Friday, September 22, 2006

Actors and Interviews

Seth Godin blogs about traditional interviews as flawed for hiring people at most organizations. Actors interview all the time; we call them auditions. I'm not yet entirely sure how to apply/view his words with regards to auditions. I do like his observation that job openings fall into two categories:
Let's assert that there are two kinds of jobs you need to fill:
The first kind of job is a cog job. A job where you need someone to perform a measurable task and to follow instructions. This can range from stuffing envelopes to performing blood tests. It's a profitable task if the person is productive, and you need to find a reliable, skilled person to do what you need.
The second kind of job requires insight and creativity. This job relies on someone doing something you could never imagine in advance, producing outcomes better than you had hoped for. This might include a sales job, or someone rearranging the factory floor to increase productivity. It could also include a skilled craftsperson or even a particularly skilled receptionist.
I imagine extra work and stand-in work would fall into the first category: cog jobs. Extras and stand-ins must be professional, prompt and have the physical appearance that is needed, to be right for these cog jobs. Innovation is not required, or even desired, on the part of the typical background artist. As can be true in other fields, innovation can be disruptive and an opposite of consistency/competence.

Other acting is, to one extent or another, belonging in the second category. The actor is an assistant story-teller. Not everyone agrees with this, wants it, or is comfortable with it (both actors and others). Sometimes one is expected to simply stand there and say the words without challenging anyone emotionally or bringing anything unique to the process.

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this posted by David August at 3:41 PM 

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