A Casting Director on What to Do When You Feel Under the Weather

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Photo Source: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Maintaining our health as actors is as much a part of our job as doing our homework, showing up on time, and knowing our lines. Maybe that’s why we delve so deeply into denial when we’re under the weather. We’re conditioned to be game for just about anything most of the time, which can make matters worse. 

So, at what point should you book out? This is a question you might want to ask your agents around this time of year when the weather is likely to add insult to injury. Do they have a litmus test or expectation they care to share? Do they at least have criteria that might shed some light on how to best navigate the possibility of missing any hard-earned auditions or work? 

While it’s a good idea to check with your agent or manager, usually they need and want you to self-assess like a responsible adult when something comes up. After all, it’s ultimately your call because it’s your health, your reputation, and your job to determine whether you should show up on a set or to a recording session based on your fitness to deliver your best. 

The Actor’s Comprehensive Guide to Self-Care

As you assess how you feel, keep in mind that potentially making anyone and everyone you come in contact with sick won’t win you any allies, and ultimately undermines your professionalism. And if you’re in contact with the public and already not feeling well, you may also be susceptible to other illnesses. 

If you feel like you’re coming down with something, please don’t hesitate to see your doctor to ensure you’re not putting others or yourself at risk. You may think you have a cold when in fact it could be the flu. Visit your doctor to be sure you’re treating the right ailment. 

If you have laryngitis, it’s rarely contagious. However, see your doctor as soon as possible to spare others, to save your voice (both short and long-term), and to shorten the duration of your illness. Whispering is not an option when you have laryngitis. It puts undue strain on your vocal cords by overcompensating for your lack of sound. So stick a cork in it, rest up, and sip hot tea with honey to soothe your throat.

How to Stay Healthy During Cold + Flu Season

The bottom line is if you honestly don’t feel well, and you’re convinced you won’t be able to recreate what you did on your initial audition or session, or your auditions aren’t up to your standard professional best, then do the responsible thing, and book out with your agents. If you start to feel under the weather, pay close attention to your symptoms and see a doctor. 

Take care of yourself, get lots of rest, and do your best to stay healthy. It’s the professional thing to do. Your continual mission as a professional talent is to create an exceptional body of work by submitting better and better auditions. If you do, you’ll instill confidence with those most likely to book you and you’ll ultimately gain greater confidence from the experience as well!

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Kate McClanaghan
Kate McClanaghan is a casting director, producer, and founder of both Big House Casting & Audio (Chicago and Los Angeles) and Actors’ Sound Advice. She’s a seasoned industry veteran and actor who has trained actors and produced demos for more than 5,000 performers over her 30 years in the business.
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