Notice given For Auditions....

Guy Press
Actor

Hi All,

I Just wanted to get this off my chest because I think it's a huge discourtesy to Actors by Advertising agencies and Production companies.

As many of you know I work both sides of Camera being a Directing and Prod grad of The National Film & TV School and an East 15 Acting School Grad.

When I contact actors for audition I give at least a weeks notice - however more and more tin pot Advertising agencies / production houses are leaving it till the last minute to call actors for audition i.e. less than 24hrs notice. It's not always because of late decisions but often it's because of ineptitude to give notice as actors are looked as "lowly" and "expendable."

This is not just a discourtesy but disrespectful and bloody rude.

I'm not sure how this downward slide can be stopped unless actors don't drop everything each time. I just think this is an appalling lack of respect and as a Producer and Director I am sickened by a lack of professionalism by production companies and advertising agencies in this matter. It's called basic Planning!!

Guys and Gals please demand better!!!

Best to All for Christmas and The New Year!!!

Guy ;-) xxx


  • 10 years ago
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I hear you! It's a real bugbear of mine. Very rarely do I get more than 24 hrs notice from my agent regarding auditions, and I know that its not his fault.
It's ok if it's basically an ident for a commercial, but when it's for a dramatic role and you want to work on the character specifics such as accent etc it can be very difficult. Then of course they throw it in that they want you to be off book at the audition. Please production companies, casting directors et al, give us a fighting chance to do the part and ourselves justice! Give us some time.


  • 10 years ago
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I must say I've not had many circumstances of less than 24 hours for a dramatic role, but certainly for ads and whatnot. In those circumstances I do believe the clients, then the production companies that hire the casting directors might be the ones with the expectations for such a quick turnaround so not sure how this can actually change. I'm sure if it were possible to give longer then that's what would happen as nobody wants to bring in unprepared actors. We live in a very NOW NOW NOW society these days I guess!


  • 10 years ago
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I work with production companies and agencies - and certainly not 'tin pot' ones but some of the biggest.

Unfortunately the turnaround on commercials is very fast, and whilst production companies do plan as much as possible nothing can be given the go-ahead until the budget is received.

If you are receiving less that 24 hours notice then I imagine it's not through ineptitude but through necessity.

It's in our interest as commercial producers to try to give as much time as possible to ensure that we can see the best actors, not just the ones who are free at the last minute.


  • 10 years ago
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Heather Rome
Actor

Personally I don't think it's fair to have less thana 48 hours notice for ANY audition/interview but then as my dear old dad always said "Who told you life was fair?"

Less than 24 hours notice for commercials and idents is annoying if you end up losing money from other acting or survival jobs but as there is little preparation you can do, at least you don't feel cheated that you haven't been allowed to give of your best as you had no preparation time.

However, occasionally a decent audition has less than 24 hours notice, like a play for a regional theatre, which happened to me several years ago, and you just feel livid. The theatre in question wouldn't even e-mail me a copy of the play (a question of copyright they said) which wasn't readily available from a library or even a bookshop outside say French's in London, and I couldn't find out much about it online. So I had to prepare solely on the basis of the sides they e-mailed. Which left out a crucial of information earlier in the play which completely changed the type of reading I could have/should have done. The director picked up on this, seemed embarassed as we both knew that a) it wasn't a copyright issue that prevented transmission of the script but b) the lack of forethought andn respect for actors to tell an assistant/intern/dogsbody to scan the bloody thing. I was a few minutes to digest this piece of plot and have a second go, but I was so rattled that I don't think I did particularly well and needless to say wasn't cast.

I know, I know, there are far too many of us performers banging on doors but it still pisses me off that we are treated so shabbily.


  • 10 years ago
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Lee Ravitz
Actor

'It's in our interest as commercial producers to try to give as much time as possible to ensure that we can see the best actors, not just the ones who are free at the last minute'

Clearly, this was *not* advice adhered to by a casting agency I went to an audition for not so long ago who literally offered, I kid you not, the possibility of being seen by them on THE AFTERNOON OF THE SAME DAY THEY HAD CONTACTED MY AGENCY!! So, that was, oh, three hours turnaround on a day I just happened not to have any prior arrangement such as, say, a job that I might have been previously committed to. This, although anomalous, is truly the thin end of the wedge, and it has happened to me. Before this, I honestly felt that being alerted 24 hours before the audition was poor, but this was a new low even by the standards of commercials casters. And it seemed to be a mid rank sort of campaign.


  • 10 years ago
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Getting short notice on things in life, is generally inconvenient. For me if everyone involved has the same short notice, it makes no difference as the playing field is level. A group of auditionees with 12 hours notice, is the same as a group with 12 days notice.
The problems arise if you audition with a group who had 12 days notice, whilst you had only 12 hours. In which case it's probably best if you don't call them 'cos they'll call you.


  • 10 years ago
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Short notice makes it very difficult and expensive for those outside of london, to make it down to auditions, especially via public transport :(


  • 10 years ago
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Carrie Cohen
Actor

I have no problem with short notice auditions and, perversely, like them! No time to fret! However, I always have a batch of audition speeches ready in the rare event of them being needed and regularly practise my sight-reading skills. As someone who prides herself (I know, pride comes before the fall) on her professionalism, I try to be ready to say "how high?" when, like a performing seal, asked to jump; jump now!
Seriously, get over it. We actors are the lowest of the low and we need to learn to accept our place in the pecking order and be grateful to get an audition every now and then. If you are not ready then someone else will be.
Ho hum. Seasons' greetings to all.


  • 10 years ago
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Guy Press
Actor

@Dave Frost turnaround can be quick but notice can still be given - (thankfully - you're not the only person working with Big Prod companies) and yes, I do stand by my assertion that within the UK there a lot of poor ad agencies and prod companies out there which is why the good stand out!
As has been the case for years budget green lights are often used as an excuse for poor communications with clients and channels.

Best to all and I'll wish a Merry Christmas and New Year now as up to eyes with work!!

Guy ;-)


  • 10 years ago
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"(thankfully - you're not the only person working with Big Prod companies)"

Cheers.

I'm only speaking re: commercials here.

With every production I've worked on casting is a primary task that gets tackled first so as much notice is given as possible.

But it is all about money. If we haven't got the go ahead to get a casting director then we can't plan castings. Simple as.

Actors are not lowly or expendable, and I don't believe they're generally treated as such. Every job has it's downsides and for an actor it includes sporadic and inconvenient hours.


  • 10 years ago
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well said Guy, I'm pretty sure I wasn't retained in a recent part time day job, because I kept having to give less and less notice for auditions. I did see a casting on CCP recently for a student film where they said something along the lines of they were casting same day, for a shoot the following day, because the piece had to be 'handed in' the day after. If anyone was daft enough to apply for that....


  • 10 years ago
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Keith Hill
Actor

...and as if by magic, posted this afternoon for an audition in a HALF HOUR SLOT tonight....despite the fact that the shoot isn't for nearly a week...go for it. Careful;, mind - it's for a footbal referee...They probably want you to bring your own kit.


  • 10 years ago
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Mark Kempner
Actor

To be honest....yes I agree with you Guy....but I see it from both sides too.

I think sometimes with certain jobs and agents and the actors...if they do it last minute the whole "we wont get messed about" syndrome kicks in.

SCENARIO: I as a casting Dir…arrange to call in Guy Press for an audition and give him 3 days notice say...even 5-7 days if you like. How likely is it that another casting opportunity will come his way or one that he chooses to seek etc in that time. Very likely....and whilst Guy....you and I might say well I can't do that coz I committed to a casting in 5-6 days.....most actors would do whatever suits them best of all. Sorry but that's fact based on 18 years of employing many actors......not all granted….will be very trustworthy and loyal.....others will simply seek what's best for them. Therefore, if I only give a day's notice….I can be pretty guaranteed that person will be at the casting!

Its just a theory….but I think it has merit as a theory! I do see it from the casting side too.


  • 10 years ago
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Lee Ravitz
Actor

Well, of course, the other alternative to Mark's theory 'With one day's notice, I will be guaranteed to see that actor at the casting' is 'With one day's notice, I will be guaranteed NOT to see that actor at the casting' (i.e. because they have a clash with something else that you have not given them enough time to rearrange around, are in a different part of the country or, wonder of wonders, actually out on ANOTHER JOB!) - but then, with commercials especially, it has to be tacitly accepted that our actual attendance really *is* ten-a-penny, whether we turn up or not is of minor concern, and there is rarely any leeway on rearranging the casting for a different slot in the same day, let alone for another day. I still feel Guy's point has merit, however, inasmuch as it seems that the lead-time being given is continuously ebbing away - from maybe an average of three days notice to an average of one days notice to (maybe) an average of half a day's notice. And, to be frank, if Equity had more power in the commercial casting sphere (which they don't unfortunately), I don't doubt they would have deemed such policies basically detrimental to the actor, and have fought against them.

It isn't really a question of preparation time - as the basic requirements of most commercials auditions can, indeed, be got down in about ten minutes - it is more to do with the fact that such short lead times do ensure that actors are at risk of losing job opportunities, alienating their own representatives, jeopardising their 'supporting' jobs by having to leave shifts at extremely short notice and so on. At the end of the day, I hold one of the most flexible jobs it is possible for me to hold (barring literally running my own business affairs), and even I could not make myself available for an audition announced to me the same day if I am already booked to work that day - that it can be assumed anyone can actually do this seems to suggest that the casting directors themselves have bought into the myth of the permanently 'resting' actor, who would appear to have nothing else to do in their life except wait for the next audition to come their way. Still, I play devil's advocate, because I must concede that, when all is said and done, if I am given an audition slot which is all but impossible to cater for so late was notice given, I don't go to it, and I don't lose sleep over it. Particular instances do not negate the fact that the principle in play is extremely questionable, however.

With all this said, and in a sort of (backhanded) defence of CCP in response to Keith's post, there are often breakdowns given on here which demand a very last minute response. In a sense, I feel this is different, because the user is controlling the application process - i.e. if you are available at short notice, can make the audition and see the breakdown at the apposite time, then there is nothing to stop you offering your services for the audition at short notice (and, presumably, being offered a swift reply in return). Often, when a cast member has unexpectedly left a project or a final demand been wangled out of a casting director by an ad exec who has changed their mind about the campaign, a post will be sent here to try and garner applicants quickly and efficiently. I don't imagine you could possibly have managed something like this in the days before the Internet. The issue of short lead time doesn't really become one because the tacit acknowledgment that the actor is available in the first instance goes without saying - if you aren't around you don't apply for it, as simple as that! The issue arises purely when a call to audition is issued at very short notice without giving you enough of a heads up to respond to it.


  • 10 years ago
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Mark Kempner
Actor

Hmmm...not sure I agree with "all" you say there Lee. Incidentally, my agent would be ruddy furious if they put me up for a commercial or whatever.....then if they get the call from the casting director that they would like to see me...call me and have me say: I cant do it! Oooh Ummm...eeek...I think the air would turn very blue!

Casting know they can call actors in at last minute without booking ahead...and so they just do! However I do agree commercials are a separate entity ....I have to be in Clerkenwell for 4pm tomorrow afternoon.....and I was called about it from my agent at 3pm today. To me this is perfectly normal...standard and workable practice.....and does not bother me at all. If I was unavailable I would not go....but then I always let my agent know exactly what days I am N/A for...and so they know ..unless I have booked out...they assume I am available. To be honest I am not sure how else they would work the system? Yes it is a pain in the ass...and I will have to re-arrange things....but if I get the job...I make 4k....so .....I'm fine with the situation.

Another factor is availability of casting studios....that could play a part too. Commercials are often (as has been said before) very quick turn around.

As far as other TV parts and roles and or theatre jobs go...very often one is given time and a day or two or three with a piece of script to prepare in any case. I Have also on many occasions been booked for a TV audition....not been able to make it and still been able to change the time and or even the date....but as Lee rightly points out that's not the case with commercials.

To be honest....its not the last minute of it all which annoys me....it's when the audition slot runs over time by about 1.5 hrs....Grrrr!

I understand the frustration Guy...but I don't think there is an alternative solution....certainly not one casting would like. They get the call at the last minute too...as do our agents.....and of course it's the actors who are last in the chain.


  • 10 years ago
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Guy Press
Actor

Hey Mark, Good to hear from you as always Sir!!
We must meet for that pint!!
Ironically I'm currently casting and we have given the Actors a weeks notice!! I wish everyone did this still!!

Back to work :-)


  • 10 years ago
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Vicki Glover
Actor

Just because some companies view us as the lowest of the low, it doesn't mean we are - if we start saying it too, it'll never improve :(

I personally don't mind if it's a decently-paid job that's casting last minute, as the money it will cost me to attend and the rearranging is all part of the gamble you hope will pay off. I also don't mind if it's nearby. But if someone casting an unpaid or low-paid job gets in touch with less than 24 hours notice and wants me to get to London (for example) for the casting, I'm going to find that really difficult to do, as I can't justify the costs or messing people around if the potential payout isn't even going to cover my expenses :(


  • 6 years ago
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