by Casting Director, Laurie Records
A multi part series for the not-so-established actor, hoping to improve their career.
I know, I know, at this point and time you have probably lost count of the times you have been told as an actor to not submit yourself to a job where you don’t fit the role or don’t have the skill outlined by the casting director. Since the whole rise of submissions through the internet and LA Casting, casting directors have learned the hard way when asking for actor submissions, they have to ask a few more questions to make sure you are not misrepresenting yourself in anyway.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse. You already know not to submit yourself on a role that you are not appropriate for. But there are a few other things to consider before clicking the submit button…
Commercial actors should never submit themselves/crash an audition that they are not available for, their agent would be opposed to, or they themselves are not willing to do, for any reason.
There are several issues here that need to be addressed. Let’s start with availability! There is a spot on every job posting that calls for a shoot date(s). If it is filled in, read it. Then go to your handy dandy appointment book and see what it is you are doing on those dates. If you are free and clear on the rest of the issues covered in this article, proceed with submitting yourself. If you have plans, but you would truly change them if cast, submit away! If you aren’t sure it would be worth the hassle, don’t do it!! Deciding when it comes down to the wire, and you have the casting director on the phone wanting to book you, is not cool. Make sure you are available on the shoot dates. Double-check again when you receive a callback. It is important.
Not that I ever advocate crashing an audition, but if you do, the same rule applies. Make sure you are available, aren’t holding conflicts, etc. It is your job to find out these things, if you are the crasher.
All of the info should be posted, or you will have to ask. Crashers can be frustrating to a casting director. Imagine the frustration level when their client has their hearts set on you, and you are not available. Uh oh.
Actors should never submit themselves on a job that their agents would not approve of. Some agents have a policy that if actors submit themselves on a commercial job (when the agent represents them
commercially) they will be dropped. Some agents are more open self submitting. That is a conversation you should have with them. And then, respect their wishes, or find a new agent who sees things your way. Agents could be against you doing a job for many reasons.
Usually, it is because it isn’t a good rate for the usage. You may feel like you are willing to work one day for $1000, where the commercial can run on the internet indefinitely with unlimited edits… but your agent may not feel that way. A good agent submits you on jobs that would be good for you at the given point in your career.
You need to buy into where they see you and avoid situations that will conflict with that. If you are submitting yourself or crashing jobs that they feel are beneath you, will take you away from valuable auditioning/shooting time for better paying jobs that are out there, you should reconsider. If your agent gets involved during the booking process, and they don’t like the terms, it becomes a huge headache for everyone involved. Sometimes it ends in the refusal of the booking… and it is all the actor’s fault. Please don’t let that be you.
And finally, don’t submit yourself/crash on jobs that YOU don’t really want to do. If it doesn’t pay enough, don’t submit. If it shoots in nowheresville USA for a week and you don’t want to go, don’t submit.
Don’t submit yourself on a job you don’t really want during your scheduled vacation to Hawaii. You won’t cancel, and you’ll make everyone mad. Don’t submit on a job that you are morally against. If you are a vegetarian, and feel strongly about that, don’t submit for the USA Eats Beef campaign. You will end up turning it down… and we know at this point (if you have been paying attention) how that will go over. Don’t ever submit on a job you aren’t willing to do (for any reason) thinking the casting director or client will like you and keep you in mind for future jobs. Wait and submit on the future job you will take… with no burnt bridges involved.
Laurie Records, Casting Director