“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!”
Sound familiar? That quote is uttered by the White Rabbit in Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland.” The poor bunny is incapable of being on time. And if he were my client, I would drop his furry ass in a New York minute.
Nothing upsets an agent more than actors who are late. (Well, maybe clients who don’t book, but it’s a close call.) I’ve always felt that being constantly late is a passive-aggressive way of stating you don’t give a damn about anyone else and the whole world should accommodate your needs.
Good luck with that.
If you’re meeting with me for representation and you show up late, that’s a red mark against you before we even sit down. And no, I don’t care about excuses. All I’m thinking is, What if we end up working together and you miss a call time? You could be fired or, worse, I might get yelled at. (Just a reminder: It’s always the agent’s fault, even when it’s not.)
My lack of patience with tardiness increases dramatically when the guilty party is one of my clients. Agents work hard to set up auditions, so the least an actor can do is show up on time. I mean, think about it: Don’t you want the casting director to see you with warm, welcoming eyes? The other option is that they’re thinking you’re an idiot for keeping them waiting.
Sometimes, it can be just as bad to show up too early for an audition. Here’s a note one of my favorite casting offices sends out with every appointment: “Please do not arrive early or late. We will not see actors early or late without prior notice.”
As I’m sure you know, a lot of auditions now involve self-tapes. That means I send you the material, you tape the read, and you send me a link that I can pass along to the casting director. I have mixed feelings about this process, but it’s the new norm and I’m not one to tilt at windmills. Anyway, every self-tape call comes with a deadline that clearly states when the audition is due. I don’t choose this time; the casting office does.
When that deadline passes, the portal where I can upload your tape closes. The only way to open it again is for me to call the busy casting office so I can beg for an extension. Sometimes I get one. Sometimes I don’t. Either way, please don’t make your agent do this; we like to save the begging for stuff that really matters.
Over the years, I’ve had clients show up late for photo shoots, network tests, even their own premieres. I guess stars can get away with this sort of behavior, but I’m going to assume you’re not Adam Driver or Daisy Ridley. So please remember that beginners like you who are still finding their way are constantly being judged by their behavior, and if you give someone a reason to dismiss you, they will!
Let’s close with a science lesson. As far as I know, time travel hasn’t been invented yet, so let’s assume actors must abide by the immutable laws of time. In other words: Stop behaving like a fictional rabbit!
This story originally appeared in the Jan. 16 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.
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