Actor moans to The Horrid as they ramp up another Simon Collins anti-government campaign

Shakespeare got it wrong. Instead of killing lawyers maybe it ought to be have been actors or is the Herald trying to become a print version of Campbell Live?

Perhaps proving actors are vainglorious, myopic and frankly thick, actor Grae Burton, the classic “Kiwi bloke” in Tui beer commercials has effectively said “avoid my moaning union ass” by backing unions who want to kill the legislation that made The Hobbit’s filming possible. He moans in The Horrid:

“Burton, 35, is one of a growing number of New Zealanders who are no longer paid hourly wages but have to charge for their services as “independent contractors”.

Somehow we are meant to feel sorry for a jobbing actor who should get the message that if you cannot land a regular part on Shortland Street or Nothing Trivial or LOTR or The Hobbit etc, then you are probably a bit shit. 

More so as his Tui ad claim to fame is a non-speaking part I recall, which means, his total income  from all work last year was $40k:

“Like most actors, I work several other jobs around trying to be available for screen and acting work.”

In other words I don’t want a real job because I am special. I am an artiste don’t you know.

Helpfully, The Horrid gets out its violin for Burton parroting the Union Line. They seem to forget that working people buy The Horrid and talentless actors read it for free in which ever cafe they clearing dishes in:

“Assuming, unrealistically, an average 40-hour week, that would be $19.23 an hour – approximately what the union movement estimates to be the cost of a decent living in New Zealand.”

Poor Burton is all pissy that after playing bit parts when he was 23, he has not broken it big like Green Taliban actress Lucy ‘get your tits out’ Lawless.  We can be so lucky not to have a rich guilt laden hypocrite flying back from La-La land to lecture us on the evils of climate change before jetting off to Cannes. Instead we have a poor and envious one:

“When I was first in Hercules and Young Hercules back in 1998, my daily rate was 50 per cent better than what I’m currently seeing,” he says.

So he would be happy pulling $60k for doing sweet FA but for a jobbing actor he doesn’t seem very current or given the massive cast used, wanted. I wonder why:

“He says actors on a comparable show now being filmed in Auckland,Spartacus, are being asked to do much more for less.

Now being filmed?  According to Google it was filming last June and started airing in the USA last month. Obviously our talented actor missed out on Spartacus too and that is truly impressive given three series and a prequel:

“Actors on any given show day are being asked to do full-frontal nudity, simulated sex and graphically violent, hugely physical roles, and are being paid a comparably lower daily rate.”

Diddums. Grae Burton I warm to you like a mug of cold sick.

Whale Oil’s free advice is to grow up, get a haircut and real job because mate, by being a union poster boy for killing the film and TV industry here, your acting careerometer has hit close to zero.

As for the vile hate filled and corrupt unions, I have your number.


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  • Pete

    When one does something others are happy to do for nothing, one is unlikely to receive a regular paypacket containing good money. Acting isn’t a career, unless one wins the Hollywood equivalent of lotto. It’s a hobby.

  • blokeintakapuna

    Nice shootin’ Mr. WO! Give that man a Tui’s!

    Union fed sob stories to the MSM only get traction because of the vacuum left by National and their silence on the PR front… Giving the unions plenty of media oxygen to plant their populist rhetoric… Without rebuttal except here and sometimes on NBR.

    Failing “c” grade actors would be far better to pour their energies into productive training/employment so they won’t need to worry about working numerous, menial jobs, then they can save the pantomime stuff for when they can afford to spend hours acting the goat on some 2bit D grade production that very few attend anyway. Pay your own way for your own lifestyle choices is my hidden message.

  • Ronnie Chow

    Welcome to the real world , Burton . Suck it up and move on .
    Saving money by contracting is catching on , with Pak’n’Save the latest with it’s 40 odd truck drivers .
    This minimum wage Hui at the moment proposes $19 an hour minimum wage . These people are living in la-la-land . NZ will become a nation of contractors .

  • Phar Lap

    Wonder why he is not on the RED/”green party” list.Every other has been or never was cocksucker is on it.That pack of economy destroyers are the perfect foil for such a world owes me a living dumbo Diddums Burton, a pest by any other name.

  • In Vino Veritas

    You’ve hit the nail on the head Whale. This chap is not as good as he thinks he is, else he’d be getting jobs and be paid way more. Just coming off the street for a bit part from time to time doesn’t constitute acting anyway. Its a hobby.

  • nudgy

    He should get a job at the PSA the average salary there is about $94K

  • DangerousE

    I read this yesterday, first thing popped into my mind was ‘Team America’ what we need is an actor! Is this the unions new way of inflitrating society?

  • peterwn

    Herald seems full of sob stories from all directions backing the unions’ ‘decent living wage’ campaign.

    • TeacherUnionsRscum

      Want to earn a decent living? upskill

  • Dan

    Lighten up, we can’t all sit back and rort our income insurance :)

  • parorchestia

    Great post Whale. Spot on.

  • BJ

    Classic post Cam – top form, seriously. I chuckled all the way through

    Two points for the ‘actor’ to note:
    It has been widely publicized that a degree/career in the ‘arts’ is no guarantee of making a good living.
    Any production company that may ever choose to employ him relies on the next contract too. If Grae had household maintenance that needed doing from time to time would he be employing a handyman full time? No – the handyman needs to go find other work just like others that are motivated by desiring a better standard of living.

  • BJ

    I wonder if the ‘down arrow’ punter wants to make a comment

    • CJA

      Might be Mr Burton himself trying to believe his own hype.

  • CJA

    Hmmm let me see, generally choices made in your life lead to consequences. Let me give you an example. I’m an accountant. I chose to be an accountant because I was half decent at it at school, was interested in helping businesses with financial and tax decision making and it is a good profession to be in meaning stability in the future when I had a house, a wife and kids. I would be one of the first to admit that at times my job is not incredibly exciting but that was part of the decision I made for myself. Everybody moans about their job in some way shape or another. Grae Burton made a decision for himself leading to consequences. Cup of concrete mate is all I can say.

    • CJA

      Lol two down arrows. Feel like the Count on Sesame Street hahahaha……

  • David

    Acting is a profession like any other. An actor is self-employed and if he or she is good enough they will be successful. Grae (strange name) Burton cannot act therefore he is unsuccessful. If you don’t like the working conditions of your job Mr Burton get another job and stop whingeing.

    • BJ

      Grae short for Graeme but he’s likely to find his full name a hindrance to getting acting work because unfortunately he shares the same name with the infamous Graeme Burton – the double murder

  • DangerousE

    I thought Robyn malcom was going to give all the actors who didnt work on the Hobbit a starring role in her new show?