That is all an actor is. Just like a man sweeping the streets is someone who sweeps the streets, and just like a Police officer is someone who arrests people and does his best to prevent crime. To put it even more succinctly; an actor is someone who plays a character whilst a camera is rolling. The problem is, some actors are not content with being a character on screen, they also want to be one off of it. They begin to play the role of an actor.
In Hollywood, of course-- actors have privileges. When Tom Hanks or Johnny Depp are on board, their names and their performances guarantee a large chunk of income for the studios, so the actors are treated amazingly. They're driven around, given giant trailers, given anything they want. They want a call girl? They want drugs? They want a monkey that can juggle? You got it. These actors are so important to the productions and to the people financing them, that anything will be done to keep them happy. An extra $5000 for a better hotel room is no problem when the actor is bringing them an extra $50million in box-office revenue.
The problem is that sometimes actors who are starting out are influenced by this, they think that this is how an actor should behave, to expect privilege. I have worked on absolutely zero budget films with first time filmmakers.. and it's 3am, in a freezing cold field. The Director and Producer have not eaten in three days, the camera man's feet are so cold it could well be trench foot, but the actors are wrapped up in warm blankets, drinking hot soup. Meanwhile, little Abdul, the 17 year old runner, hasn't eaten, slept or been allowed a toilet break in four days.
Sometimes, you see it the minute an actor walks on set. They'll turn to the nearest person and say "You think I could get a coffee? Two sugars." And sure enough, they'll get what they want. No-one is quite strong enough to say, "Sure, the kitchen is upstairs."
Don't get me wrong, there is a hierarchy on film sets, and it's there for a reason. When you're in the middle of a scene, it would be inappropriate and time-consuming for an actor to make their own coffee. But when the entire cast and crew are on a break and the actor is standing right next to the coffee they have no right to expect anyone but them to be making the coffee. Someone needs to tell them, "make your own coffee, it doesn't interfere with you saying words in front of a camera one hour from now."
The industry is flooded with young, upcoming actors. If you put an advert out for actors, you are bound to have thousands of messages flooding your inbox. The majority of the time, they all sound the same. It's not their fault, it's just that they're all in the same boat. They're young, talented, eager for roles, and look very attractive. Finding someone who truly loves films and the acting process is tough, they don't always jump off the page. But then, neither do the actors you want to avoid. Sometimes you can see their ego just from their emails, but sometimes, you won't see it until they audition. An actor with a large ego will ask a lot of questions, and some of these questions will be an attempt to catch you out, to make you look like you don't know what you're doing. Ego-driven actors can be very insecure deep underneath everything, and if they make you feel belittled; they feel better about themselves.
I should add the point that we're all insecure. Actors, Directors, Road Sweepers. We all have our issues. The problem is, the ego-driven "I deserve special treatment" actors use their insecurity to make everyone else feel bad.
One of the biggest problems is that a well-trained and clever egotistical actor will be able to hide this trait throughout the audition process. They'll be happy to take the role, even on a zero-budget short where nobody is getting paid. Here, they are able to feel vastly superior to everyone, because they feel like they've done you a favour. This is especially true if back in 1997 they did a Colgate commercial and got $5000 and a big-trailer. You are below me and I am doing you a favor, thinks the actor.
Can someone get me a tea?
I need an hour to make some calls.
I'm coming in late tomorrow.
How about shooting it from another angle?
Back on the set of some obscure film from 1998 they always made sure we had.....
The thing to realize, and I am talking mainly here about the low-budget-we-are-all-in-it-together-arena is; WE ARE ALL IN IT TOGETHER. None of us are getting paid much, none of us are sleeping, none of us want to be carrying equipment through the mud on a rainy night at 4am, but we are doing it, together. As a group. The actor is part of that group.
Even if the actor is Tom Hanks himself. Tom would have known, upon signing up, that this is a film being made for $500. Therefore, Tom isn't going to get his trailer. Tom isn't going to get to go and make calls for three hours as there is such a tight schedule.
The egoic actors are one of the sad parts of the industry. It's not always just actors; you can have any role on a set and you can be angry that you're not getting paid more, bitter that the food isn't as amazing as that big-budget shoot you did last year, disappointed with how your career is turning out. But it gives you no right to think you're better than anyone else on the set.
If you are in a big-budget film, by all means, enjoy your privileges. You'll be surprised to find that many of the actors are very modest and humble about the wonderful things they are given, which is exactly how all actors should be right the way down to a first-time student film. Actors, like everyone else on the set, are normal human beings. The whole team are on set for the same reason, the common goal of making a great film. Remember that's why you're there, and think about you wanted to be treated and treat others.
Acting is not about privilege. It's about doing things in front of a camera. That's all.