Sorry, I don't do auditions!

  • Kat Kumar

    Actor

    HELLO CCP!

    So, I noticed on one of the recent threads someone mentioned they don't audition (I assume casting would be done from show reel and online portfolios) and I wanted to ask if it is reasonable to apply for an acting job/opportunity yet state you do not audition?

    I ask because I still like to participate in unpaid opportunities if the script is good, a seemingly rare occurrence as of late, and if the company conduct themselves with a modicum of professionalism i.e. receiving a generic e-mail asking me to forward my contact details when I have already provided them in my application is never a good sign and usually means they can't be bothered!

    Is it cheeky to apply for an opportunity, yet refuse to be auditioned? Am I being pretentious in thinking that my body of work so far should be enough to convince someone offering an unpaid opportunity that I am right for the job? Or should I hold my skills in a higher regard than to be running around London auditioning for unpaid work?

    I don't want to dilute the thread by sparking off the debate of whether or not actors should participate in unpaid work, simply asking for peoples opinions regarding auditioning for unpaid work.

    Thanks guys!

    Cat -x-

    • 20th Jul 2012
    • 5660
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    That would have been my post you're referring to!

    I have a policy that if the production is unable/unwilling to pay me to perform then I'm certainly not going to take time off my day job to audition for it! I have taken great amounts of time, money and effort producing a quality showreel which shows my calibre! If that isn't good enough then so be it! The majority of unpaid opportunities are from newcomers/students/start-ups who don't show me their pedigree or capabilities in their casting call so why would I lose out financially jumping through hoops for them!

    It's a two way deal! Show me the money and I'll do the dance! Offer me nothing other than experience, luke warm coffee and curly sandwiches and I won't! I can't pay my bills with smiles and a handshake! Simples!

    I also have a policy of not working on unpaid projects for more than 2 days unless I'm totally blown away by the script and the people behind it!

    Each actor has there own rules, or at least should do! Mine work for me! Some might see me as just in this game for the money, however if you look at my CV and you'll see I'm a strong supporter of LB/Indies! I have 7 LB features coming out just this year so that's clearly not the case, however all of these indies were either paid above my minimum day rate or less than a 2 day commitment!

    Know your worth guys!

    • 17th Jul 2012
    • 1
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Fantastic policy Forbes; I'm adopting it!

    Best.

    • 17th Jul 2012
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  • Catherine Stobbs

    Actor

    Excellent Forbes, if all actors felt the same way the world would be a better place, for us anyway!!

    I never apply for unpaid work, I can't afford to, I don't want to, none of the unpaid work I have done in the past has amounted to anything other than a very shoddy film!

    I have however been approached many times to do unpaid films.

    The only one I said yes to messed me about no end, and when I said I couldn't afford to buy £60 worth of train tickets I got fired!!!(Bournemouth University isn't always good!)

    Now I just ignore them, or ask for money, they never reply.

    So no, I would never audition for unpaid work, I have learnt my lesson.

    • 17th Jul 2012
    • 3
  • Kat Kumar

    Actor

    Thanks for the replies guys!

    Forbes, it was actually a woman who mentioned it, but I guess she's not the only one! You're very right in what you say and of course it makes sense not to sacrifice a paid day job to complete unpaid acting work.

    Catherine, I've been contacted and asked to audition before too - one company asked me to audition and then went mute when I said my travel would need to be covered!

    On one occasion the students paid for my travel after assuring me they could pay for my accommodation (they were 2 hours away by train)and expenses during the shoot only to cast someone more local because it turned out they couldn't afford to accommodate me! So even though I was not out of pocket attending the audition was a waste of my time.

    Thank you all for your replies. I think I have my answer!

    Cat -x-

    • 17th Jul 2012
    • 4
  • Simeon Willis

    Actor

    Hi Cat,

    This is my policy too. If I'm asked to do an unpaid short I will generally ask for my low budget/student day rate or if they are really unable to offer that and I love the script then I may do it if I'm free and like them but I will assume they have asked because i've been recomended and or they have seen my work so I won't audition on top.

    • 17th Jul 2012
    • 5
  • Robin Miller

    Actor

    I agree with all the comments here - I definitely think auditioning for unpaid work is a waste of time and travel expenses, and I feel the same about low paid work too. Surely we have showreels to prevent the need for all these auditions anyway?

    • 17th Jul 2012
    • 6
  • Kat Kumar

    Actor

    Simeon, is there a standard low budget rate (NMW) or is this just a rate you have set for yourself?

    Cat -x-

    • 17th Jul 2012
    • 7
  • Simeon Willis

    Actor

    Cat, this a rate I set myself and above NMW as this another thing I don't agree with. We are professional skilled workers and therefore deserve a rate that reflects this.

    I evaluate every situation on it's own merits and go from there. x

    • 17th Jul 2012
    • 8
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Not wishing to steal Forbes's thunder....but there are several of us who will not attend auditions on unpaid student films.

    LB indies....well...possibly if the role is a cracker and the script, crew and general distribution possibility looks fab.....then I would expect to take the trouble to attend a casting.

    As has been said…the experience on the CV and the showreel should be all a student director should need. Or if you are desperate to do a student film which will be unpaid….then at least pay my travel fees to the casting!!

    As Fobes has said….and I have constantly advised all the Newbies who write to me for advice: If you arwant to be considered a professional….then value your experience, skills and time. After all we all paid a price to get the experience, and the showreel together in the 1st place!! If we all did that…..the whole NMW debate, and general arguiment regarding Low pay/No pay argument would be sorted in an instant. No - not all indie and fringe would die….that's just cobblers put about by a few Hard core permanent Zero budget film makers and the like. Also, there is a vast difference between a Low/no Budget quality "everyone is pooling excellent resources for nowt" movie, from which we are all going to potentially gain. As opposed to …."sorry we just cannot afford to pay you" student jobby!

    I'm bloody sure Forbe's did not sweat and pay for his HGV Licence to drive lorries for nothing! The apprentice Plumber who fixes your boiler, did not buy all the tools, the van and obtain their apprenticeship to qualify and then not earn anything did they? However, one could argue, they would not expect expenses to come and quote for a job……why? Coz they know they'll get bleedin paid for doing the job!! ….and don't start me on the ……Love of the art darling….argument!! That's another unproven "dream world myth" put about by those who can well afford to earn Zero!!! Most actors have bills to pay!!

    At the auditioning stage for a No pay production, I'd think very carefully! Treat this like a business and you will survive…..if you simply treat it like a hobby, you will almost always be treated like an amateur.

    • 17th Jul 2012
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  • Santi Santos

    Actor

    Hi guys,I understand you don't have to agree with what I believe!!but there it goes...Sometimes is good to keep the wheels in motion.if we consider that every audition is unique and we certainly learn from every situation.I normally apply lets say for 10 jobs and one or two unpaid,depending on the distance of course.to have a lot of show-reels -I guess- show to the directors that we've got enough experience.if we are ready to fork out the money for show reels, voice overs,etc...we are doomed.however,the more contacts we make the better it gets for our career.there are hundreds of actors with talent,qualifications and trainings;more than the normal actors we see on TV...but sometimes work experiences and networking are better than papers.I've got an audition(unpaid) today so I keep on greasing the wheels cause although I have credits in cinema and TV and got paid for it..nobody knows me,so I have to push.wish me luck and good luck to you folks.

    • 17th Jul 2012
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  • Charles Delaney

    Actor

    ..Good luck Santiago;I understand your point about 'keeping the wheels oiled'

    & doing the occasional low paid film project can acheive this; It's also deciding what to turn down which can be difficult in itself!

    I won't attend any auditions for unpaid projects; I've got a bunch of show reels on here for anyone to view & make a casting decision which costs me £185 a year!!

    • 18th Jul 2012
    • 11
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I don't think there's any right or wrong, it depends on the individual's circumstances.

    I will audition for unpaid/student work if it's a good script or the project excites me in some way, but I wouldn't if it would require me to take time off or pay any costs to attend. I can travel within London free, so if it's a choice between sitting at home in front of the laptop all day, or going to an audition 20 mins away, I would usually choose the latter. But not if the script is bad or if they seem clueless or rude. Life's too short.

    • 18th Jul 2012
    • 12
  • Tim Fordyce

    Actor

    Guys i think with all things it is a balance. A showreel is not the be all and end all. Ashowreel will give you an idea the person can act but not if they are reliable or their manner. Casting is not just on talent. Often this is why people want to meet. However I agree if you are having to travel you should not be out of pocket for the audition.

    • 18th Jul 2012
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  • Kat Kumar

    Actor

    Question...

    If the quality of the script influences whether or not you will take the job, when is the right time to ask for the script?

    I assume it's not on application, but hypothetically, if you apply for a role, state you do not audition and are THEN offered the role it seems like a waste of the 'employers' time to then request the script before you accept the role... or is this the way it goes?

    I have on a number of occasions been invited to audition only to ask for the script and discover it's... well... to put it diplomatically, 'crap'. I've then had to explain that unfortunately I have decided the project isn't for me, but I do feel a little like I have wasted their time although to ask for the script on application seems presumptuous.

    What's the best thing to do?

    Cat -x-

    • 18th Jul 2012
    • 14
  • Dave Frost

    Actor

    With regards to the script I ask to see it, or at least a section of it, when I get offered an audition.

    I was told only recently that they wouldn't let me see any of the script until I had the role. I told them I don't audition without seeing a script.

    It's completely reasonable to. If big budget TV and films are happy to send sides to actors it's laughable that a student film claims they can't for confidentiality.

    • 18th Jul 2012
    • 15
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    A showreel is THE most important marketting tool an actor can have right now! If a production hasn't got any money in their budget to pay their performers why should we as professional actors lose money to jump through the hoops for them!

    I can't see Panavision, etc. donating their time/skills/equipment for nothing so why should we! If it's costing you money to be part of their production surely that makes you an investor or executive producer and as such, entitled to a %age of the profits!

    Of all the LB Indies I've got coming out this year, not one of them asked me to audition! It was a straight "here's the script, the part's yours if you want it!" and that's the way it should be once you've got proven experience! Students are also sometimes mandated by their tutors to go through an audition process as part of their learning curve!

    For the higher profile gigs, paying proper money, I'll jump through whatever (flaming) hoops they ask me to!

    • 18th Jul 2012
    • 16
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I have to say that more and more paid films are requesting self tapes these days. This year I've seen a lot of it. I just did one on Sunday night and while I don't like it (you can't feed off the feeling in the room and don't get direction before a second take) I'd rather this than waste precious pennies on long train journeys if I'm not going to get cast. They can always recall.

    I'm not sure I'd want to do that for unpaid films but I sure did waste a lot of money travelling to rubbish auditions when I first left drama school, so if a showreel isn't strong enough to show you can play a role, how about allow self-taping or at least Skype castings if desperate to see you.

    • 18th Jul 2012
    • 17
  • Dan Gregory

    Actor

    I always try and get to auditions (I am of an age where there aren't many). Whether you get the job or not the expenses are tax deductible and you never know what might happen.

    I once accompanied my then girl friend to Brooklyn for her audition the theatre being in Brownsville. She did a brilliant reading & the director turned to me in the auditorium and asked if I wanted to read. There was nothing for me but two weeks later just before I had to come back to the UK he called me to offer me a part in the next production. Never in my life had I earned to much money! My three week holiday became six years of fairly constant work.

    Several times since I have not got the part I went up for but I have been remembered for future work. If you are not working what is there to lose?

    • 18th Jul 2012
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  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    I think it'd be ace if unpaid projects cast from reels- I'd certainly consider that for the odd excellent project.

    On projects I've organised with no pay I've cast from reels only as I felt incredibly cheeky just asking for their time on the job, letalone making them pay to travel and audition for me! (And always pay expenses)

    I was recently contacted on CCP by a project that looked really interesting but everyone was working unpaid on it. They were casting from showreels, so I thought "why not?"- I'm looking for something like this to go on my reel, and apparently I was perfect.

    Then they wanted a video audition, which they'd then pick.

    Then they wanted a physical audition... by which point I said no. Apparently I'm still in the running, although they're advertising on every service possible for more actresses to audition.

    Very annoying- I often find the less money the more demanding they are!

    (I know this is mainly a vent, but it really flaming annoyed me!)

    In many ways if someone doesn't have to pay for your services, they don't value them.

    I'm trying to work out a tactful way of saying "I don't audition for unpaid work" in applications that doesn't make me sound like a pompous thing!

    I think it'd be great for CCP to suggest when students etc send in their castings- just make them aware that if they can't pay, they shouldn't expect an actor to pay for the pleasure of auditioning for them...

    • 19th Jul 2012
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