No More Jaan

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted any Jaan updates since the day-1 shoot. It turns out I’m no longer a part of that project.

Suspiciously coincidentally a day after I posted our open auditions for Breakdown, I received an email from Jaan’s creator stating that he felt my schedule isn’t working for him and my role would be changed from the lead to an unnamed character with one scene. (I say suspiciously because I met my current movie-business partners on the set of Jaan before they left the project.) Needless to say, the fact that no discussion over my schedule and commitment was entered into with me directly, and I, in essence, stayed with the project despite its fifteen month delay, has left a very bitter taste.

Everybody I’ve spoken to, including other people still involved in the project, agrees that the whole affair was conducted unprofessionally. Sadly, that’s the way of the industry. Even when one does have an iron-clad contract in place, issues still ensue. As stated in my last post, one of the big commercial productions is in a similar state, causing problematic delays with their schedule.

To be honest, aside from being a bit annoyed by the way I was “fired” over email, I’m quite content to not be a part of the Jaan project any more. It would have been a nice role to add to the cv but didn’t promise much more.

When I was cast for the lead role well over a year ago, I was very excited. At the time, I’d made the decision to break into the SA film industry and here was my break. Sure, there wasn’t much pay for this project but my aim was to use it as a launch pad. “Hey guys, look what I’ve done!”

In the course of the last year, however, I have partnered with people who have a better sense of production and a more balanced business mindset, leading to the creation of BollySAMo, my co-owned production company. In addition, I have changed over to an agent who has been successfully punting my brand and providing the right backing to truly explode my acting career. Plus, I’ve been offered roles in a few short films and was invited to work in another feature.

What this all boils down to is, while a year ago I would have been devastated to be bumped down in Jaan, today it’s more of a meh moment. Partly, my circumstances are different, partly I’ve more respect for myself as an actor.

The lesson to be learned tho, if you’re in the entertainment industry, is make sure that you either involve your agent (who will negotiate the best fees and handle the legal side of things) or get your own legal counsel (register with SAGA) to ensure there’s no chance of being screwed over.

Jaan wasn’t a make-money venture. It still isn’t. The film is being made for the sake of being made. More of an artistic adventure. Naturally there’s nothing wrong with creative expression for the sake of creative expression but painting a picture is different to making a feature film in that there are far more people needed for the latter; It really must benefit everybody for absolute commitment.

For me, that time has past. I have more important and worthwhile ventures to now focus on.