Not a Team Player? Then Don’t Get Involved

Lewis Baird

Dancers, actors and musicians all need to work on their own skills individually throughout their training and careers, however they also need to get used to the idea of collaborating with other artists.

Working within the stage, film and television industry is very challenging and you obviously gain more skills with the more experience you are given. However, what you should be prepared to do is work with another artist from the start, even before you leave school, you learn that you need to work in a team with other artists. My personal experience within groups in drama at high school was fairly positive, I worked together with others happily and the ideas were accepted or chucked out fairly. I experienced this only when creating work. However, when it came to being in school shows and being part of the ensemble, there was always those who wanted to push or even punch their way to the front of the stage. I wasn’t the most eager to be at the front anyway, seeing as my dancing skills were definitely not outstanding. They still aren’t by the way. But hey, moving on from my dancing skills, I still don’t see the need to show desperation to be at the front. ESPECIALLY if you have been positioned within a specific space by your choreographer. This was in high school but I have still in recent years seen members of a cast move from their blocked position and then move closer to the edge of the stage, facing out to the audience.

If you expect to become a professional, then don’t push your way to the front, do what you’re told and just deal with the fact your colleague/team mate, is shining away at the front of stage. If this happened within a professional production you would be cautioned and then if it happened again you would be sacked. Some directors won’t even stand for that, if you are being a diva then, bye bye!

When within college, university or drama school one of the things you are expected to do is work as an ensemble regularly. Devising or creating a piece is something that actors have to do on a fairly regular basis. I love being in a group where everyone is contributing, there is no overall control and everyone gets their input. One thing I cannot stand is overpowering or constant rejection of other people’s ideas or work. Fair enough you as an artist have your own opinion however you need to respect others, it’s a democracy not a dictatorship. If the rest of the group decide they want to do something, go with it. Even if you don’t like the idea, you need to respect the fact that others have decided that this is a good idea to go with. Don’t throw the dummy out saying it’s a bad idea and that your idea is better. Grow up, you are NEVER going to always get your own way. If you act like this professionally, you will not get work as simple as. Luckily my class is excellent at devising, we work very slickly together. Ideas and respected, even if that means they decide not to be included. That’s the way it should be. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

One thing I cannot stand is attempts at upstaging, if you are working with someone else, don’t try to make them look stupid. I hate going to see a play or a performance where an actor or actress, it purposely trying to belittle their fellow performer. Of course if this is within the character then go ahead. But if you are purposely working harder than normal to be better than the person you are working with so it turns into a battle of anything you can do, I can do better, then stop. It makes you look like a jerk. It’s like musicians trying to be louder than each other. Give it a break!

If you ever have to work with someone you don’t like, deal with it. Leave all baggage at the door and walk in with a clean slate. And work together well, no digs, no sly comments, just get your head down and deal with it. There’s many actors who hate each other with a passion but have worked with each other in bliss, this is the die-hard professionals. Do what they do and you’ll get somewhere within the industry.

Here’s one which is painful but is vital you get over, if you don’t get the part you want but still get cast or put in the ensemble of a production, don’t be bitchy. You need to just deal with it. I know it hurts, she got Elphaba and you got Nessa. But don’t sit and say, oh I could hit the high notes in defying gravity better than her, because quite clearly, you can’t. Just be pleased you’re on the stage and in the show. Don’t moan.

To end my rant, just basically don’t be a jerk and people will hire you.