How to keep safe when going to auditions and castings

Firstly, when you are invited for audition get the name of the main contact, get that person's telephone number (mobile and office) and of course email.

Then - the internet is your oyster. Research the company/person thoroughly. Check out their past credits for productions - you'll soon be able to sense if they are not a genuine company. Or indeed if the kind of work they produce is something you would be happy with.

A very useful precaution to take, if you are meeting a complete stranger, is to say to the person you are meeting "please could you email me a photo of yourself/send me a photo by phone so that I will recognise you".

Tied in with the photo is the hard and fast rule: always tell someone where you are going, whom you are meeting, the address and telephone number of the production company/person you are meeting. Always tell someone what time your appointment is and when you expect to be back home. Say to them that you will telephone them/email them when you arrive back from your audition. Then do so when you do get back.

In fact it's a good idea to tell both a work colleague and also another person who is close friend so that you have two people who know you have gone somewhere.

If you are asked to go to someone's house - don't. Just come clean and say that as a point of professionalism you always prefer to meet in public place and then suggest a cafe/bar in a busy central location that has a wide open space where you could audition/read a part. No professional producer could take offence at that.

If you are required to go to a specific address and when you Google search the address to check it out it turns out to be somewhere remote then be extra careful.

Next, ever just agree to meet someone at a railway station/coach station on the understanding that you will be collected and taken to the place of audition. Tell them you will arrive by bus or taxi.

Obviously, you say? Yes - but this has happened to folk.

You need a definite postal address - if it's a studio in the middle of an industrial estate (and this can be the case too) then use the excuse that your boyfriend/father/brother/friend will be driving you.

If you don't have a boyfriend get a relative or male friend (or even female friend) to drive you.

If the person auditioning you objects to that then you should be smelling a rat.

A key rule is: any doubts whatsoever about the location of the audition or the person auditioning you either don't go - or certainly don't go alone.

It's also a good idea to book an audition time that is in the day rather than evening. If you work in the day and have to have an evening audition then make it as early as possible.

If you get to an audition and you are asked to do anything at all that makes you feel uncomfortable then have the confidence to very politely say "no, sorry, it wasn't clear from our initial contact that nudity/violence/foul language (or whatever) was required for this audition so I'm really not what you're looking for and I think you need to find someone else. Thank you for seeing me today, sorry if I've wasted your time".

It does take courage to do this. Unscrupulous folk will take advantage of your natural wish not to appear prudish or shocked but remember they have no right to make you feel at all uncomfortable in an audition.

Don't feel too embarrassed or worry that you are ruining your chances: you wouldn't enjoy the role anyway if you have already been made to feel uncomfortable. Furthermore, a professional producer will specify if such things are required in the casting call.

Basically, once you've researched a producer/production company, you should know whether they are bona fide or not.

Do remember too, that you can always use resources such as CastingCallPro to check if other members have worked for the person/company and then email other members to ask what their experience was like.

Lastly, if you are going somewhere and will be returning late at night then it is always sensible to have a personal alarm in your bag anyway. Always have some extra cash with you for emergency transport needs such as taxis and do ensure you've topped your mobile phone up in case you need to make extra calls.

Enjoy your auditions.