    5 Basic Facts about Sanford Meisner

    5 Basic Facts about Sanford Meisner Though he died in 1997, his work continues to live on… (by Carmichael Phillips) Sanford Meisner (August 31, 1905 – February 2, 1997) had a profound impact…

  • Ad

  • That Time I Crashed an Audition, and Lived to Tell About It!

    That Time I Crashed an Audition, and Lived to Tell About It! Don’t try this at home, kids! (The Anonymous Actor) Don’t try this at home, kids. This maneuver is only for the…

    “Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity?” (Don Cheadle)

    “Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity?” (Don Cheadle) (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) You probably know Don Cheadle from his starring role…

    Before You Blame Your Agent….

    Before You Blame Your Agent… Because, it’s not always your agent’s fault (By Jim Webb) You’re not getting enough auditions. Your friends are auditioning like crazy, while you rarely get any. The knee-jerk…

    “To be an interesting actor, you must be authentic” (Sanford Meisner)

    “To be an interesting actor – hell, to be an interesting human being – you must be authentic and for you to be authentic you must embrace who you really are, warts and…

    3 Important Questions to Answer Before Your Next Headshot Photoshoot

    3 Important Questions to Answer Before Your Next Headshot Photoshoot Remember, the goal of a headshot is not just to produce a pretty looking headshot (by Jim Webb) Before you go out and…

  • Ad

  • The Callback Checklist

    The Callback Checklist Check these items off your list before you go in for your next callback (by Carmichael Phillips) Are you ready for your next callback? Check these items off your list…

    Why Building Relationships with Casting Directors is So Important

    Why Building Relationships with Casting Directors is So Important One of the best ways to improve your odds is to emphasize relationship-building as a core part of your strategy for success (by Carmichael…

    “You can’t rely on anyone to hand you anything in this business. Ever! So, just be creative.” (Joe Manganiello)

    “You can’t rely on anyone to hand you anything in this business. Ever! So, just be creative.” “So many times I meet people who [ask me], you know, ‘do you have any advice…

  • Ad

  • What is the “Private Moment Exercise”?

    What is the “Private Moment Exercise”? The concentration that it takes to have a private moment in public, empowers the actor to bring a higher level of concentration to a character (by Tonya…

    Funny Feel-Facts, Part II

    Funny Feel-Facts, Part II (by Carmichael Phillips) Here are 5 more feel-facts about acting I’ve uncovered. Part 1 of my Feel-Facts series brought some laughs and inflamed some tensions, so I thought I’d…

    3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Do Student Films

    3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Do Student Films Yep. Sometimes they really do suck! (by Carmichael Phillips) Alright. Let’s light this candle! We’ve already given you the lowdown on how student films…

    “No amount of failure…can dissuade a determined actor.” (Susan Saint James)

    “Through my own experiences and achievements, I have found that no amount of encouragement, help, or advice can make an unmotivated person a star, while at the same time, no amount of failure,…

    Set Aside One Day Each Week for Your Acting Business

    Set Aside One Day Each Week for Your Acting Business How setting aside an entire day can improve your acting business (by Jim Webb) The #actorslife is a hectic one. Between your survival…

    How to Turn Your Audition Trash into Audition Treasure

    How to Turn Your Audition Trash into Audition Treasure What if you used every bad audition as a kind of audition technique class? (by Carmichael Phillips) Let’s say, your recent audition was an…

    What is “Type”?

    What is “Type”? You have to know exactly what you’re selling in order to consistently make the sale (by Tonya Tannenbaum) An actor’s “type” generally refers to the category or categories that the…

    “The actor must constantly respond to stimuli that are imaginary.” (Lee Strasberg)

    “The human being who acts is the human being who lives. That is a terrifying circumstance. Essentially, the actor acts a fiction, a dream; in life, the stimuli to which we respond are…