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I propose we demand a higher level of excellence from ourselves, those producing creative content, and the shows and films we watch in our homes.

Contrary to what many popular shows reveal, especially on networks like HBO, to be a successful actor does not mean you need to disrobe. To be cast on many of their shows, that is most likely a requirement.

So, let’s leave that world and enter a new one. In this world, actors are hired for their believability and their ability to bring a character to life and endear the audience to her.

And isn’t that choice ultimately in the hands of the actor?

It seems like a no-brainer, but when faced with the opportunity to play an amazing role, especially after thousands of hours of training, auditioning, accepting small parts, and being rejected time and again, what if the role of a lifetime meant the director and producer wanted you to simply reveal a part of yourself you otherwise would not show to the world?

After all, isn’t establishing the character in their fictional world necessary?

People want genuine and authentic.

Here’s where the line is drawn in the sand. What are you willing to sacrifice for a role?

You, the actor, should always come first.

Your values.

Your ideals.

Ask yourself: would this story be amazing even if the actors didn’t take their clothes off? And what about the audience?

Images are thrust at them from one moment to the next, often without knowing what hit them.

Do they need to see you naked in their memory of the film?

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Have you ever heard of the casting couch? That used to be a term that meant that casting directors would seduce actors into sleeping with them with the promise of a role. Casting directors don’t have the authority to make that decision! But they do have the option to make sure your audition gets to the director or doesn’t.

And directors? In the past, rumors have circulated that leading roles have been cast because of favors to the director. TMI, right?

These issues are important to discuss because we actors have the right to protect our bodies and careers. If it comes down to it, we always have the decision to walk away and seek out something better. Aren’t we worth it?

In the 1930s, a Motion Picture Production Code was established in Hollywood known as the Hays Code. These were a set of moral guidelines, and rules meant to make pictures safe for the public. Obviously, that is because they were not previously following any code of conduct to protect the performers in their films or their viewing audiences. Even though some of the rules of approval may seem extreme to us today, after the code was adhered to, some of the most beloved films in our history were made. Why? Because storytellers and producers were forced to create something that spoke to the masses and endured, many touching us to this very day. They couldn’t rely on skin to simply sell tickets. Something more substantial was in order.

I propose we demand a higher level of excellence from ourselves, those producing creative content, and the shows and films we watch in our homes.

Carissa Dalton

Author Carissa Dalton

Carissa Dalton is a professional actor, writer, director, teacher and coach. As an actor, she has over twenty years of commercial, television, film and stage experience. She has appeared in projects for Volkswagen, Teleflora, Amtrak, Mitsubishi, Sony TV, National Geographic and more. As a writer, actor, and director, she co-wrote, starred-in and directed the feature film, All The Dragons. She has also directed thirty short films. As a teacher and coach, Carissa has worked with actors and directors, helping them elevate their skills through the CFTN Film Lab—a collaborative class of actors, writers, and directors working to create film organically—of which she is the co-founder and co-director. Carissa is also a well-trained vocalist and dancer, as well as an experienced improv theater performer.

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