Good news, everyone. I have a client who’s testing on a pilot next week. I’m thrilled, because I just signed the guy a few months ago. His acting teacher talked me into it, and now I’m glad that I listened.
When I’m negotiating a pilot deal, I always use the client’s previous quote as a starting point. If the actor has never tested before, then I have to begin from scratch. That’s harder. But in this case, my client tested two years ago, so I just need to know what those numbers were.
(To be clear, a quote is the amount of money he would’ve been paid for the pilot and series if he’d booked the job.)
This actor is new to my list, so I don’t have any files on his previous test. That means I have to get the quote directly from him. Sadly, he doesn’t have it. The dope didn’t keep a copy of the agreement, and he doesn’t remember the numbers. Thanks to his incompetence, my ability to get him a great deal has been compromised.
I’ve been an agent for over 10 years, and I’m still surprised that actors are so inept at keeping records. Just the other day, I asked a client if she had ever auditioned for a certain casting director. Her response was, “I’m not sure. I don’t think so. But it’s possible.”
All right, gang. The madness stops now. Here’s what I want you to do, and if you listen, you’ll never end up as the subject of one my rants.
I want you to start keeping an Audition Diary.
First, buy a cool little notebook that you can carry to auditions. It can be an expensive Moleskine journal or a cheap spiral notepad. It can also be a digital file that you keep on your device of choice. It doesn’t matter. I just want you to get in the habit of keeping records.
Now I want you to create a one-page entry for every audition. The top half of the page should be devoted to details like the name of the project, the casting director, the type of part, and all the other specifics.
The bottom half is even more important. That’s where you’ll write down your feelings about the audition and the casting director’s response. Make sure you do it immediately afterward, so your memory is fresh. This information will serve you well over a long period of time.
For example, you might look back at your last three auditions and see the exact same note. Maybe you got off to a rocky start and didn’t hit your stride until after the first few lines. When something like that happens once, you’re not really aware of it, but when you see the exact same note repeat itself in your own handwriting, then the issue starts to sink in and that’s the first step toward correcting the problem.
You might also discover that you’ve arrived at your last five auditions with only a few minutes to spare. How’s that for a valuable lesson in time management?
Naturally, if you ever test on a pilot, you’ll follow the exact same procedure, and you will remember to include your quote and all the other major deal points.
It might even make sense to create a second diary that you can use for meetings. Keeping track of your meetings with agents and other industry professionals will provide you with details that will help fine-tune your meeting skills.
Remember, it’s your career, and if you don’t take the time to care about it, how can you expect anyone else to?