by Casting Director, Laurie Records
A multi part series for the not-so-established actor, hoping to improve their career.
Ok, here’s a recap. In December, I explained that you should never go home for the holidays, and forget about sending the mass unsolicited mailings of your photo and resume (See January) to commercial casting directors.
Now, pay close attention to installment number 3 in the series. You may think you have heard this before, but I assure you there are some new juicy tidbits. In fact this is for all actors, no matter how long you have been in the business:
ACTORS SHOULD NEVER LIE- IN, FOR, OR ABOUT ANYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH AN AUDITION.
Obvious? YES. Does it happen? ALL THE TIME.
First the stuff you have probably been scolded about before:
Don’t lie about your special skills. If a casting director needs an actor who can speak fluent Spanish, don’t submit if you have had 1 year in High School. Don’t say you can juggle if you can handle scarves, but not balls. Don’t submit yourself if you don’t have the skill asked for by the casting director. Period. Don’t lie to your agent about your skills, either. You are potentially jeopardizing their hard earned relationship with the casting director when they vouch for you that you have the needed skill… and you really don’t. This drives casting crazy.
Here are a few you might not have considered before:
Don’t lie about any medication or products you have taken…. Or more accurately stated, don’t say that you have taken or used a product when you haven’t. What in the heck am I talking about? Don’t say that you have taken a medication for shingles when you have not. Don’t say that you have taken medication for high blood pressure, or had a certain type of cancer treatment when you have not. Most of you are rolling your eyes wondering who would possibly do this. Actors do. The justification? I am an actor, and I can make someone else’s story my own. That is my job, and what I am paid for and skilled at doing. Therefore, I can develop a story that is either made-up, or use someone’s that I know and make it my own. DON’T DO IT. If a casting director is looking for a person (it would be wonderful if that person happened to be an actor) who has really suffered with an ailment and used a certain medication, don’t lie. Let me assure you, on down the line of the casting process, you will be asked to sign a legal document or prove in some way that your story is true and truly yours. You will be caught and either enrage all parties involved or be sued for a lot of money. I am not kidding.
Don’t lie about your availability. Don’t tell your agent that you are available when you are not. Sometimes actors conveniently forget to tell their agents that they are unavailable because they don’t want to hear their wrath or be given any grief. Suck it up and do it anyway. This is a little inconvenient when a casting director calls you in for a regular session. It is really inconvenient for a callback. Your agent needs to know at the time of the first call that you are available for the callback. It is pretty bad when the director or producer really likes you from the initial call and you can’t show up for the callback. It makes the casting director look bad, which makes your agent look bad, which makes you look bad. Now, it only gets progressively worse when you are not really available for the shoot. If you are opening a play on the day of the shoot, you cannot request to be done by 6:00. Everyone involved wants the shoot to be smooth and short, but no one can guarantee it, and you don’t even want to ask. If you have plane tickets out of town for the day of a shoot that you say you are willing to change, then be willing to change them. Don’t ask your agent to harass the casting office to book you as soon as possible, because it will cost you more to change the ticket, the closer to take off time you are. Nobody cares that you will have to pay $300 more to change your ticket if you find out after 5:00. The casting director will let you know as soon as they can… and you said that you were available. If your travel plans are not flexible, don’t say that they are! Be honest about your availability. It is actually a big deal.
Whew! I have so much to say in so little time! I will continue next month with more things that actors should never lie about. There will be some things you haven’t thought of before.
Laurie Records, Casting Director