Embellish...A Nicer Term for Lying, But Meaning the Same.
In my years in the business, I have met and mingled with many talented, professional actors and other actors who will do anything to convince people they are talented, professional actors. In this blog, I will address the latter.
Many years ago, I was employed in the Employee Relations department of major company. In my position, I was instrumental in the hiring and firing of employees. Many resumés came across my desk from applicants listing their past employment and accomplishments and on occasion, I would come across an applicant listing a past job that was untrue. Most knew I could verify if the person was actually employed by that company, or if they were, I could verify if they were a Vice President, like they listed, instead of the Mailroom Clerk they really were. Most information was easily verifiable, and most applicants knew better than to lie. Therefore, I am amazed by some actors who blatantly lie about their credits and training and think they will get away with this dishonesty. It is especially amazing in these times of instant access to information on the web such as IMDb.com.
I certainly am not a Hollywood A-lister by any means…not even close…however, I have seen some people embellish their resumés to a point that anyone with an average knowledge of our craft can easily spot as fake.
It is strongly suggested that an actor do not list background work on their resumé. However, I have seen actors list their background work as “co-star” which is easily verifiable. Or, listing a commercial background as “principal”. I have seen a couple of actors list credits as “series regular extras.” The latter defies logic and clearly says “amateur”.
The Special Skills section of a resumé is another area where being dishonest can backfire. If you list a foreign language, you had best speak that language…fluently. If you list accents, be sure you can speak in that accent. Do you only know how to play chopsticks on the piano? If so, do not list playing the piano as a skill. I played piano professionally about 60 years ago but gave it up very early in life. I can read music and know what keys to hit, but I couldn’t play now if my life depended on it. So, I do not list piano as a skill.
I have known a few actors who will pad their resumé with training they did not attend. This can sink their career if, for example, they list the Travis Technique Master Class, yet when asked by a Casting Director about the Interrogation Process, they have no clue. They might list Meisner training, yet when asked about the Repetition Exercise, they fall flat on their face.
Casting Directors and other professionals have been “around the block” a few times and know how to spot a fake.
Please don’t be a fake.