April 15, 2013

Sometimes, It's Okay To Say 'Yes'

About six weeks ago, I went in for a co-star role on a popular show and got a producer's callback. I didn't even want to audition for the part because I'm trying to get away from co-star roles, but it was a great opportunity to meet and audition for a pretty great casting director. I didn't book the part, but I did get the obligatory "They loved you...but decided to go in a different direction..." explanation. Okay, fine. I've heard that plenty of times before and it almost doesn't suck anymore. Almost.

Anyway, the producers needed to fill two principal roles in the same scene that have no lines. They decided to book a couple of girls that had auditioned for the other part, but weren't right for the role. Guess who they called? Me!

I'm going to be very honest, I was frustrated by this. Doing a part with no lines is of no help to me right now. I need great credits or if it's a small credit, I need the footage to be great. I also felt as though I would feel like an extra being on set and not getting to provide even the slightest vocal performance. To many people, no lines = background. You guys know how I feel about background work and I'm not ashamed of it. Obviously, background is important to any production and I'm not trying to diminish their role, but I've done background before and I just don't like it. It made me feel insignificant. So, I initially said no to my manager when he called with the offer.

I was being prideful. It felt like a step backward and anyone who is in this business knows that you have to slowly climb your way up the ladder toward success. Every little victory takes So. Much. Effort. I'm still so far away from where I want to be, but I never want to feel like I'm regressing. That's what this felt like.

I then called my husband and close friend to weigh the pros and cons. I knew what they were going to say and I was not disappointed. Both of them told me to swallow my pride. For one, I WAS being booked as a principal and would still have all of the little perks of being a principal. I mean, as many perks as you get at the co-star level, haha. BUT, things that I feel that I've earned at this point. I was also being offered my day quote, which, up to this point, I had been unable to secure. My last TV job before this, 'Made In Jersey', turned down my quote due to them being a new show. So this means I get to earn more than scale for doing what's essentially a pretty easy job. Not to mention, moving across the country does a number on your finances. The paycheck would help a great deal.

My manager also stressed to me that I would be doing both the casting office and producers a favor because otherwise, they would have to hold a new casting session to fill the role. They wanted professional actors for the part because we would be working closely with the stars of the show.

So, I accepted the offer on the condition that it would not negatively impact my ability to audition for guest star roles on the show. In case some of you don't know this, when you book a role on a show, even the smallest co-star, it's unlikely that you will work on that show again unless your character is expanded, or enough time has passed that you wouldn't be recognized in a new role. The producers agreed to book me with no screen credit and my team and I decided not to list the credit on my resume.

It turns out that all of the "negotiating" and trying to remain under the radar was pointless because the show is airing VERY soon and I'm HIGHLY visible in the promo. Oh, and I ended up being credited for the episode anyway.

What this whole thing taught me is that you have to look at all of the angles in a situation and figure out of you can work it in your favor. My main reason for taking the job was for the money and I'm SO glad that I did because my original shoot date had to be rescheduled and because of my contract, I had to be paid for that day, even though I didn't work. So, I got double pay for one days work. I also had a great time on set and met some wonderful people.

I also learned that I've begun to care more about what other people think than I had initially thought. I needed to squash that feeling because the opinions of others, especially strangers, CANNOT be even the smallest driving force in my decision making.

So, you may have guessed at this point that I'm not going to name the show. To be honest, I'm not even sure if I should be posting all of this information. But, if you reeeaaaallly want to know what it is, it's not that hard to find out, just please don't comment on it or email me about it.

More good news is that I've already been brought back for a guest star audition for the show. Only time will tell if I can actually book something else on it.

UPDATE: I was able to have the credit removed from my IMDB page. I don't remember if my name was credited in the episode.

************************************

Thanks for reading! My next post will be about the power in saying 'No'.

7 comments:

  1. Dont sweat it, also you need the money which is a good helper. You are in the guest star territory so they will happen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What kind of principle role does nonspeaking, that doesnt make any sense! You have a good resume though - very meaty lol. Expect to see you doing series regulars soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Ryan!

    Casey, actually it makes perfect sense and is more common than you think. I explained in my post why the producers booked us as principals, "They wanted professional actors for the part because we would be working closely with the stars of the show." My role involved a lot of touching on one of the stars. The producers aren't going to just pull someone up from background to do that, they are going to make sure that the person hired knows what they're doing. Thanks for commenting!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thats true, hey I got a question. I am doing short films right now, and I think I got a good reel. What do I do next? Like how can I start getting paid work and tv work. I feel stuck.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm guessing your next step would be to find representation? I'm guessing you don't have one?

    The bigger point is that if you want to start getting paid for your work, you need stop working for free. Commit to moving up to the next level, even if you're only making $30 for your work, it's better than doing it for free.

    Having a reel is a great advantage when submitting yourself for projects on Actors Access. A lot of people don't know this, but actors that have video footage attached to their submissions are bumped to the top of the pile. Meaning, you're going to be one of the first people that the casting director sees.

    You should be able to get some paid work on your own, but legitimate tv work is something that you can really only get with an agent assisting you. There are exceptions though.

    But, please make sure that your reel is good. Many times, people think that their footage is better than it really is. Trust me, I've made that mistake too. Get multiple opinions on the work and try to view your footage objectively.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm learning so much! Thanks for the update :)

    ReplyDelete