by Casting Director, Laurie Records
There is a trend happening in commercial casting that isn’t a good one. I feel fairly secure in calling it a trend (and not just an issue with my own company) because I’ve seen multiple posts on social media over the last several months and hear other casting directors lamenting. What is this terrible trend? Actors confirming their audition appointment and then canceling the day of, hour of, or simply not showing up. I’m guessing there are two reactions happening as you read this… one being disbelief that an actor would waste an opportunity by not attending an audition, and the other a rolling of the eyes wondering what’s the big deal. Don’t worry. I’m here to help explain.
Commercial actors should never confirm then cancel an audition.
Let’s reiterate some basic information. The really simplified description of a casting director’s daily job is to have a full day’s worth of talent on tape to send to the client for consideration. When an actor confirms and audition and cancels at the last minute or doesn’t show up, they are putting a major kink in the most basic expectation for the casting director. As budgets shrink, there are fewer casting days (sometimes only one!) leaving little to no way to correct the “I didn’t see enough talent for this role” problem. The consequences for the casting director? An upset client/director, being labeled inadequate/reputation damaged, and possibly to likely not being hired again. Simply put, serious consequences. Can you imagine the panic caused by more than a few late cancels/no shows?
So what’s the solution? Honesty. Be honest with yourself (and your agent) as well as the casting office. There are many reasons an actor might confirm they will be at an audition and then cancel/no show last minute. Some reasons are honorable or understandable: getting stuck at another audition/callback far beyond what would be expected, a family emergency, last minute booking, etc. There are other reasons that aren’t nearly as cool: knowing you can’t make it but don’t want your agent to get upset when you cancel, you “just aren’t into it”, didn’t book out, etc. And there are plenty of reasons that fall into the grey area of good/bad reasons. The truth is… your reason for a late cancel or no show doesn’t really matter. The legit reasons are used so incredibly often at some point casting directors stop believing them anyway. When you receive an audition notice the day/night before, or even the day of, be honest. Don’t confirm with the hope that you can work out all of your conflicts… when you are pretty sure you can’t. If you have three auditions all across town and need to be at your day job by 2:00, you probably won’t make it to the fourth. Cancel. When you aren’t interested in the job, cancel. Swap your good intentions (and ditch your bad habits entirely!) for a strong dose of honesty. Be realistic when you confirm, or cancel your audition.
I can hear the cries from the conscientious already, especially because I admitted the reason for your non-appearance doesn’t really matter. There absolutely ARE legitimate unforeseen situations/emergencies that come up, causing you to last minute cancel or no show for an audition. This is a situation where the irresponsible amongst you are ruining it for everyone. If there is a collective resolution made to cancel when you know you can’t attend an audition, the troublesome trend ceases to exist.
Let’s make a pact. Even when you really, really want to attend an audition, but know it’s unlikely you will FOR ANY REASON, just cancel. And cancel quickly. The casting director can replace and all is right in the commercial casting world. Or at least, the casting director can turn their attention to the other four fires that have just popped up… and that’s just life in commercial casting that we know and love.
Laurie Records, Casting Director