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Terry Berlandby Casting Director, Terry Berland

The booking Process. Things you don’t have control of.

It is very important for you to know where to put your efforts to get the results you want.  I am constantly driving home the point that you, the actor, have control of one thing—and that is your acting. Let’s start with the premise that you leave the callback knowing you gave a good audition.  Now comes the start the process you have no control of.

While you wait to see if you are booked or released from your avail, here’s what’s happening on our end of the booking process. The following happens very fast.  It starts the night you leave the audition and is complete by the next morning.

The talent leaves the callback where they have auditioned for the first layer of the creative team consisting of the Director, Producer, Writer, and Art Director.  This team makes their choices and immediately sends them to the other layers of agency people who consist of Creative Supervisor, Creative Director, and Account Executive.  By the next morning, they all come to a final conclusion as to who to present to “the client” for their first choice, and usually, two backups.

The next step is the creative team presents (sells) the talent to the client, confident the talent is available to them. The presentation of the talent is part of a pre-production meeting that usually takes place a day or two after the callbacks.  This is a formal meeting that involves all aspects of the production, including talent selection.  This meeting can have as many as twenty people in attendance.  When the talent is presented to fulfill the vision of the character that appeared in the concept of the storyboards, the creative team waits in anticipation for the client to agree with their choices.  If they do not agree, one of the back-ups is presented, and so on.  It is the hope that the client will agree with the creative team’s first recommendation.  That being said, it is not unusual, and it does not throw the creative team, if the client goes with one of the backups.  The two backup choices are well thought out in case this scenario occurs.

Casting knows the day and time the pre-production meeting is taking place, and waits in anticipation for the call for talent bookings.  (On rare occasions a problematic situation occurs where the client does not agree with any of the choices.  The entire callback casting session has to be combed through again to find the right person.  Hopefully, talent are still on avail so whoever they choose is available for the shoot.  The problems become complex if the talent is not available.)

The next step is the client signs off on talent selection and the producer calls casting to place the bookings.  The call to us starts out like this,  “good news, we have our cast.”  The producer then proceeds to give me the names of the talent. We then in turn get in touch with the agents to book the talent and release the others who are not booked.  Everything goes smoothly because talent and agents pay close attention to talent available, anticipating a booking.

There is then a wardrobe call involved, of which date you know ahead of time from the callback and avail information given out.  The wardrobe is usually a day or two before the booking date.

Sometimes even at the time of the booking there are still variable dates to be nailed down.  My next article will deal with variables, why they occur, and finally, what is expected of the talent at the booking.

It’s pretty obvious that once you give your audition, any control is out of your hands.  Stay focused on the audition you have control of.  Know how to make your commercial performance stand out.  Relax, and go about your life.  (More info at

Any reproduction or usage of this article on other websites must be credited to Terry Berland, Casting Director and linked back to here.

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Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera, television, voice-over, and hosting. Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and Television Festival. Her former casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has lent to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development and is the co-author of the how-to industry book,”Breaking Into Commercials.”