There's A Reason

“Why?”

It’s a question that we get from actors all the time.  People always want to know WHY: Why didn’t I get called in for that audition? Why did I, a 5’ tall female, get an email looking for a 7’ former football player?  Though there is almost always a good reason behind these why’s, we understand that it’s not always clear to the outside eye. In light of this, I’m here to give you a bit of an inside look into our process and maybe clear up any misconceptions there may be as to WHY we at Slate may do something.

Let’s start with the most common question we get:   WHY did so and so get called in for this audition and I did not?  This is a complex one, and unfortunately the answer isn’t going to please everyone (which, as a serial people pleaser, is hard for me to say).  The first thing we look for when selecting talent for an audition is that they fit the description of type, look, and skillset that the client is asking us to find.  Now, with this comes the follow-up comment “but I am the same type as so and so and I didn’t get called in!” Well that could be for a couple reasons.  It could be because we didn’t think your resume or skillset was exactly what our client was looking for.  We also only have a certain number of spots and we simply cannot call in everybody that fits the description.  Trust me, if we could bring in everyone that was right, we would, but it’s just not always possible.  Our job is to bring in the right amount of the right people for that specific audition.   Screening the pool down for our client helps them pick the best possible actor for their job.  Bringing in 200 people just because they all look the part would only serve to overwhelm the client. We value both our client’s time and the actors’ time; by prepping the pool of people we bring in, we hope to show respect to both.  Having said that, if you feel like you are being overlooked and “so and so” who is your exact match is getting called in all the time and you are not, please reach out. We want to hear from you so we can make sure you are getting your fair chance.  Trust me- we want you to succeed in this industry.  The more successful actors we are able to show to our clients, the better we all look :)

Keeping on the audition train- here’s the next WHY.  I showed up for my audition 1 hour early but had to sit and wait an hour, while others came in and got called right away- WHY?  Simple answer to this one: at Slate Casting we audition talent according to the scheduled times.  If you are scheduled for 10am, our goal is to have you out the door by 10:15.  Now, there are always exceptions- maybe a director has come to the session and is spending more time than we thought with the talent. Occasionally (though we strive hard to prevent this) there is a technical glitch that delays the auditioning process.  But again, we value your time and we appreciate you showing up when you are supposed to- so we try our best to take you at your scheduled audition time.  While we appreciate your eagerness in showing up early, we encourage you to just come a few minutes early for your scheduled time- because that is when we are planning on auditioning you. 

Oh, and speaking of schedules, often times a certain role is scheduled to be auditioned within a certain time frame, even though auditions for the job are going all day.  There is a reason for this too!!  Often times we need to pair you up, put you in groups or set up the scene for a certain role and we want them to all be together- that’s why we ask you to come at a certain time :)

Another big WHY we get is about email blasts, particularly rush calls.  In terms of general email blasts,  WHY do I need to be on your email list if I’m on file with you and you have all my information- won’t you call me when you need me?  Well, YES, we do have your info and will call/email you when we need you, but sometimes we need something outside the box and it needs to be turned around quickly. Sending a general blast is the most efficient way to do this.  We understand it may not apply to you, and we definitely understand that getting irrelevant emails can be annoying ; we are just trying to serve our clients by hitting the greatest amount of people in the quickest way possible. Our suggestion is that, if you get an email that doesn’t apply to you, just send it where email dreams go to die, and stay on the lookout for the email that fits you perfectly. Or, better yet, maybe share the email with a friend that fits the description perfectly (they’ll be so grateful they might take you out to a nice dinner!)

   That leads me to the rush call emails.  I know for a fact that probably every single person that receives a rush call email asks, WHY do they send out an email for when they need someone on set within an hour or something crazy.  Trust me when I say:, We HATE sending those.  And trust me when I say, we would pretty much rather be doing ANYTHING than sending RUSH CALL emails!!  The reason we send those is always one of two things.  The first reason is that someone who was already placed in the scene and scheduled to be there didn’t show up and we need to fill their spot ASAP- meaning production is breathing down our necks to get someone there quickly (like yesterday). They will literally call us every 10 minutes until we get someone there.  (It’s super fun… just ask Molly and Marina- they LOVE handling that ;))  The second reason is because something was added to the schedule out of nowhere and they need us to make it happen.  And that’s what we do; we make it happen.  We send it out, cross our fingers, do a little rush-call dance and hope we get what we need, then take a big sigh of relief when we find the person they need who is only 20 mins away!

There are so many other WHYs we get- I wish I could put them all down, but this blog is already getting long, and, if I haven’t said it yet, we respect your time. So I will stop here.  But if you have more WHYs- shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to give you the reason, because 95% of the time, there is one.  And the other 5% of the time… there just isn’t ;)

Oh I almost forgot a good one!!  WHY do you guys always torture poor Aaron and make fun of him on social media?  The Reason… because you all love it just as much as we do.  It’s too good not to :)

-       Ashley

Giving Thanks to 2017

It’s hard to believe 2018 is right around the corner. I feel like it was just yesterday that Ashley,
Aaron and I were mapping out our plans for 2017 and making our resolutions for the new year.
As I look back at 2017, there is so much to be thankful for… here are some of the highlights!
In 2017, I was thankful for:
- Every actor who arrived at their scheduled time for an audition. Ashley, Aaron and I
have tried so hard to stick to a schedule so that no one has to wait. Amazingly by
keeping to a schedule, sessions run so much smoother and stay on time. Of course
there are always exceptions (and we take full responsibility), but overall, if actors come
at their assigned times, they’ll be in and out before they have to feed their meters!
- Every actor who brings a headshot to their audition. I love it when an actor asks if we
need a headshot at the audition. We’ll let you know if we don’t need one that day. We
often do need your headshot, especially if a client is in the studio. Clients love looking at
headshots- they want to see what you’ve been up to, what special skills you have, who
you’ve worked with. And countless times after a session is over, the client will pin
headshots up on the cork board to mix and match people. You want to be sure you’re
up on the board!
- Every actor who had their very first audition at Slate Casting. Starting out in this
business isn’t easy, but we hope we make it a good experience. When we hear “this is
my first audition,” and the actor nails it- wow, that feels great!
- Nicely done self tapes. We all know it’s so much better when actors are in the studio
with us for an audition, but sometimes that’s just not possible. When an actor sends us
a self tape with a plain background, decent audio, and it’s sent it in time to include with
all the other auditions, we are very thankful!
- All the kids who auditioned and made us laugh! We should really write a book with all
the things that have been said by our littlest actors during auditions. It’s hilarious. It
makes us realize just how fun our jobs are and to see the kids having so much fun makes
it all worth it.
- Bacon.
- All the dogs, cats, horses and bunnies who are now part of our Set Pets Division. Still
waiting for an Alpaca, but I’m sure it won’t be long (anyone have one??).
- All the ‘Real People’ who welcomed Slate into their homes and lives for an opportunity
to be part of a project. We had the most incredible experiences interviewing people
from all walks of life from Boston to Bangor to the Berkshires. Their passion,
enthusiasm and willingness to try something completely out of their comfort zone made
such an impression on all of us. Thank you.
- All our clients who trusted us with their projects. We had a blast working with all of you
on so many interesting projects. Thank you for hiring us and for hiring so many talented
local actors.
- My real family- My hubby Scott, my kids Aedan and Neve, and my pooches Brewster,
Bode and Moseley. They know why I’m thanking them .

- My Slate family- Molly, Marina, George, Eddie, Emily, Floris, Kim, Olivia, and so many
other amazing people who have worked with us behind the scenes. You deserve the
brightest spotlight!
And finally, I’m most thankful for….
- Ashley and Aaron. I don’t have enough space to write how thankful I am for the very
best partners and casting directors in the world.
So, here’s to an amazing 2017 and what I hope will be an even more incredible 2018!
From all of us at Slate Casting, Happy New Year and see you next year!

-Julie

On Headshots

Every day when I get home I eagerly check the mail because, hey, maybe there’s something good in there.  But there never is.  Pretty much the mail brings two things: bills and junk.  Bills are, whatever, they’re bills and they’re important and there is nothing at all fun or interesting or unexpected about them.  I wish I could convince the people who send me junk mail that I have not, nor ever will buy something because they sent me a flyer, but I don’t know who to send that request to and I don’t think they would listen to me anyway.  So it all goes straight into the recycling bin.

It’s not that we don’t get the good stuff anymore, it’s just that we don’t get it on paper.  We have the internet.  I haven’t had a subscription to a magazine since I was a kid.  And outside of birthday cards once a year, I keep in touch with my friends and family via email and text.  I seem to be rather infamous for my lack of interest in social media, but my facebook is my fantasy baseball league, which does, in fact, make me a nerd. 

So, I get it.  We live in the post-paper age.  Everything lives online, on our computers and on our phones.  It makes us more efficient, and it saves trees and resources.  This is all good. 


BUT HOLY CRAP THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE A HEADSHOT ANYMORE!

As an actor you are, at every step, selling yourself, whether it be to directors, casting directors, agents, producers, or ad agencies.  Your headshot and resume is your business card.  It is the first thing somebody like me looks at when deciding whether or not to give you, as opposed to the hundreds of other people out there vying for the same role, the opportunity to audition.

Therefore, if you have not taken the time to create a professional calling card for yourself, then I have no reason to assume that you are taking the time to hone your craft and become, or even continue to be, a good actor.  If your headshot is just a random selfie you printed from your phone, and your resume is in a default format from MS Word, you are not giving me a reason to take you seriously as an actor.

And because there are plenty of people who are taking themselves seriously as actors, you are putting yourself at a crippling disadvantage.  It does not matter how many online profiles you have created, whether they are the database we use or if they are from national casting sites.  A link to your IMDB page does not count. 

I understand that sometimes you can get conflicting signals on whether or not to bring your headshot to an audition.  Very often, in fact more often than not, if you attend a session at Slate we will tell you that we do not need your headshot.   This is because we already have it and, in the interest of reducing paper, we just don’t need it that day. 

However, this does not mean that you don’t have to bring your headshot to every single audition you attend, whether it is at Slate or somewhere else.  Because, often we do need it!  There could be any number of reasons why, but the main one is because our clients are in the room.  And clients like headshots!

It happens every session.  The director will be in the room.  We bring an actor in, ask for their headshot, the client reaches up expectantly and…. “oh, I didn’t know I needed it today,” or “you have it on file.”  And what does the director do every single time?  They sigh and roll their eyes.   

This is not a good look. 

Just because I have your headshot on file does not mean I have it in my hand.  And I don’t have the time in that moment to run into my office and flip through a folder or print it out.  And even if I do print it out for you, now your headshot is a crappy printout in a stack of nice, neat, professionally printed headshots.  Are you giving the director a reason to take you seriously?

It’s impossible to know at which auditions you will need your headshot.  Therefore, always bring your headshot.  It costs you nothing to throw it in your bag.  If we say we don’t need it, then you just saved a little money and will have it ready for the next one.  And you will look like someone who knows what they are doing. 

A few more thoughts on headshots and resumes:

1.      Headshots should be in color and they should show you as you look today, within reason.  No need to get a new headshot every time your hair grows a couple of inches, but if you radically change your look, or you’re 15 years older than you were in the shot, it’s time for a new one.

2.     Headshots are 8x10.  If you print your headshots yourself (which is fine!) please take the time to cut them down to the standard size.  This includes your resume.  Nothing screams lazy like an 8x10 photo stapled to an 8x11 resume.

3.     STAPLE YOUR RESUME BEFORE YOU COME TO THE AUDITION!  If you hand me a photo and resume that aren’t stapled together, it’s as if you’re saying, “you staple this.”

Aaron