by Casting Director, Laurie Records
The commercial casting world is a whirlwind. Sometimes the turnaround between booking and shooting a commercial is a few days and other times just hours. I am sure you have been given same day calls for commercial auditions to which you are expected to arrive within hours. It seems the more important a job is, the less time you are given.
The same principle exists when you have been given the job. You may be given next to NO notice to arrive on set…and it is imperative that you have all your ducks in a row, so that you don’t waste anyone’s precious time. Time equals a lot of money when shooting a commercial.
Commercial actors should never be unprepared to arrive on set, especially on short notice. Here are some tips to get you ready for that call.
Keep your sizes updated on LA Casting. When there are days between being booked and your shoot date, there is plenty of time for a wardrobe fitting…and for the stylist to ask for your current sizes over the phone. When it is a last minute booking (or a last minute wardrobe fitting, for that matter) and you are flying to get to the set, that phone call might not happen. Sizes are an easy thing to let fall through the cracks. You can bet someone has pulled your sizes from a digital size card and assumes that the information you have filled out on your profile is accurate. The goal should be to never waste anyone’s time…and you are wasting their time if they have inaccurate sizes for you. Make a habit of updating your sizes every month. This is a small but important detail.
Parents, make sure that your child has a current work permit. Do not rest on the assumption that you will have time to renew their permit after the booking and before the shoot. You don’t always have that luxury. If you are told to drop everything and get your child to set, handing over an expired work permit when you get there will screw things up on a very serious level. Don’t ever lie about the status of a work permit, either. From a casting director’s standpoint, your child shouldn’t even attend an audition without a valid work permit. No matter how devoted and willing you are as a parent to run around taking care of this at the last minute, time may not allow you to get it done. Cover your bases and make sure the permit is valid…ALWAYS.
When there is a last-minute booking and you are rushing to set, give the most accurate estimated time of arrival you can. You don’t want to underplay how long it will take to get there. Production is probably scrambling to rearrange their shoot day, and being honest about when you will be there will only be helpful. Don’t tell them what you think they want to hear…they are likely having a rough day to begin with. You don’t want to make it any more difficult by being later than you predicted. Time is money…big money on set.
And last but not least, I might as well throw having a valid passport onto the checklist for the prepared and book-able actor. True, if the job requires a passport, you won’t be rushing to set at a moment’s notice, but you may be rushing to the airport. Don’t let your passport expire thinking you can do a last minute renewal if necessary. I keep repeating myself, but you will not always have time to get the things you need. Renew your passport before it ever expires. It will keep you out of trouble and prepared to be booked on short notice.
Booking a commercial is a difficult thing and very exciting when it happens. Make sure you are prepared to arrive on set…especially on short notice.
Laurie Records, Casting Director