So my fellow B.A.B.E.s it is about time we talked about the magic S words.. Safety, security, sanity!
This is an industry that does have a dark side – casting couch stories and not so nice people masquerading as professional ‘casting directors’, ‘producers’ and ‘directors’. When you are new to the industry (and even when you are more established) you need to make sure that you are adequately in the know about the dirty side to acting so you are never in a bad situation. Trust me when I say I should know. I’ve been there, and I’ve had friends in similar situations.
Rather than paint awful pictures and make you cringe by sharing gory details, I thought it would be better to put together a list of do’s so you won’t find yourself in a predicament you can’t get out of. Remember, it’s all about empowering yourself both professionally and responsibly so you not only in control, but SAFE!
- Safety in numbers: Do feel free to take a friend to auditions with you. They can always sit in the car and read a book, they can hang out in the foyer, or they can mill outside. This isn’t necessary if your audition is at Spotlight or another reputable casting office or studio, but it may be when you are doing independent films and student films, especially when you are going to people’s houses. There’s nothing wrong with having a mate there with you, esp. if they are inconspicuous and not being an obvious distraction to your audition. You can always say “Oh this is Jessica, a fellow actor. She is with me as we have another audition to go to after this”.
- Leave the address and details handy: If you are not sure about the area you are going to, there’s no harm in emailing, texting or writing down the audition details and leaving them with a friend or flatmate. In my early days in London I used to be nervous rocking up to random places in Hackney, East London, West London and even sometimes out of London. I didn’t know my way around London well. I would leave the addresses of where the audition was along with the audition time with my flatmates. They knew I did this to make sure I could always be found.
- Google them: Anytime you aren’t sure about someone, google them. There is so much information available nowadays on the net….more than ever before. And this helps to track people down. Don’t be afraid to use it. IMDB Pro is also a great tool for checking on more well known casting directors. If they are who they say they are, they will be on there. If they aren’t, then you might want to do some more investigative work.
- Equity are your friend: I once had concerns about an audition that I was attending that involved potential nudity in the audition. I contacted equity and asked a bunch of questions and they talked me through it. This is what we pay for – their advice and insight. Don’t be afraid to use Equity if you are a member.
- Take your own water: This might sound like the silliest comment you’ve ever read, but please do take your own water to small independent auditions. An actor was once offered water as she walked into the audition room and that’s the last thing she remembers. Again – this is NOT relevant for all the usual casting director studios, Spotlight or other offices that are recognised audition locations. This is just a precaution when you are going somewhere off the beaten track.
- Do use common sense: Almost all of the time we are our own best judges of safety. Just use your instincts and be sensible. If you don’t feel safe, you probably aren’t. If you don’t want to do something in an audition, then politely decline. There will be future auditions. It’s not the last one ever.
So B.A.B.E.s keep safe and make sure that acting is the wonderful positive experience it should be.