A plea to young actors everywhere: Seriously, stop complaining about your theatre directors on Facebook.
It’s all too common for young people to take to social media to vent about their post-cast-list emotions. While venting is acceptable and necessary, doing it online and publicly can cause some problems.
When these types of vent-posts appear online they’re almost always relatively immediate and rash. The casting wound is recent, and the poster isn’t fully thinking through what they’re posting, so even a well-intentioned post tends to come off badly.
Here’s a collection of real posts I’ve seen on Facebook, in broad daylight:
“The cast list for my school’s production of High School Musical was released. Its a double-cast show and I got Jack Scott for half of the shows, and just ensemble for the other half. Have to say, I’m a bit disappointed. 😕 Does anyone have any experience to share of this show?”
“The cast list for my schools fall production just came out and I’m in the ensemble again. I’m happy to be in the show but I’m just tired of being overlooked for the same person every time. I’m going to be a senior next year and I have never even been given a speaking role while a freshman gets the roles I’ve auditioned for every time for the past 6 shows and I’m just tired of it. I’m happy to be in the show but it would be nice to actually be on the stage for more than 20 minutes. Does this ever happen to anyone else, they are always looked over for the same person?”
“I auditioned for a big role in school. I got callbacks for a potential lead role, only to find out today that I’m in the chorus. Most freshmens got the lead role, and the seniors didn’t even get any.”
Being upset about casting? Fine.
These types of posts? Absolutely not fine.
I think these are usually written by young people who are relatively new to theater, so they just don’t understand the gravity of the negative impact these posts can have.
The biggest problem is that these posts do not convey good-natured, “try again next time” disappointment. They convey entitlement. They read as “I’m upset because I feel I was jilted, and others got roles they didn’t deserve.” They assume that others didn’t work hard for their roles and go on to insult their directors for choosing anyone else, accusing them of favoritism and pettiness. The posters often fail to recognize that the ensemble is important, betraying the fact that they’re probably not mature or experienced enough to handle a lead role anyway.
Worst yet, these posts almost always in locations where they can be easily spotted by people connected to the director in question– whether other cast members, friends, or professional connections. Quite often these posts are in public Broadway-related groups, some of which have thousands of members all with similar interests. The chance one of these posts will track back to the very director the student is (purposefully or inadvertently) complaining about is very high. It’s very easy for a fellow castmate (who you’ve also accused of being undeserving) to see your post and send it along to the director. Friends of the director might recognize your name or school from your page and pass it along as well.
If you make a post like this, chances are it will be seen by the very people you’re complaining about. And they, rightfully, will not take kindly to it. In fact, it’s not uncommon for directors to throw students out of shows altogether for this kind of diva-like behavior, or decide never to consider them for roles again. You can ruin your relationships with your castmates and director in one easy, convenient post. Ah, the wonders of social media!
Keep this in mind the next time you think about complaining online about your casting. Choose your words very carefully, and consider what exactly may happen if and when the post makes its way to the director.
You’re in control of your own fate in this scenario. Influence your casting chances for the better with hard work– don’t ruin your chances evermore by making a poor choice on Facebook.