Please know that when I am pointing my finger at you, the commercial actor, there are a whole heck of a lot of fingers pointing at me, the producer, the director, the agent … and I would think this applies to everyone in the industry. But I write for actors. So, actors, listen up.
It seems there are several camps of actors in the “to thank or not thank” realm but I can easily simplify that to just two. There are the actors that believe that showing up to the audition, the callback, the wardrobe, and the shoot (when you’ve booked the job) is thanks enough. They are the actors that feel like they performed a needed service, provided it well, and find no reason to offer thanks. In fact some would probably like a thank you from the industry professionals to whom they provided their services. I’ve been in the room while the sometimes touchy topic is discussed. I get it. There’s a logical argument to defend the choice of not giving a thank you on the actor’s part. Plenty of logic sprinkled with ego, perhaps. It’s not my way, nor what I would recommend, but I don’t think the choice damages the actor’s career by any means. If you are a no-thank kind of actor, I respect your decision … for what that’s worth, which is basically nothing. But good for you. I hope that is working well for you.
Then there are the actors who take delight in the giving of the thank you. There’s one that was the subject of an email I recently received that happens to be the inspiration for this column. The email was from the producer on a recent job. He wanted to give me a post-shoot “update.” From the get-go he gushed about the actor being incredible to work with. Everyone on set including the client loved her. He added that she brought treats to set each morning for the cast/crew and sent a thank you cake after the job was done. He said that her agent was easy to work with and that the production was smooth. He then proceeded to thank ME for the job I did. So maybe I should have disclosed earlier that casting directors rarely hear anything after a shoot unless something has gone wrong. We definitely don’t hear a lot of positive feedback, except maybe during the callback on the next job. Then we may hear that the previous job went well, out of sheer convenience. I’ve been trained to think that no news is good news after a shoot is done. But in this case obviously the producer was impressed by the talent and kindness of this actor, enough to take the time to turn around and thank me. Now that’s pretty cool. A little pay it forward situation. I should include that I received an email from the actor shortly thereafter inquiring about a good time to come by and say thanks. I turned around and let her know that I had received amazing feedback about her and thanked her. An absolute deluge of THANK YOUs, I’d say. How lovely is that?
If you are a conscious “no thank-er,” do you still think you’re making the right choice? There was a whole lot of happiness that went around for not a big bunch of effort.
Some actors send a thank you note for an audition or for a callback. Some send a thank you for an avail or a booking. Some send small presents. Some hand written notes. Others, an email. And many, many, and plenty do nothing. All the better for your active thank-ers out there.
Do what makes you feel good. Do what is good for your business. Do it because you ARE thankful, not because you’re advised to be. Do it to be remembered fondly, as (hopefully) you have a fond memory of the shoot, or at the very least for the fond memory of your paycheck. Relatively speaking, for so little effort, it seems like a good idea, yes? I’m inspired to not only thank more, but to go an extra mile with my thank you’s. I hope you are too. Let’s all make this industry of ours a little nicer place to be. A thank you can do that.