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In 2012 we want to use the blog to serve actors in a different way–getting feedback from producers, directors and casting directors on various topics.  This way the people who make hiring decisions can tell you in their own words what they really think.  We’ll cover one topic each month and post client comments/opinions.  We hope you will use this insight to take control where you can.



From a Casting Director

You are talking about my major pet peeve. Tardiness! I know people run late sometimes, but it’s all about courtesy. Yesterday, for example, I had a casting and we saw 148 people. We had everyone tightly scheduled. We had a lunch break built into the day and we wanted to be finished by 5PM so that we could compress, upload and email all of the videos.

Most people didn’t wait more than 15-20 minutes. Most waited less. The last time given out before lunch was 1:15, yet people were showing up at 1:30 and 1:50. They didn’t understand when I explained that we were on our lunch break, as if showing up 15-35 minutes late was no big deal.

I must say that if you had a lunch date with a friend at 12 Noon and you weren’t there by 12:30 and you hadn’t called or communicated in some way that you were running late, how long would you expect your lunch date to wait?

In our business, time is money. When I was casting a movie, we arranged a paid read-through with all of the actors. It was to begin promptly at 10AM. Everyone, including Demi Moore and three other name stars, was in their seat ready to go at 10AM. Everyone except one local actor. I had stressed to this actor that he must be on time. He assured me he would be. The producer waited a few extra minutes past 10AM and then told me to lock the door, fire him, and replace him!!!! DONE!  Those few minutes cost him upwards of $5000, not to mention his reputation.

The movie business is just that, a business. It is not a game where you can show when you feel, how you feel, and unprepared.  If you take this business seriously and expect to make your living at it, then you MUST treat it as seriously as possible.

 From a Producer:

Since you asked, I will offer my thoughts, for what they’re worth.  Just remember that I’m a aging fogy stuck in a 20th (maybe even a 19th) century mindset and have thought deeply and extensively about the effects of emerging technologies on our interactions, lifestyles and particularly our etiquette.  At the dawn of the mobile age, I discovered very quickly that appointments had become much more guidelines than deadlines where, in the minds of far too many, as long as you could call from the road to alert your appointment you were “in transit” in advance of a designated time, you were “technically” in compliance with that appointment.  Fortunately, with times so tough and competition so fierce, I rarely see this in your talent pool.  However, whenever you discover this pathology re-occurring with someone within your stable, you should take immediate steps to correct it with the underlying threat of terminating the relationship.  I can tell you that, on the receiving end of this, the message comes through loud and clear:  “my time is more important than yours”.  What many actors try to do is leverage the mystery and aura of their profession to procure greater latitude and more leniency when it comes to traditional work ethics.  After all, they are “artists”.  But, as you can imagine, this doesn’t work with me and I’ll address tardiness with an actor on site while making a mental note to carry forward.  In other words, it will not be tolerated with my productions and the violating player is “on notice”. To give you some perspective, with my technical crews, if they’re on time, they’re already five minutes late.  As I’ve told you in the past, bottom line, “if your actors look bad, you look bad”, and they need to understand that they are tactical assets to fill holes within a broader strategic framework and, as your vendors, they’re job is to make you look as good as possible with your clients.

From a Casting Director:

If you’re late, and there’s no really good reason, then you are not perceived as a professional. If you’re 15 mins late for a Dr’s appointment, what happens?

From a Producer

Actors – or any crew member – who is late should be making plans to file unemployment. Either that, or they better be so damn good that they stun audiences.


From a client who personally auditions and hires talent:

As a commercial production studio we do not have time for “Late Talent”.  Talent who are late for auditions and callbacks are generally put at the bottom of the list.  I personally believe that punctuality is a reflection of someones work ethic.  If talent shows up late for one of my projects I take it as they do not take me, my project or my company seriously.  I understand that things happen and will generally give someone the benefit of the doubt the first time they are late to a project (depending on how late they are).  If talent continues to show up late for a shoot we will not work with them on future projects, period!  I believe that being on time involves showing up 15 minutes early.  I always plan on showing up 15-30 minutes early to any meeting, audition or shoot.

From a Producer:

Actors who are late are like the plague. They kill everything in sight – momentum, morale, the director’s vision, the producer’s hairline, the budget, the schedule, the client’s belief in the production company, their agent’s reputation, and most of all their own reputation as an actor. Why would I give that actor another chance to make me look bad? Never gonna hire them again, and if anyone asks me about them, I’ll mention the late thing. I am human, and understand shit happens. Sometimes you can’t be prepared for a flat tire, last minute child care issues, pet problems, etc., but this is a business and when you’re late you cost us money and time we can’t afford to lose. Whether it’s a high end national commercial, feature film, TV show, or freebie, it doesn’t matter. Be professional and be prompt.

If an actor is late to an audition it’s not a big deal to me. We can usually make up the time and often someone is early.

If an actor is late to a shoot it can be a disaster. Shoot days run on very tight schedules. We are usually spending between $5,000 – $10,000 an hour on a shoot day so if an actor adds 15 minutes to my day by being late they may have just cost me as much as $2,000 personally. Obviously not a good thing.

From a Casting Director:

An actor is given an audition time for a reason, actually many reasons: It helps the casting director as they have set up the audition so they are seeing select characters during a certain window of time. They have paired actors together to read so if some are late or does not show it throws a wrench in the whole process. They must have the casting completed by an appointed so they post the audition the client wants to meet you but must leave if you do not show up on time. When you do not show up on time it creates a problem. To me it does not show respect for the casting director and their time. It makes me  question will they be late on the set if they are hired? Everything you say and do reflects on you and me. If it is between two actors and I know one is dependable and can act too, who do you think I would feel lead to select? Remember that being late could be why you did not get the part, not your acting ability.  I want to look good to my client because I want them to come back.You would do the same thing.

From a Casting Director

In this business where the statement “time is money” is truly applicable all the time for everything, it is hard to find an actor trait more unacceptable than being late.  It is followed by “arriving unprepared.”  The schedule is made for you to be at a certain place at a certain time for lots of reasons.  Don’t try to beat the system because “you know best” … and “you know that you are gonna have to wait.”  Welcome to our world of hurry-up and sometimes wait.  But you don’t set the schedule, and you are paid to be there on time and prepared!  Nothing less.  Believe me, directors and AD staff remember “late and unprepared” and it will be factored into their decision to use you again.  And, oh yeah… they talk to others and share this trait of yours.  Just don’t do it!

From a Producer:

Actors who are late can throw an entire production into a tailspin.  Most delays on set are caused by unavoidable situations: problems with a piece of equipment, an unforeseen difficult in lighting a shot, etc.  Crews work very hard to reduce and eliminate these variables so that things flow smoothly on set; to have one person upset that balance by not being mindful of the time, is not only maddening, it’s disrespectful to everyone else on set, and it costs money.  Even a fifteen minute delay waiting on someone to get out of wardrobe and make-up can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in overtime at the the other end of the day.  It’s instructive that if someone is late to set, it is invariably talent, not a crew person.

From a client who personally auditions and hires talent:

If it is an audition… I’m not that critical… as long as the talent isn’t in a hurry and doesn’t mind losing their place in line (if others auditioning arrived before them). On shoot day (especially when a client is present) being on-time or better yet, a few minutes early is expected. But nothing is worse than an actor who was given a script several days in advance and has not rehearsed their lines!

From a Producer:

Being late is never good not just for talent but any crew or cast member. Talent may be worse if the tardiness slows down the production schedule or causes production to flip things around. Any inefficieny in the shoot usaully hurts the bottom line because it can create overtime which is expensive. I would suggest talent leave extra time to reach locations they are not familar with and being 10 minutes early never hurts. As far as reputation if someone has a legitimate excuse like an auto accident or unavoidable problem then you can find forgiveness but if the person is habitually late it will be a problem unless their talent is so unique they simply can’t be replaced.

From a client who personally auditions and hires talent:

Perhaps nothing is more annoying and more preventable than being late. On a shoot, we’re all dealing with limited time. Everything is planned to fit into the allotted hours we have, with crew starting before and ending after the talent have done their work. If you’re late, you risk sending everyone else into overtime and that bill goes to my client. I may not have the budget room to bill for overtime, so I may have to eat that even thought I was prepared. Know that you’re not the only one who is on the clock. It’s a team.

Next, being late puts you in a hole from the moment you show your face on set. You have no choice but to start you day with an apology and work your way up from there. And if you’re not on the ball with your lines, if your wardrobe selection isn’t quite right, if you’re having a bad hair day, whatever other small thing is going wrong, it’s magnified. . . because you were late. You have to be at your very best performance-wise, which is even more difficult under these circumstances.

If you are late, here are the steps to follow:
1. Call the on-set contact (if you have that number) or call your agent. Let someone know where you are and what’s up. If you’re late, we’re all generally curious as to why, but really all we care about is when you’re going to be on set so we can get our work done.
2. Give a realistic prediction of your ETA. If you’re going to be 25 minutes late, it doesn’t help if you say you’ll be there in 15 minutes. We just get mad at you when twice then, because now you’re late twice.
3. Apologize once, sincerely; then let it go. Apologizing over and over again reminds everyone that you screwed up earlier in the day. You can’t relieve the tension by continuing to bring it up. Allow me to forgive you and get on with the shoot. Something like, “I’m so sorry I’m late. It will never happen again, “ will suffice.
4. Never let it happen again.

Remember, because lots of people want you job, that you are the most replaceable person on set – even at short notice. Don’t abuse the privilege of being a WORKING actor by not respecting everyone else’s time.