Why is an up to date calendar so critical for actors and performers?
Actors lead busy lives involving training, a constant round of auditions, a mixture of paid jobs and side hustles, and plenty of volunteering time on creative projects. That’s even before family and social lives are thrown into the mix. Parents supporting child actors have a household and their own work to organise too.
So it’s easy to overlook maintenance of the talent agency’s calendar, especially if it’s a while since your last audition. However, this is one error which can cause significant damage to the reputation both to you as an actor and to your agency as a professional business.
When Your Talent Agent Checks Your Calendar
You battle through a competitive process to get onto the roster of a reputable acting agency.
Then you take hours out of your day to attend a photoshoot and pay for them out of your own pocket. Next you pay an annual subscription to Spotlight and perhaps another casting website too.
Maybe you’ve purchased and assembled a well thought out wardrobe of clothes to wear to an audition. And then equipped yourself with a tripod, lighting, backdrop and microphone to create self tapes that stand out from the crowd.
Your agent provides you with an online calendar, perhaps using the Tagmin platform. They tell you that any dates you are unavailable to attend a casting or work must be blocked out by you.
You must do this as soon as you know about them, and keep doing this 7 days a week.
Your talent agency gets to work. They check each brief for physical attributes, accents, skills and experience, and matches the brief to an actor on the roster.
Where a match is made, the agent checks the actor’s calendar for two important dates. Firstly, the casting dates. Secondly, the dates of production.
Given the ever increasing speed of the industry, the casting dates are likely to be within the next 48 hours. The production dates may be as soon as the coming weekend.
If all the specified dates are clear on your calendar and you are a great fit for the brief, your acting agent submits your profile for the casting director’s consideration. They usually won’t contact you first!
Getting A Casting
Casting directors typically peruse hundreds, if not thousands, of profiles for each brief. Their turn around is usually quick. Casting slots get allocated and communicated to agencies often within 24 hours.
At that point the agency informs you about the casting time and location.
Depending on the agency you’re with, that’s often the first you hear anything about this project and your involvement with it.
It’s now a very, very bad time to realise you forgot about maintaining the calendar and didn’t block out your busy days which clash with the casting or production. Rearranging usually isn’t possible, especially for a different day.
If you now force your talent agent to cancel your casting, the relationships between you, the agency and casting director are all damaged. If the same agency keeps cancelling disorganised actors, casting directors stop reviewing their submissions.
Casting directors keep records of actors and agencies which cause problems. The worst offenders are known and discussed with other casting professionals.
So if you cancel a casting because you didn’t maintain your calendar, your talent agent is right to drop you.
Not Turning Up For A Casting
Even worse than cancelling a casting is not turning up for your booked slot.
In March 2017 London Casting Director Sue Odell was looking for a group of actors for a fun shoot. Presumably, every one of the actors submitted in response to Sue’s brief was someone who wants to work as an actor. The money on offer would have been very handy. Along with the experience, the credit and the chance to make some great contacts too.
Sue would have looked at hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. Like all casting directors, she would have chosen a very small number to invite in for an audition.
When the audition slots were notified to the actors, the sensible ones rearranged work and family commitments. They organised their travel arrangements and planned their clothing. A clean and appropriate outfit was prepared. They tried to prepare mentally and physically for the audition. Perhaps they even googled Sue Odell, and were pleased that they were invited to meet an important casting director with a brilliant track record.
They understood that this audition offered them the chance of a job. Moreover, it offered a step along the way of a very difficult and treacherous career path. So they turned up as required, did the best audition performance they could, and then hoped for the best.
Amazingly, thirteen people did not turn up.
Turn Up To Win The Work
WHAT were the thirteen no-shows thinking? They’ve not only shrugged their shoulders at the chance of some decently paid work but have effectively blacklisted themselves from at least one casting director’s future projects. The casting director’s client expects to receive the full array of suggestions, so the day’s work becomes more difficult. The agent will certainly be receiving a message to drop the unreliable actor. And word gets around between the casting directors.
Those no-shows have therefore chosen to write off their careers.
Originally, the brief was for five performers. The number actually hired turned out to be six.
The really sad thing is, look through the Twitter feed of any major casting director working on commercials, and you will see the same story repeated again and again.
Always Keep Your Calendar Organised
A successful acting career depends on more than your abilities to act. Your reputation for being reliable and easy to work with are important too.
It’s a lifestyle which demands a lot of juggling and organisation. Central to that is the ability to maintain an up to date calendar with the professional booking your jobs.