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Listen to Your Mother: Dress in Layers

April 27, 2013

The first agent I worked with admonished me never to arrive at his office without several outfit choices, not only in case he disagreed with my selection for the scheduled audition, but also in case during the interim another casting arose for which he could submit me. Considering his office was a two-hour drive from my home, I took his advice to heart and always had at least three outfits in my car when I arrived for my auditions.

Years later, my agent is 15 minutes from my doorstep and communication between agents and talent has changed dramatically with iPhones on everyone’s hip. So, while I don’t necessarily take a change of clothes with me, I frequently make sure I have an extra layer or two in case an additional casting pops up while I’m in my agent’s office, or in case I need to alter my original wardrobe selection for one reason or other.

The other day, this practice served me very well. I had arrived at my agent’s office to audition for an industrial in which I would be wearing a business suit, an executive look. Between the time I left home and the time I signed in at the agency, two more opportunities had arisen, neither of which would be appropriate in a business suit. By dressing in layers, I was able to change my look for each of the three auditions, staying appropriate to the casting requirements for each.

The good news is, I already have a callback for one of those three auditions!

ClaraHarris.EnterprisingActor.Signature

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2013 1:22 pm

    Hi Enterprising Actor, first of all, congratulations on the callbacks! yay! What I most noted in this post though is that you audition at your agent’s office? is this typical in cities outside of NY? I was curious about how that works… it’s very different from here. How does it work?

    • The Enterprising Actor permalink
      April 29, 2013 2:22 pm

      Hi, Granted Actor! And thanks!

      Yes, in the Midwest and Southeast most auditions are at our agent’s office. Atlanta is an anomaly, due I suppose to the large volume of work to be had in Georgia right now, thanks to tax incentives. (If only Tennessee would get on board that clue train. However, some of 42 was shot in my hometown of Chattanooga, TN. But most filming heads east into North Carolina, or south into Georgia or Louisiana.)

      Unfortunately, in the markets where I am, an agent works almost more like a talent directory than an active advocate for a roster of talent. The secret to getting to the advocacy level here is to book work, do well, have the clients love you, and always be easy to get in touch with for last minute calls and requests. I have worked very hard to develop a rock-solid reputation with my agents so that they will advocate for me on jobs. And they do, when they can.

      When I get an initial casting notice, it is most frequently a call to come into the agent’s office, where they have an audition room with rudimentary lighting and a camera. The agent edits and uploads the auditions for the client to view, in fact, sometimes I self-tape and upload my audition to the agency website. For most commercial and industrial auditions, which is the bulk of the work here, that’s it. You get a call from your agent about your availability, are put on hold, and then get a confirmation email or one that releases you from the hold — or you don’t ever hear back. For television and film, the initial audition works the same, but there is usually a series of callbacks at the client’s location. And occasionally the client hosts the auditions.

      While it is easy to hop down to my agent’s office, record a couple of auditions, and head on with the rest of my day, I really prefer when I can get in the room with the client. However, to always be in the room with the client would require that I be available to drive as far north as Detroit, as far south as New Orleans, and all points in between.

      Now, theatre auditions — well, that’s a whole other ball game. Those keep me on the road all the time. All. the. time. If the Teamsters Union offered health insurance based on the number of miles driven in a year, I’d totes qualify.

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