How long can you be held in the waiting room at an audition? Know the legalities involved if you’re kept on a SAG project! Also, a mother writes in to share an acting scam she experienced with her son.
I went on an audition recently where I was kept in the waiting room for what seemed like forever! I got there at 2:45pm and I didn’t leave till 4:00pm. I was so frustrated by the time I finally got into the audition space, I’m sure I blew it. Can they make me wait that long? – Joey M., Omaha NE
ReelGuru.com: That’s part of the frustration of being an actor. Anything can happen. In order to answer this question properly, I have to qualify a few things. Was this a SAG project or was it non-union? If it was a SAG audition, the casting director is not allowed to keep you for more than an hour, or you can be paid for the additional time that you were there by filing a claim with SAG. SAG is getting less and less enthused about helping actors in any sort of legal claim if they are not members of the union. I wouldn’t be surprised if the union would eventually not get involved at all with an actor’s claims about union rules being broken if they are not a member. If the project is non-union, you have no options but to sit and wait until your audition comes around. It is, of course, an option for you to leave, but that will in every way guarantee that you won’t get the part. I want to add here that the long wait COULD and could NOT be the casting director’s fault. There are inconsiderate casting directors, just like there are inconsiderate people in any field. There are certainly casting directors that don’t care about other people’s schedules and don’t mind having cattle calls that seem to waste everyone’s time. However, there are also times when a casting session can get out of hand with the amount of people there for all sorts of reasons: double or triple booking by agents, actors hearing about the audition and coming on their own, etc…Whatever the circumstances are, do your very best to not let them influence your audition. That is your time to shine, use it that way.
Last year, when my son started acting, I got an agent in the town we used to live in. My son was eight years old and had just started acting. I’m a mom, and I’m super proud of my son, but I’m not delusional. The agent and her assistant gave him a little scene to do. I thought it was just OK, to tell you the truth, but certainly nothing spectacular. The agent and her assistant raved about how good he was. They told us that he was SO good, that with a little training, he would be good enough to go to an acting something (I can’t remember what they called it in New York). But, of course, he wasn’t QUITE there – he would need a bit more training, which they could provide for a ‘nominal fee’ of $250. They got my son so hyped up that my husband and I had to take out a loan to pay for this thing. We couldn’t let my son down at this point. Long story short, the whole thing costs us over $6000 by the time we paid for the scam-thing, the flights, the training, the hotel, and the food. The environment was pretty exciting and inspirational – exactly what it was meant to be. But when it came down to it, what did we get? My son got three ‘callbacks’ from casting directors on projects that didn’t even exist. I need to add that most of the ‘casting directors’ actually turned out to be casting assistants out to make some extra money. We were also told by two agencies based out of NY that they would rep my son if we moved to NY. Seriously? We’re going to uproot our whole family for what, at this point, is basically a hobby. I know that other parents came away totally content that their child got praise. To each his own. I thought it was a great big scam. - Lola Q., Columbus, OH
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Last modified: August 12, 2017