Crazy Business

Hurry up.  Wait.  Hurry up.  Wait.  You get the picture.  How many times have we called an actor to say, “Can you come in right now for an audition??!!”  Behind the scenes, the specs may have changed, new characters added, new information from the client comes in, or a new direction is given.  It all means that we need to reach people quickly and, with fingers crossed, we ask the question- are you available now, in an hour, or first thing tomorrow to come in?  9 times out of 10- the actor says “Yes- I’ll be there!” and we all breathe a huge sigh of relief. 

I was getting my hair cut the other day (I really needed it!) and as I was sitting there I started telling the stylist about a job we were casting at Slate.  As I was talking I was checking voicemails, emails and texts- waiting to hear which actors were wanted for a call back and at what time.  We had been working on a project for several weeks and it was crunch time- the shoot was starting in just a few days and we were casting for a few new roles in Boston.  Actors had been called just hours before the audition time, and we would need to let them know about a call back just a few hours after their audition and the call back would be about 12 hours later.  Then casting would happen within a few more hours and the actor would be on their way to a fitting another 12 hours later.  My hair stylist said to me, “You work in a crazy business!”  Umm, yeah, I guess we do, but….

We kinda love it.  Of course I’m often losing my mind feeling awful that I don’t have information for actors who are trying to schedule their lives just like all the rest of us.  Many times Casting Directors are the messengers (please don’t shoot us!) and we’re delivering info that has gone through our client, our client’s client, and our client’s client’s client.  That’s a lot of people.  We really try to be timely and to help make the process easier for everyone, but sometimes it’s out of our control.  What we do promise is that as soon as we know- the actor will know.  We make sure that happens and Ashley, Aaron and I can’t express how appreciative we all are for actors’ flexibility, patience, professionalism, and commitment to helping make it all work out.  You never cease to amaze us.

I recently worked with an incredible actress who was in the running for a wonderful role.  Circumstances behind the scenes prevented decisions from being made quickly, and things were changing rapidly.  We did our best to keep the actress informed, and I was absolutely feeling sick about how long things were taking and keeping her hanging.  What actually happened will always stay with me.  When I called her, I let her know that things were still happening, but I had no time frame, and if things did happen, they would happen fast.  It would mean completely changing her life for an extended period of time- with little or no advance warning.  That kind of news would make me insane, but instead, she welcomed my call graciously, and professionally.  Letting me know how much she understood how the business worked and she would be ready no matter what happened.  I always feel it’s my responsibility and mission to make actors feel more comfortable, but in this case, this actress was the one to put me at ease.  She could be flexible and she understood.  She got it.  It made me feel like we were all in this together- helping each other out.

How many industries do you know of where you need to completely reschedule, juggle, cancel, arrange and re-arrange at a moment’s notice for the opportunity to do what you love- be an actor.  It is insane.  But, again, we do it, and we honestly enjoy it (most of the time- ha ha).