A multi part series for the not-so-established actor, or in this case, all actors hoping to improve their career.
ACTORS SHOULD NEVER LIE – IN, FOR, OR ABOUT ANYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH AN AUDITION.
Last month I rubbed a few actors the wrong way in my approach to talking about actors who are tempted to lie in an audition. I don’t mean to be harsh, and certainly don’t mean to say all actors do. The goal is merely to bring up a few issues and the WHY behind the request that actors not be misleading (kinder, gentler…) in, for, or about anything having to do with an audition. Launch all of those white lies you wish in life, but let me illuminate what happens when it is in the casting realm.
Last month covered:
- Special skills
- Products you have taken/used
- Your availability
Check it out if you missed it (and all the controversy!)
Now, some additional things to consider being truthful about: (kindler, gentler…)
Don’t lie about your representation. Are you an actor with 8 agents, some of which don’t know about each other? This could come back to haunt you. I understand the concept of the more agents you have pitching and submitting you, the better your chances of getting an audition or job. But, imagine if you were booked for a job with one of your commercial agents, and on then booked another with secret commercial agent #2 with conflicting dates. Nice problem to have, huh? You win either way, right? Well, imagine the secret commercial agent #2 who accepted booking number 2, and then comes to realize you are unavailable for job 2 because you already have job 1 with agent 1. (Whew! This is confusing!) The secret agent has to call the casting director after learning that they were not the one and only commercial agent, and cancel the booking. The casting director then goes to the production company and tells them that they cannot have the actor that the ad agency and the big client in the sky have just taken days to approve, and they need to go back to the drawing board. Wow. A lot of important people are really upset with you, the actor for being deceitful, when all you wanted to do is increase your chances to act. Perhaps you haven’t thought of this before. Casting Directors and Producers have long memories when they have been burned. Think of the big picture. Producers often request actors and hire them time and time again. Casting Directors have the power to bring you in, or not, for over a hundred commercials a year. Don’t burn a bridge. You can have multiple agents, as long as they are for different areas: commercial, theatrical, print, hosting, etc. Don’t lie to your agent, telling them that they are your one and only commercial agent, when they are not.
Don’t lie about your conflicts. When you have been in a McDonalds commercial, you can’t be in another fast food commercial for a certain period of time. That is a conflict. Your agent helps keep track of your conflicts and how long you are holding them for, if you are an actor who is so fortunate to have too many to remember. But, Agents are human, and fallible. Sometimes they make mistakes, forget to check with a different department… any number of things could potentially fall through the cracks. If you are sent on an audition that you have a sneaking suspicion you may still be holding a conflict for, bring it up to your agent. Don’t be tempted to keep it under your hat, because no one will ever know. When you book that job and show up on the set, and someone recognizes you as having done a commercial that conflicts with the one being shot, you and your agent are in BIG trouble. BIG. Far fetched? Even I think it seems like it. But it happens. Your agent should keep track of this for you, but they have a lot of actors to keep track of, and the chances are you know when you are holding a conflict, or may be holding a conflict. Ask to be sure. If you don’t get away with it, the consequences could be devastating.
Don’t lie about your passport or other important documents. This is easy. Make sure your important documents are valid and not expired. Don’t lie and say that you have a passport when you don’t, thinking that you can get one rushed to you. Just get one. NOW. If it has expired, go renew it. There is no reason to lie about this. Go check and make sure it is valid right now. If you don’t have a passport, get one. You will miss out on opportunities, or stress everyone involved if you have to get one in 48 hours. Don’t lie and say that you are legal to work in the US if you are not. Don’t lie and say that your child has a valid work permit when they do not. Am I getting too harsh? Kinder, gentler… please go check all of your documents before you go on your next audition.
Don’t lie about your age (under certain circumstances). This especially applies to children, when you turn 18, and 25. It can apply to everyone. There are all sorts of laws for kids, so parents, please don’t put the age you think the casting director needs on your child’s size card instead of their real age. I can’t begin to list the laws involved, but the truth will come out in the end and people will be inconvenienced if you have been deceitful. It is important to be honest about being 18 and over for the same reasons. You need to be a legal 25 to do alcohol commercials, and cigarette ads have laws too. The casting director knows this and will specifically ask for what they need to follow the law. It is up to you to be honest about it. There are commercials that specifically want actors who are a certain age, because they want to display it as part of the commercial, or for any number of reasons. When the Casting Director specifies that an actor must really be X years old, make sure you are. Otherwise you can be whatever age you want to be at any given time.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more on what actors should never do, or maybe the flip side of the coin… what they should always do! You will have to wait and see.