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Laurieby Casting Director, Laurie Records

A multi part series for the not-so-established actor, hoping to improve their career.

Commercial actors should never be anything less than gracious when hearing NO.

Hearing the word, NO, in all of its various forms is never fun. It is only harder to accept the more you care about something. I have to assume, the majority of you are quite passionate about pursuing acting. Many of you moved from all over the country, leaving friends and family…and security, to follow your dreams.

In the acting profession, we all know that you will hear NO far more than you hear YES. It is just a fact. You may have 100 auditions and book 1. You may have an amazing average, like 10 to 1… but it is never 100%. You will always hear NO in this profession. And it is tough to hear it so often, when you are living, eating, and breathing, YES.

So, my message to you this month is to be gracious when hearing the NO’s. The granddaddy NO is when you have been put on avail for a job, and don’t get the nod. You typically hear this news from your agent, so it is ok to commiserate together. Your agent is the person you can express frustration to, the one you can whine to, and be sad and disappointed with… not to excess, though. I am sure there are countless agents cussing my name for advocating that. Remember, no one likes an excessive complainer.

Normally, casting talks to you though your agent, but if I have learned one thing, it is that anything can happen when casting a commercial. It is during these times, the times of exceptions that you need to watch how you handle yourself.

Imagine you went to an audition on Friday and there are callbacks over the weekend. You will likely get a call at home from casting. Now, imagine you get an additional call telling your appointment time has changed… or your callback has been totally canceled. This would be a good time to be gracious. What do I have in mind, exactly? How about this:

Casting: Hey, I am calling to let you know that your callback for tomorrow has been canceled. Sorry about that, but have a great Sunday off!

You: Thanks for the heads up, and for calling me in. I will see you next time!

I know, I know… cheesy, but you get the idea. Sometimes it goes more like this:

Casting: Hey, I am calling to let you know that your callback for tomorrow has been canceled. Sorry about that, but have a great Sunday off!

You: Do you know why? Is it just me? What is going on? Did they just go a different way, or was it something I did?

Ok, fair questions, but maybe ponder them yourself, or talk them over with your agent on Monday.

Here is another scenario: You arrive late to an audition and the session has closed. You are only 10 minutes late and traffic was terrible. You ask if the casting is still going on and you are told it is closed for the day. How absolutely frustrating. Especially with LA traffic. Again I encourage you to be gracious. A good response would be to ask if there will be another session tomorrow that you could get in on, or to ask if you could leave your picture and resume and apologize for being late. A bad idea is to throw a fit.

It is the small NO’s that happen between the big NO’s that can be even be harder to handle. They are the ones you aren’t expecting, making it harder to be the perfect actor.

Other small “NO’s” to be gracious about:

No, that dialogue you memorized last night has been changed

No, we would like you to read for a different role

No, but we would like to hire you as an extra with the possibility of an upgrade

No, there were technical difficulties with the camera and we didn’t get you on tape. Can you come back?

You are catching my drift. You are only human and you can’t respond perfectly to every situation every day. But maybe with a little forethought, these unexpected NO’s won’t catch you off guard and you will be the gracious and charming actor that casting will always want to call in again.

Laurie Records, Casting Director