Why Do I Need to Have my Sides? – Scams & Vents

Written by | Getting my Career Started

Have you ever been told that you need your sides with you in the audition, even if you’re memorized? Catrine tells you why this is! Another reader writes in to vent about an audition he had and the adjustments he was given.

I went to an audition last week for a movie and I had spent a few days on the role and was completely memorized. I went in, totally ready to audition, and the casting director asked me where my sides were. I told her that they were in my car, and she actually sent me out to the car to get them. I was totally humiliated and it completely threw me off and my audition was terrible. I am furious. Why did she throw me under the bus like that and is there someone I can report it to? – Marianne J., Boston, Massachusetts

Catrine: I’m sorry that your audition was thrown off – how very frustrating. I have to assume from what you said that this was an audition for a SAG project, and if it was, and as strange as it may seem, the Casting Director was in the right to do what she did. Though SAG will rarely check on this, if an actor auditions without their sides being in their hands or in close proximity, the audition is now considered to be a screen test, in which case the actor must be paid. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure that is will save a lot of actors the same humiliation in the future.

There was a casting for a web series that is going to be filmed where I live. When I got the document that showed the characters and the scene to be used, it said (on top of the page) that I would have to perform a one-minute ‘stand-up routine.’ Because I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, I asked my agent for advice. They told every actor they had that went to the audition that what that meant was to do a one-minute comedy monologue. That’s what I did. I memorized something from the old Ellen sitcom. The casting agent chuckled a couple of times, but she also told me that the show was about stand-up comics and she really needed to see a piece of stand-up comedy. I didn’t get a callback, and I wonder if that’s why. I just started acting, so I don’t know much. I will never really trust my agent again. – Alex F., San Diego, California

Catrine: Before I go into your very legitimate vent, allow me to point out that although the term ‘casting agent’ is often used even by industry professionals it doesn’t exist. One is either an agent, a casting director, or a casting associate. Using the term ‘agent’ is somewhat like saying ‘car.’ A car can be a Mercedes-Benz or a Ford Focus – it can be reliable or it can breakdown often. Just like when buying a car, you also need to be careful in vetting agents. The best way to do that is to do Google searches and see if there are warnings about a talent agency, check with the Better Business Bureau, or simply ask around. Don’t let one person’s opinion affect you too much – you don’t know if there is a personal issue at hand. However, if you consistently hear bad – or good – things about a particular agent, you may want to pay attention.

Realize that the agent always has access to the casting director and can clarify anything on the breakdown, if need be. It is inexcusable for an agent to give out wrong information to their talent based on an assumption of what the casting director meant.You, the actor, always needs to be in control of your own career. LEARN about the business – study, study, study, and always trust your gut instinct. If something your agent tells you doesn’t feel right, check into it. I would not recommend changing agents right away if this is a first-time problem, but I would certainly address the issue with them.



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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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