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Feature Article

by: Nightwing

If we conducted a survey of the visitors to www.anthonystarke.com I suspect we would come up with a huge diversity of fans. There is no way of narrowly defining the term "fan". Between the obsessive stalker who can seriously endanger their victim and would cheerfully live beneath their target's floorboards, to the person who is always pleased to see their favourite actor but wouldn't know how to spell their name, there is a wide spectrum of levels of support. And the vast majority of any actor's fans fall somewhere close to the middle.

The contact that you have with others through a Fan Club is also very varied. That applies equally to an off-line one as it does to one that is entirely online like this. For us, it has quickly became obvious that some fans are such devotees that they would watch Anthony Starke read aloud from the phone book if it just meant he was on-screen every night. Others only like him in as a particular character but know anything and everything there is to know about it. Some only like him in specific types of roles - only in comedies or only in dramas. Or don't like him playing certain parts, usually very bad guys. Some feel the need to know everything possible about him, others couldn't care less about knowing the man, they are only interested in the performances he gives. For that group, somehow, knowing anything personal about him detracts from the tv show or movie they are watching.

However, one thing that is abundantly clear is that everyone who describes themselves as an Anthony Starke fan feels supportive to a greater or lesser degree, even though that support manifests itself in so many ways. It's a two way street, of course. Because one reason Anthony has so many loyal fans is because he invests the time and effort required to produce good work. And, while personal satisfaction in a job well done is a great reward, it's not the only one for anyone involved in any sort of creative process.

Some years ago, when our younger son was five years old, we were approached by the BBC who asked if we would give permission for him to play a small role in a film. We agreed and he enjoyed it, remembering fondly both the time he spent working and his paycheque.

But if I had harboured any small thoughts of being Mum to the next Shirley Temple or Jodie Foster or Macaulay Culkin they would have been dispelled by that experience. Perhaps if he had filmed his scenes in a nice warm, cosy studio things would have been different. But he didn't. We were out on location and spent most of the time in a windswept, cliff-top graveyard beset by mud underfoot and driving rain. I had to be up by 3.30am to be sure we were in time for our pick up at 4 o'clock. Not only did our movie star have to be ready but so did his big brother, who was his never-needed understudy. We had a long drive to the set, but at least breakfast was waiting when we arrived, served by permanently cheerful caterers who were constantly amazed by the quantity of food this little guy consumed over the course of the day.

By the end of the week, we had all had a wonderful, exhausting time with the people we had met and worked with and learned an awful lot about how much time is spent sitting around on a film set. Especially with two small children whose working hours are restricted by regulations.

The day he put his last scene "in the can", the director came to speak to him before we left. Did he think he would like to be an actor when he grew up? Without a second's hesitation, our son said no. But he'd like to be a stuntman as the work was more regular. It brought howls of laughter from the crew, a wry comment from one of the cast about how many actors we must know and a hug from the stuntman. Asked what he liked best about his time on the movie, our son thought for a moment and then picked out two things. One was the catering truck and crew. The other was the lovely woman from wardrobe whose job it was to rush over as soon as "cut" was called and wrap him in an adult sized thick coat, hugging him close to warm him up until they were ready to roll again. Then she would unwrap him, comb his hair and retreat fast.

I recently read a quote from Sarah Jessica Parker about the collapse of the Sex and the City movie plans. She said "I'm sad 383 people who were looking at between six to 18 months of employment do not have it". Ask someone to think about who they associate with Sex and the City and I bet most would come up with the four lead actresses and maybe not even all their names. But those other 380 or so wouldn't spring to mind. Why should they? They may be responsible for what we see, but we don't see them.

For years the British tv series The Professionals was not released on video because, allegedly, one of the main stars blocked it repeatedly. He felt it did not enhance his current image as a more serious actor, despite the fact the show had a large following. The rest of the cast were apparently annoyed and commented often on the fact that he could afford to live without the fees he would receive but the minor players in the cast and the crew could not.

Actors who work on tv and in the movies get paid for their performances. At least, they hope they do! And they also pick up repeat fees and payments for video and DVD releases. It keeps their income trickling in, sometimes through lean times if work is slow. I can personally relate to their situation. As a writer I love it when I get paid - for novels, usually a lump sum on acceptance of a manuscript with royalties at a certain percentage of the cover price. Occasionally, I pick up fees for new editions of books. I also benefit from a thing called Public Lending Right, which pays a small fee for every time one of my books is borrowed from a library in the UK and some other countries in Europe. It can take years - unpaid - from writing the first sentence to publication, so my PLR is always welcome when it magically appears in my bank account each spring. Sometimes it's more than I expect, sometimes less, but always great no matter how small the amount. And, I admit, it's a nice boost to my ego when my borrowing statement arrives and I see how often my work is taken out - and, hopefully - read and enjoyed. For an actor the situation is similar. A good audience for a repeat airing or good sales for a video or DVD give that same boost and reflect the reaction of the audience.

Of course, for a tv show or movie it's not just the actors you see on screen who benefit whenever you buy something on sell-thru. Everyone involved gets their own little cut and I bet every one of them is as grateful as I am for my PLR and as appreciative of the people who have contributed. There are other reasons for buying - if you're buying something because your favourite actor is in it, then it shows support. It offers encouragement to the actor and, as important if not more, indicates interest in him that may have some influence when other roles are being cast.

For Anthony Starke fans, there's plenty of opportunity to buy his work on video or DVD (or both!). While some of it isn't available, a lot is and one way to help ensure that more is released is to take advantage of the opportunities already there. We're often asked if we know when The Magnificent Seven will be released as only the pilot is currently available. The answer is that we don't know, but we hope it will be eventually. As I write, the chances of a DVD release in the foreseeable future are better than they have ever been but no production company can afford to invest money in a release that might not do well.

So, please, if you're after something Tony's been in and it's available on sell-thru, buy it. You may feel that the payment he will receive is insignificant but I suspect the show of support would mean more to him personally and the payments to everyone else involved might make a difference to them. The sales figures also get a boost - we need to make casting directors think twice before going for an alternative choice for a part. And for those things not already on video or DVD, it will improve the chances of an early release.

It would be ludicrous for me to say that I have nothing that has been taped for me from tv. Of course I have! You think that when I get word that Tony's going to be appear in something in the States I sit here quietly waiting for it to cross the pond and air in the UK or be released on video or DVD? Nope. I'm there, sorting out someone to tape and express mail it for me so that I usually see things within a few days of them airing. But once something is available on sell-thru I buy it too. It's not all altruistic either - the quality . . . the extras . . . there are lots of reasons. And it's not as if sell-thru is horrendously expensive. When I contacted the BBC to see if they were planning to release our son's film on DVD, my primary purpose was to get a better copy than our rather well-worn videotape. But I am always aware that the director, the stunt man and perhaps even the catering crew and the lovely lady from wardrobe will get a small slice of the pie too. They certainly deserve to.

I was recently discussing the impact of sell-thru purchases with Tony's agents and how it works in his favour was their most important point. Closely followed by the benefits to the rest of the cast and crew involved in each production. Buying, I was told - even if it's to replace privately made videotapes or DVDs - is quite simply "best for everyone involved". So why not glance along your shelves and see how much you're prepared to invest in supporting Anthony Starke. As much as you have done? More? If you find yourself wondering how long you have to wait for a particular favourite to be released on video or DVD are you sure you've done the best you can to help to ensure that it happens?

From time to time I have the opportunity to pass along comments received about Anthony's roles and I can assure everyone that he appreciates the "continued interest and encouragement". And that applies no matter where you stand on the to buy or not to buy issue, I'm sure. But please remember that it is a two-way street.


NB - not everything is available in every format or DVD region - please check your local suppliers (although I have listed format/region where I know it - if anyone has any more information we'd be delighted to include it so please let us know)

With the exception of INFERNO and the episodes of CSI and ANGEL which are both included in boxed sets, prices are low for all these items. You can probably get everything else together for under $100 or under £100, even buying brand new as most are around the $9.99 or £9.99 mark.

On videotape:

THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY JNR (1 of 2 episodes on the tape)(NTSC VHS)
DE KERSENPLUK (with English subtitles) (PAL VHS)


18 AGAIN (Region 1)
NOTHING IN COMMON (Regions 1 & 2)
LICENCE TO KILL (Regions 1 & 2)
REPOSSESSED (Regions 1 & 2)
NOWHERE TO RUN (Regions 1 & 2)
ANGEL (boxed set)(Region 2)

In the pipeline:

SEINFELD (DVD)(Regions 1 & 2) - first three seasons released 10/04. Tony's episode will be released in March 2005
CHARMED (DVD) (Regions 1 & 2) - first season released 2/05. More seasons to follow.

Expected in the future:

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (DVD)(Region 1 - possibly 2006/7, Region 2, possibly sooner)

For links to purchase these movies, please visit The Projects! here at this site. There are likly a few which are available which are not listed at Amazon, but this is a start!

Fan Club Update

No news, unfortunately. Anthony has left Don Buchwold & Associates. We are diligently trying to locate his new agent, and as soon as we have that information, it will be passed on.

Other News

Direct word from MGM. Although The Magnificent Seven is not slated to be released on DVD in 2005, it is being considered for release in 2006 or 2007, and may be released even sooner internationally.

Contact the webmistress at webcat @ anthonystarke.com