Like most businesses, lack of professionalism is a rampant problem in the film industry, at all levels. Most of the horror stories I hear about this problem involve actors - an over-developed sense of entitlement, complete lack of preparation, total disregard for others' time and money, unnecessary drama or whatnot.
Actors haven't cornered the market on this though. I recently experienced a glaring lack of professionalism on the production/casting side of the table at two recent auditions: one for a feature film, one for a commercial.
The Feature Film
The film was an indie feature being cast by the filmmakers themselves (i.e., not by a casting agency) and all roles were paid (which means they had some money and, I thought, experience being professional). After waiting 2 hours past my audition time, I was finally shuttled into the audition room with the director and producers.
The sides provided were part of a conversation among 5 people. When I entered the audition room, I was told one of the filmmakers would be reading with me. Expected. It was late in the day and I guess this person had gotten bored with reading the same several characters over and over, so in the middle of my audition (and without warning), the person decided to skip over all but my cue lines. Not expected.
Now some actors might appreciate that - make it quick, get it over. But I'm in the camp of "acting is reacting" (particularly in a multi-party conversation like this one) and I believe reactions are critical to a solid performance. I felt like half my job had been taken away.
I know this wasn't the filmmakers first time around the block and I know several of them have acting experience. I expected more.
The commercial audition was at a casting agency, one I've been to many, many times. At this particular outfit, the result is almost always the same - hurry up and wait....
Wait times have sometimes exceeded 4 hours. It's almost laughable that they bother giving people audition times. I've talked with several other actors about this agency and they've all had the same experience.
Of course we all get busy, and behind, and have our days, but the regularity with which this occurs at this agency is astounding. To put it in perspective, there are several other agencies that I also regularly audition with, many of which are casting big-budget features and national commercials. You would think this would be an issue at those places. But it isn't. They are all well-oiled machines - not always perfectly on schedule, but certainly respectful of my time. They expect me to be there at a particular time and I am. I expect them to be ready to see me at the appointed time and they are. Why can't this one shop get its act together?
There. I got it out of my system.
What are your audition horror stories? Are there repeat offenders that you dread going to? Do you have favorites who are always professionally run?
(photo courtesy of Getty Images)
-- Gabriel Voss