Talk:Actor

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Infobox[edit]

I've removed the infobox recently added to the article as it serves no useful purpose that I can see. If I've missed something, please feel free to explain. Thanks, DionysosProteus (talk) 11:50, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Good day, I added the "occupation infobox" to enhance this really nice B-class article. The ultimate goal is to have a uniform look and in a common format in all articles related to occupations and professions. The infobox exists in other languages and is really successful.
The implementation is quite difficult sometimes, especially with people that worked a lot on an article and feel that it's their way or no way. Wikipedia is for everyone and written by everyone.
WP:SILENCE: "Consensus can be assumed to exist until voiced disagreement becomes evident"
WP:CON: "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale"
If you keep reverting the infobox, you take full ownership of the article and don't give any chance of exposure. Obviously, if the consensus is that this "Actor" article should not be like all other occupational articles, consensus wins.
Thanks, --ŦħęGɛя㎥ 00:56, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

The article with infobox is available here. My objection to the infobox has nothing to do with a sense of ownership over the article - I've contributed something in the region of a single sentence to it myself. Rather, I object to it because it makes the article look stupid. It gives undue prominence to some, let's say, "highly debatable" and at best extremely "marginal" ideas (since when has an actor anything to do with the circus? actors busk now?). The rest of the "information" presented in that way gives the article an air of self-parody. I find it difficult to imagine what need of a Wikipedia browser/reader is served by it. Who needs to be able to confirm at a glance that an actor needs "skills"? I read that "An infobox on Wikipedia is [...] in articles with a common subject to provide summary information consistently between articles or improve navigation to closely related articles in that subject." Neither of those aims appear to be served by this box. As far as I can see, it only serves to "diminish Wikipedia's reputation as a high-quality encyclopedia" without any compensating gain. DionysosProteus (talk) 09:55, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm late to the party, but I do agree with Dionysos, the occupation template is too much of a stretch to be truly useful here. It ought to be removed. Carl.bunderson (talk) 05:22, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree having looked at the infobox version it looks really dumb.Jezhotwells (talk) 02:10, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Have removed it again.  • DP •  {huh?}

Semi-protection[edit]

Article protected temporarily, vandalism/blanking. --Dweller (talk) 15:05, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Refs for "actress"[edit]

I've just removed a {{cn}} tag because of Wikipedia:Citation overkill. With all the points referenced (before I changed my mind) it looked like this. If it's going to be tagged frequently, perhaps I should go back to the original version. Suggestions? --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:41, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

That form look pretty good except the fact that it is stated twice in the same paragraph that the term actress remains "common in general usage." I would think that this could be stated once and the two refs put with that one mention. I'm not even sure how accurate that is anymore. DVD commentaries as diverse as Mad Men and Doctor Who (and these are only two examples of many that I have heard) and talk shows Like the Graham Norton Show have all switched to using the term "actor" for both genders. Even a show as goofy as Tru TV Presents the World's Dumbest relies solely on the original word. But I know that passions can run high over this so I think leaving in just the one mention would be a positive for the article. MarnetteD | Talk 11:54, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

The problem is the phrasing. I don't have access to the online OED (only my shorter material version), so I can't check what the entry says for Actress. Is it possible to reproduce the entry here? Or, I seem to remember seeing a template on a talk page yesterday that said something about storing a webpage in an archive that wikipedia could then reference... Do you know about that? The contention is about whether Actress is the most common term today for a female performer in theatre/film. In my experience, it tends to be regarded as anachronistic. So if the article is going to argue that it's the most common, I'd like to examine the evidence. With the phrasing "actress became the usual term", it implies not merely an historical development that has since been superceded, but a change that is still with us today. I seem to recall that the last time I looked at this page, which was a while ago (because it brings me such pain to even look), there were sourced citations supporting the opposite view. I suspect that it's something that will come up again and again with this article. So, I'm thinking that it might be worth creating a sub-page talk article that gives the evidence for terminology.

I was going to propose that this article became the subject of the WikiProject Theatre collaboration drive, since it gets pretty much the most hits in the area: 70,000 in the last 30 days. That's about 2,500 people every day looking at this. It brings shame on my house. But the current proposal was for Theatre, so that's first.

With regards to terminology, I have tagged in the back of my head somewhere that when I do get around to trying to tackle this one, to look at Andrew Gurr's book The Shakespearean Stage. He has an interesting narrative of the shift during the Elizabethan/Jacobean era from "player" as the most common to the emergence of "actor", and how this is related to a decrease of the presentational aspects and an increase in the representational illusion, specifically in terms of the performer "becoming" the character more and more. Can't remember the exact term off the top of my head. Anyhow, worth flagging here if someone else feels brave and wants to work on this article. There's also all the actor/puppet debates in modernism arising out of symbolism and people like Edward Gordon Craig, Vsevolod Meyerhold, etc. We should certainly mention the Übermarionette. Olga Taxidou's work is excellent in this area.  • DP •  {huh?} 12:16, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

I can see from DP's comment that a closer referencing of the OED quotes is needed: self revert follows. --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:06, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
All biographies that I have seen in the last month or so on "The Biography Channel" now use the word actor when identifying both male and female interviewees. It looks like a reference is going to be needed for actress remaining in "general usage". Please see the Merriam Webster Dictionary definition [1] which specifically uses a female in their examples section. MarnetteD | Talk 20:43, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps some distinction needs to be made between "general use" by the public, in which old habits die hard, and the acting profession and the media. I don't know how easy or hard that will be to find but it might but I am seeing more signs of a shift towards gender neutrality as this past decade has gone by. MarnetteD | Talk 20:56, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Date from Lizbeth Goodman added. --Old Moonraker (talk) 22:21, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Many thanks for your time and efforts. I think the addition helps to explain the direction that the usage is moving (too fast for some and too slow for others I am sure) towards. MarnetteD | Talk 22:27, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
It is fair enough to say that some people use the word actress to refer to a female actor but phrases like usually actress for female written on the opening line are not good unless you have some evidence for it. Never used the word actress myself, I've heard it used obviously. Even the American Oscars uses the word female actor and that's America - not exactly the most socially liberal country!--ЗAНИA talk WB talk] 23:09, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Re-reading this I can see why you feel it jars, but we're reporting what is, and not what we'd like. The statistics are given in "Terminology", lower down. Is there way of expressing this less bluntly? --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:31, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Removed reference to survey[edit]

In the terminology section, the article contained a reference to a survey of a corpus of British English, purporting to show that use of the term "actor" is nearly twice as common as use of the term "actress". However, the reference noted that the survey did not distinguish between references to male actors and to female actors. That being the case, it seemed entirely irrelevant to the question of how common a term "actress" is for female actors. Moreover, it was slightly misleading in that at a glance it seemed to say that "actor" was twice as commonly used for female actors as "actress" was—the qualification was buried in the text of the footnote itself.

Because I felt that the reference was misleading and because it did not seem to support either side of the question in any case, I took it out. JudahH (talk) 04:24, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

To clarify why the reference was misleading and why it didn't really support either side: it was presented as follows:

"Actress remains in general use, although in a survey of a "wide cross-section of current British English", compiled in 2010, actor was almost twice as commonly found as actress" [emphasis on "although" added]

"Although" implies that the survey results tend to undermine the statement that 'actress' remains in general use, which is supported by the lack of context given, allowing the reader to assume that 'actor' was almost twice as commonly found as 'actress' in reference to female actors. However, once one takes into account that the survey ignores the gender of the referent, the numbers tell a different story. If one assumes that references to male and female actors were approximately equal, then 'actor' being twice as common overall would imply that 'actress' is twice as common in reference to female actors ('actor' would be used every time for male actors and 1/3 of the time for female actors; 'actress' would be used 2/3 of the time for female actors and never for male actors).

However, without knowing the contextual details for each reference, the survey offers at best tenuous evidence for usage in either direction, so I simply took it out instead. JudahH (talk) 15:06, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

"Acting awards" section[edit]

Is it time for a WP:SS spinoff yet? --Old Moonraker (talk) 16:19, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

I was thinking the same thing as the last couple of awards were added. Since there are wikiarticles for the awards they would seem to meet notability requirements but I don't think we need an ever expanding list in the middle of this article. Hopefully others will add their thoughts but I would be in favor (or per WP:ENGVAR favour) of you handling this in the way that you think best. Thanks for bring this up and cheers. MarnetteD | Talk 18:30, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
The suggestion may be superfluous: List of awards in theatre includes performances. Transfer any not already there, delete the rest, add the wikilink to "see also" section. --Old Moonraker (talk) 09:33, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Transferred to List of awards in theatre and List of film awards. --Old Moonraker (talk) 12:21, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Problematic adverb[edit]

MarnetteD, there is an issue with how the lead sentence is worded - not on point of view, but on verifiablity and semantics. In its present form - "An actor (sometimes actress for female)" - it is synthesized original research that is unsupported by the given reference. The citation provided after the first sentence does not mention the word actress, nor mention its usage frequency. In fact, that citation in no way represents the majority of people and what the general usage is. What is the word "sometimes" supposed to mean, MarnetteD? There is no way that you can prove how often a word is used, so making the claim that the word is used "sometimes" is original research. Also, a previous revision of the article had used "usually" as the adverb, but that is also original research. Words such as "sometimes" and "usually" cannot stand by themselves without citations of studies on how often the word is used, which is impractical/unable to be determined.

Since this vagueness in wording is the problem, we can avoid the issue of determining how often the word is used by using "also", because it means "in addition to". If we use "also", that means that the word "actor" in addition to "actress" is used as terminology for female actors. So here is my compromise to avoid the issue of gender-neutrality/possible unbalanced point of view from any side: "An actor (or actress, also used to denote females) is a person who..." What do you think about this wording? Also, the "denote" in front of female should be replaced with a better verb along the lines of "describe", "label", "title", or another similar verb. - M0rphzone (talk) 06:31, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

I am not sure when the ref changed over the years. At some point based on the discussion above Old Moonraker had added a ref that backed the use of the wording. Unfortunately he is no longer editing so I can't check his memory. I do know that we have numerous examples such as the names for the Screen Actors Guild Awards [2] Documentaries like The Celluloid Closet and those presented on The Biography Channel and TruTV all use the word actor for both sexes. Even though the Academy Awards retain the use of the gender specific wording for the specific awards the way the label those in the profession has changed as can be seen in the In Memorium segment of February 2012's show [3]
The Merriam-Webster definition here [4] especially its 1st example of usage in a sentence "my sister went to drama school to become an actor". Other dictionaries here [5], here [6] and here [7] all of which use gender neutral definitions. Writing style guides such as this one [8]. I would think that any or more than one of these could be used to replace the reference that is in the article now.
In the DVD commentaries for Mad Men those in front of the camera and behind it refer to both genders as actors. Interview shows like The Graham Norton show do the same. I would think that all of these justify the use of the word "sometimes" since they certainly show that it actress isn't used all of the time. But that is just me.
I know that you have already allowed for some of this in your post and I appreciate your compromise attempt - it reads odd to me (apologies of that causes offense) - what do you think of "(or actress which can be used to denote females)" - "can be" being preferable to "must be" That might be just as clunky so if you have another idea please add it when you have the time. MarnetteD | Talk 17:01, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
TV shows such as Mad Men are notable and significant, but they are just one out of some million different examples that one can bring up where actor and/or actress may be used. There is no way that we can determine the frequency of usage by the millions of English speakers around the world, and we cannot just use our personal opinion to provide support for the frequency or tendency of usage. Again, that is original research, and should be avoided.
How about "(or actress which may be used to denote females)"? There is a difference between "can" and "may", and when we say "can", it implies that the word is able to be used, rather than "expressing a present possibility" of being used. I know this is all semantics, but the wording should reflect a neutral stance and suggest possibility of both or any form of usage, which again, cannot be determined without extensive studies using sources from all samples of English language such as books from the UK, Australia, Canada, or even India - not just the United States; and this example is only for books too. There is an even greater variability of usage online, which cannot be represented by a small sample "study" done by one single newspaper or source. I hope this makes sense. - M0rphzone (talk) 00:19, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Also, the ref should probably be replaced by a dictionary source.
Dictionaries such as Merriam Webster may/might use only the word "actor" in their definitions because the word already encompasses both male and female (or other) genders, so there is no need to use the female-specific "actress" (which in itself may have additional connotations that can be used aside from the simple connotation of an acting person). Even though these dictionaries are one source of notability and standards, they do not represent the frequency of usage by other sources and the rest of the examples. The first sentence in this article defines the definition of an acting person - an actor. However, since the role of an encyclopedia is to document/note significant examples which are also used, we have the responsibility to provide alternate forms of use - next most significant: actress, and less significant: player. And we do not attempt to categorize or comment on them in the article, but rather publish analysis done by other sources in a neutral manner. - M0rphzone (talk) 00:43, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes your new wording looks good. You should do the edit since you came up with it and I will let you pick from the relevant sources and give you any feedback if it looks like it needs enhancement. Cheers. MarnetteD | Talk 04:37, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
I changed the ref to an OED source. - M0rphzone (talk) 09:32, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
I've changed it to "also" because it means the same thing as "which may be" (both imply possibility). - M0rphzone (talk) 02:43, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Looks good thanks for your efforts. MarnetteD | Talk 04:12, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

As opposite sex[edit]

The "As opposite sex" section seems overly long in proportion to the length of the article as a whole. Seems like either the rest of the article needs to built up, or this section needs to be trimmed. Or perhaps it could be developed into a separate article? And does it really belong under "Techniques", anyway? --Alexbook (talk) 20:24, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Adding theatre, film and TV acting sections[edit]

The lede notes that there are theatre, film and TV actors. I made a good faith effort to create sections that explained some of the differences between the different types of acting. Some of the content adds quite useful info , like the section on stage directions for theatre actors and the section on screen tests for Tv actors. This is a C class article, not a FA, so it needs development. When I attempted to improve the article everything I added was reverted and called POV nonsense. I believe reverting is for vandalism. A better response would be to tag these sections and to try to improve them.OnBeyondZebrax (talk) 15:18, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Here is an excerpt from the WP statement on reverting: "Reverting a contribution may be necessary and appropriate. However, reverting good-faith actions of other editors may also be disruptive and can even lead to the reverter being temporarily blocked from editing." OnBeyondZebrax (talk) 15:26, 4 April 2014 (UTC)