Apropos of “Alternate Routes…” (below), one of my clients really screwed up this morning. He had a 9 a.m. call time for a great booking in Burbank. It doesn’t matter what the job was, but suffice it to say it was on a huge up-coming film, which would have paid nicely for the session, provided unknown residuals, and established him with a very famous casting director for whom he had never before worked.
At 12 minutes before 9, he left a message on my voice mail. He was “stuck in traffic”, due to an accident on the freeway. He was irritated that he could not get through to the casting office BEFORE 9 O’CLOCK, in order to tell them he was going to be late. So, in a panic, he called me, also BEFORE 9 O’CLOCK.
I heard his message at 4 minutes past nine and immediately called the casting office. Still no answer. But what was I going to say that he hadn’t already said? No matter what either of us said, HE WAS GOING TO BE LATE.
When he arrived at the studio, 31 MINUTES LATE, the work was already underway. Instead of acting contritely and apologizing for BEING LATE, he walked in whistling in an off-hand manner and then turned the entire problem back onto the casting director, as if it were her fault that he hadn’t been able to reach her. Not once, either to her as she was firing him, nor to me, his agent, when he called afterwards in a fury, did he apologize or accept responsibility for the fact that HE WAS LATE.
His first and most obvious mistake was leaving home (as he told me) at 8:15, to get from Venice to Burbank and be on the sound stage at 9, ready to work. Was he kidding?!
His second and worse mistake was walking in to that session with a nonchalant attitude that said, “I’m cute and you need me. So what if I’m a little late?”
Well, they didn’t need him. OR his attitude. Plus, he will never work for that casting director again.
She also told me (oh, yes, folks – good casting people do report bad behavior to your agents) that when she auditioned him the previous week, he responded to everything she told him about the gig with an “I know, I know”. You know what that said to her? That he wasn’t really listening and that he was slightly arrogant. But she liked him otherwise and his audition was very good, so she hired him. Or tried to.
As this long-established casting director sees it, when you get hired for a gig, all of the following ensues, or at least is should: You work. You’re easy to direct. You pay attention and keep the chit-chat to a minimum. The producers and director like you. You get paid. You probably earn residuals down the line. Your excellent work ethic and attitude cause you to be hired again…and again…by the same people. And you just made that casting director look good in front of her client. Everybody wins.
OR…you screw up. Arrive late. Act like a know-it-all pain-in-the-ass. And nobody on that production ever wants to work with you again. And they tell their friends about the asshole they just met – YOU! And the casting director is embarrassed that she even presented you to her client.
You shot your poor, sorry self in the foot, my friend. YOU did it. Nobody else. And you cannot blame it on anyone else: not the casting director, the two people who crashed their cars on the freeway, or even your own flat tire. YOU didn’t leave home early enough. YOU didn’t find the alternative routes. YOU screwed up.
STOP UNDERMINING YOUR OWN CAREER. Actors do this to themselves all the time. It’s subconscious, to be sure, but if that’s the case, slap yourself a couple of times and become CONSCIOUS! What you do or do not do affects more people than you can imagine and that includes your agents. This one just lost out on a nice commission today.
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