the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area

mostly the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also the home of the Counting Actors Project

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Me and my agents: auditions

More thoughts about agents in the Bay Area, this time a bit more personal.

So this is my agency.  They've been my agents for about 3 years, and represent me for on-camera work, voiceover, and print.

Looking back through my audition tracking spreadsheets, while I've had some dry spells, it averages out to about 1 audition every 3 weeks. This past week I had 4 auditions through my agency - 2 voiceover, 1 print, and 1 industrial.

My agency sends audition information via email.  For an on-camera audition, they send me the time, location, character/wardrobe, sides to prepare (if there are sides), potential callback dates, and shoot dates.  Sometimes there's additional character description or direction.  Usually the email comes in the early afternoon and the audition is the following day, and the email has a specific appointment time.  Sometimes, if there is a lot of text to prep, it'll be a day or two before the audition.  But it's up to me to keep my schedule flexible enough that I can fit in those auditions.

For a voiceover audition, I'm expected to record it myself, using my own equipment.  The email they send has a lot of the same info as on-camera does, but instead of telling me when I need to audition and where, it tells me where I'm supposed to send my sound file, how to name it, and when I'm supposed to send it in by - usually I've got 24-36 hours to get it done.

For print auditions I get a similar amount of notice as for on-camera auditions, but sometimes I get a range (show up between 10 and 12) instead of a specific time.   Every once in a while, especially with the hand modeling stuff, there's not even an audition, just a call or email checking if I'm available for the shoot date.  This doesn't mean I've booked it, but that I'm being considered, based on my portfolio.

If I'm not available to do auditions, I 'book out' with my agents.  This means that I let them know I won't be available for auditions between day x and day y.  Usually this is because I'm out of town, but sometimes it's because of a tech or shoot schedule for another project, and every once in a while for an intensive teaching/directing project.  I probably book out between 1 and 3 weeks total per year.

Being available for auditions means keeping track of a lot of things.  I've got to keep myself and my audition wardrobe looking good - regularly scheduled haircuts and other grooming appointments, keeping my business suits clean and making sure they're not at the dry cleaners at the wrong times.  I need to be able to juggle what I've got scheduled for the day - I'm thankful to have employers who understand this part of an actor's schedule, and a day job that's around the corner from a casting agency, which makes it easy to pop out for a half hour, do the audition, and then get back to work.  I need to be able to absorb new material fast - for one of the auditions this week I had 3 hours w/the audition sides before the audition.

I remember asking at a Q&A panel with agents several years ago something along the lines of "what are some of the mistakes actors make after they've signed with you?"  And the answer that they all agreed on was when actors are consistently not available for auditions because of other commitments. 

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