No matter your age, wealth, social status or intellect, you must, like everyone else, at some point in life – wait. We wait in lines at drive thru’s, at the doctor’s office (even if you have an appointment), during a car inspection, on the movie ticket line, and in traffic! (Don’t be like those who blow 2 seconds before the light turns green). Everyone has to wait, from the kindest king to the poorest pauper.
I think it helps, and I’m sure you’d agree, to make wise use of your time during the waiting process. Waiting produces patience, and patience producers character, and everyone loves a lovable character. Knowing how to wait, in the smallest things to the grandest of situations, is indeed a virtue. I think it takes a deliberate skill in knowing how to wait, what to do in the waiting time and what’s your attitude after.
Of course the entertainment industry is no exception to the rule. After you’ve done your best at a casting call, you can only wait right? WRONG!!! Waiting doesn’t mean twiddling your fingers while you ‘wait’ on someone to call you back. Waiting means patiently and purposefully occupying your time, mind and resources to produce fruitfulness while the powers that be decide what to hand you. Here are some useful do’s and don’ts that you should apply to your own waiting time.
- Do – Seek work elsewhere. The saying ‘don’t put your eggs in one basket’ is still a wise idiom that you’d do well to remember. I have had actors ask me if they should put off their travel plans, summer schedules and such on the basis that they may get an acting job. I always say NO!!! In the time of waiting, do continue to send out your headshots and resumes, and do do do attend other casting calls.
Do use your time wisely!
- Do sharpen your skills through reading, practicing and training.
- Do watch useful but entertaining films that may be great conversation pieces if you do land the job. Do also watch films or projects that are similar to the ones in which you’ve auditioned for, paying attention to any characters that may be similar to yours. Do watch commentaries by directors and actors and see what may be useful to you.
- Do have (up to date) headshots, business and composite cards ready for if you’re called.
- Don’t – Call the Casting Director (conditional, read on). It’s cliché of course, but the ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ principle is still live and in full effect. Casting Directors, Directors and Producers still don’t like to be called, no matter how sweetly you may sound in your follow up. If there are no other acting jobs pending and you are certain you will be in the city or on the island and available during the time in which the project is shooting, just wait. There’s no need to call as the production office has all of your contact info and will contact you if you are chosen for the role. You may also be called back if they were impressed with you, to do a second reading. But there is no need to call.
- Don’t – The same holds true for emailing. If 2000 people auditioned for the same role, imagine how bombarded the Casting Director will feel if they all emailed to follow up. Even if 70-100 people auditioned for the project, the feeling is still the same. Your email will be seen as annoying, common and worthy of deletion. Honestly, if you were that outstanding and right for the job, YOU will be called and emailed. Now here’s the condition for both calling and emailing – if you have landed a job or a sudden occurrence happens, disabling you from participating in the project if you get the position. In this case, it’s diplomatic of you to call or email saying: Thank you for allowing me to audition for your project. This is just to inform you that such and such has occurred. If you were deliberating on calling me back or choosing me for the role, I will be unable to fill it. However, please do keep me in mind for future projects. Thanks.’ Or something to that affect. It’s helpful to email or call in this case because if you are chosen for the role after all, and then are found to be unavailable, that too can inconvenience a production.
- Don’t - Visit the production office. This perhaps takes the cake of ‘unprofessionalism’ and says you’re desperate. If you don’t have a number or an email for the production, or any links to it, it is obvious that the production’s personnel don’t want to be reached. Moreover, a production office is often times extremely busy, and your showing up may be seen as an extra annoyance.
- Don’t – Malign the production or casting agent out of frustration, especially to persons in the industry. It is a small world, after all.
- Don’t – Give up. Even if you have been waiting days, weeks or even months to hear a word from someone, from anyone of the casting calls you’ve attended – don’t give up. In the same vein -
- Don’t - Be discouraged. There is a project with your name on it. But it takes attending the right amount of casting calls, meeting the right people, and auditioning the right way, to land it.
Then of course there’s your attitude that needs to be checked after that slow driver finally moves five seconds after the light turns green. What’s it like once you’re called or emailed after you’ve waited weeks or perhaps months just to hear word?
The worst you can do is throw a ‘hissy’ fit once you’re contacted. The agent will be sorry he or she ever called you, plus you can begin an awful reputation in an industry that will blacklist you quicker than Donald Trump can say ‘you’re fired’.
Don’t let the waiting time make a monster out of you. Hopefully you would’ve used the time to be that much more refined, glad that you’ve had the opportunity to turn whatever inner ugliness or rough edges into something beautiful.
Please note that our Acting series for this season is almost complete. Immediate upcoming newsletters will cover tips in writing, producing, directing and more. Our final newsletters in the Acting series will cover Useful Tips Every Actor should know, so please stay tuned. Next month, we will discuss “The Call: What to Do If You Are Accepted or Rejected.” Feel free to
with questions or comments. As always, thanks for reading. See you next time!
© Radel Parks - Sharma Entertainment 2009
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