Devanshu Narang for ACTRA Council 2019:
September 25th 2019-
“Background performer- Huh!.”
After filing to stand for the ACTRA council, in the last few days I have heard a lot of negative comments about my decision from various actor colleagues like-
“1. There is lot of politics and BG is least respected there, actually unwanted.
2. As a BG performer you cannot make the council unless you abide by the powerful leaders.
3. People vote for celebrities or established leaders or people who align with them and not for unknown BGs or bit actors.
4. You are wasting your time. You will not get elected and if you do, the system will drag you down.”
There are hundred reasons not to stand and while they may seem real or are totally false, that does NOT stop me from forgetting the MAIN reason that I decided to volunteer-
To seek change one needs to act and be a catalyst oneself.
First I refuse to be characterized in any performance category as I am an actor and an artist who does Background work with as much passion and pride as I do the lead or principal or actors roles as and when I get them.
Secondly we the average, unknown actors need VOICE at the council which speaks for us, LIVES our daily struggles for respect and survival and can bring FRESH IDEAS to the council than stick to 20th century systems in a digital world.
Thirdly this campaign is not just about winning. It is about creating an awareness for the issues in hand which directly affect our livelihood. It is about standing up. In dissent where needed. In support of the average performer at all times.
It is time for us to R I S E- Respect. Innovate. Speak. Engage.
It is time for us to put our fears and skepticism aside and vote for one among us.
Please think and if you feel powerful enough, please LIKE this campaign page (and invite fellow performers to LIKE) and hopefully decide to use your vote effectively to support a fellow commoner in the upcoming ACTRA election starting 25th October.
Let’s R I S E and together WIN this one!
Devanshu Narang for ACTRA council 2019
September 20th 2019-
R I S E
That is what my campaign to become a member of ACTRA Council is about.
Yes it is difficult, almost unimaginable for an actor who is marked as just another commoner because he did not get that breakout role, to dream of standing among the industry leaders and celebrities.
Yes it is difficult to comprehend that even actors who work in shadows as bit performers (whenever they are lucky to get principal roles) or as extras may be Union members at par with the Gods of the industry and may have a voice which wants to break out and say- WE EXIST and are an integral part of the Canadian acting fraternity.
Yes it is difficult but not impossible especially because the council is supposed to work for the very actors for whom barriers exist to reach there. That is why we need to R I S E .
This is Devanshu Narang and I am a performer, writer, author, film maker, truth-activist who has a demonstrated voice loud enough to rise above the din and speak clearly for the commoners in all walks of life. Since my passion is acting and I love to be on sets as many times as I can, I refuse to be labelled by any performance category and regularly do whatever roles available, Foreground, Background or whatever comes in between. I have graduated from being a Non-Union performer in Toronto to a full member of Union in a short span and am knowledgeable of the daily struggles of an average actor.
I am ready to R I S E.
R I S E starts with R- RESPECT for Artist which needs to exist both internally and externally. We cannot ask people outside the industry to respect us when we create an internal class structure. Every artist needs to be respected irrespective of their category- Lead, principal, actor, stunt, background. Or from whatever class structure they come – Full, Apprentice, AABP even Non-Union. Or whatever color, religion or sexual identities that define them. We all share the same passion and while our opportunities, luck, looks and talent may place us at different slots, yet we all are ONE- Passionate performers who are here despite various hardships for the love of the work that we do.
R I S E builds on I- INNOVATION and new ideas which are required to change our industry and our union. The world has changed and ACTRA seems to be lagging behind. We need to explore new ways to go digital and help the actors in looking and submitting for more opportunities globally. We need to ensure that we find new ways to get more Union work in Ontario than build barricades high enough for a large part of work to stay non-union or out of province. The industry is fastest to accept innovation and new tech and yet ACTRA seems to enjoy the status quo. The time to innovate is here. Now.
R I S E signifies S- SPEECH which is free and devoid of any inhibitions and a voice which is ready to rise above the din and speak out for us. As someone who attended ACTRA council in the past as the Chair of AABP Caucus, I did raise my voice and also saw how important it is to have an independent view and not just say Aye. I belong to no groups, nor live in any privileged industry glass house and know fully well what happens to actors on sets. Or how we are treated by the industry at times,especially when we are on sets as background or bit performers. I will speak out come what may and not rest till the problems faced by the actors are heard and a solution sought for.
R I S E enables E- ENGAGEMENT. For far too long we have allowed actors to earn LESS than HALF of MINIMUM WAGE as per ACTRA’s own survey and watched from the sidelines. An artist wants to work as an actor and not be a part of the gig economy working as a delivery boy, a driver, a waiter just to bring bread on the table for oneself or one’s family. We want paint on our faces than painting with our hands on some obscure walls. We see non-union work thriving and ACTRA continuing to have high barricades for that to become Union or for actors to cross over and work and we remain silent. Not anymore. We Union members are dedicated professionals and we need to be able to at least earn a living wage out of our profession. The council needs to work on this on top priority and that is going to be my biggest passion.
R I S E my friends is about all of us. You and I. Us.
My life is an open slate and a brief detail of my acting career is below. You can check on my writings and my entire life’s journey on my website www.devanshunarang.com.
My name is Devanshu Narang and I am a performer, film maker, writer, author, gypsy, truth-activist and above all I am a voice which rises over the din to speak out for the commoners in every walk of life.
From playing the “Chocolate cream soldier” in Shaw’s “Arms and the Man” in Grade 8 in a small Indian town, the passion for acting has taken me through numerous performances in theater in my youth followed by a lull when I had to let go on my passion to provide for my family. It rekindled again in mid-life when I got to do a course in film making at NYFA, New York and got to act in short films, commercial and also in an acclaimed short film that I also directed.
After moving to Canada in 2009 and settling down in Guelph/Niagara Falls, I did a few gigs that I could find in commercials and short films. Later I focused actively on my acting career after moving to Toronto in mid 2017 and starting off as Non-Union performer for both principal and BG.
Within three months after completing my 15 BG gigs, I joined the Union and became AABP in ACTRA. In February 2018 I was elected as the Chair of AABP caucus, a position I held till May 2018 and one from which I voluntarily resigned on moral/ethical grounds after graduating to an Apprentice member on doing my first Union principal acting gig in Private Eyes.Thereafter in the past one year, I have completed my credits required to become a full member.
As AABP Caucus Chair I got the opportunity to attend Council meetings and see its working closely besides speaking forcefully for the cause of AABP members in them.
I have also pursued my activism rigorously in various walks of life. I was the President of Niagara Innkeepers Association for two years and actively worked for the welfare of members and fought for them at various forums. Link below-
I am a columnist and a freelance contributor since 2012 for various media outlets in Canada and India including New Canadian Media , Times of India and earlier for Guelph Mercury. A compilation of my articles can be found on my website
Last year when Doug Ford’s campaign officials hired actors to act as supporters, not only did I decline the gig but also spoke out against the same and raised the issue in media. The story became huge and hopefully would ensure that no political party would try such practices again in Canada after the backlash received. Link here- https://devanshunarang.com/2019/09/18/standing-up/
I am a truth-activist and remain committed to the cause for lifetime.