Saturday, September 6, 2014

Working on a television pilot

I've been working long days this week acting on the Westworld pilot for HBO, so that's why this post is going up on Saturday instead of the usual Thursday. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were 13 hour days, starting at 6-7 in the morning. 

Of course it's nice that's there's very little traffic at that hour, but if I'm not shooting, I'm not an early morning person. So - lots of coffee!

I can't give out details yet on the shoot as they are keeping things like story-lines and plot points secret. And this is something for this week's post. The show I'm now working on is one of those that a lot of people want to know about. I've told a few friends, but I'm not posting anything on the internet yet - and here's why:

More and more, you'll find that you have to sign confidentiality agreements (often called nondisclosure agreements)  along with the regular contract, especially on films or new shows, (or even the occasional commercial) with a unique plot or surprise ending. And we can understand this. Writers, producers, directors, and actors work hard to keep an audience in suspense with twists and turns in a plot or story-line, and how fair is it to have all that effort given away because its been posted all over the internet for weeks (or months) before the show airs or the movie opens in theaters.

And you really need to keep those confidentiality agreements - if you're caught posting plots or even worse - pictures of the production that you shot on your phone - you may not be fired from that project, but the producers will make notes and you won't work for them again. And they'll probably tell the casting director who you auditioned for and they probably won't audition you again. And - they may tell your agent, who won't be happy because it hurts his reputation to have actors who break confidentiality agreements.

So, can you tell your best friend, or spouse? The answer is - do you trust them enough that they won't post the details to their blog or whatever? Remember, they're not the ones who will get in trouble - you are.

There's a time when the producers will love it that you're talking about the show or film (as long as you're not bad-mouthing it or giving away embarrassing secrets about your fellow actors). And in the meantime, you can say that you're working on the film or show. 

Not sure what else you can safely talk about? When you sign your contract, ask the 2nd A.D. what's okay. He or she will probably say something like: "It's okay to say that you're working on 'Title of film' and maybe even what your role is - if its revelation doesn't give away a plot point (like mine does on this project, which is why I'm not disclosing what my role is at this time). 

I'm going to do some checking next week when I go in to do some more work, and see what else I can safely disclose. I would have done that this week, but when I have to get up at 5 a.m., I'm lucky to remember where I parked my car.



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