by Casting Director, Laurie Records
…pooh-pooh (yes, now I’ve said it twice) the importance of logging/tracking audition details.
Well, if last month’s column on the art of logging audition details didn’t do it for you, this month isn’t going to be any better. I’ll continue to beat that dead horse… or as I prefer to think of it, give you even more intriguing things to track, accompanied by the possibly career enhancing reasons to do so.
Commercial actors should never underestimate the value of logging audition details.
Last month I made my case for logging the following details:
Date— to see patterns in slow/busy times, know if you are indeed in a slump, to calm your fears.
Product— helps to define broad brand type, hair choices, wardrobe.
Casting Director— for building relationships, for agent meetings and thank you’s.
Role— helps to define specific types, inform your headshots.
Description— troubleshooting when you are being called in for the “wrong” and informing the “right.”
Main Photo submitted— helps to analyze headshots, which work and which don’t.
Type of audition— identifying where you excel and where you could brush up on technique.
Wardrobe/hair. There are many commercial myths. One is the casting of a commercial is solely based on one’s looks. I will say this… more and more I’m finding there is a value (or demand, in some cases) placed on the actor’s ability to ACT. Certainly to improv. Fun! It is, however, true, that looks play a role in all commercial booking decisions. Wardrobe and hair (even for men) can work for/against you. Never, I repeat, never underestimate the importance of these two details. Keep track of them and analyze. Color and length of hair. Color and fit of wardrobe. I’d take a photo before each audition, if I were you. See if you can find a pattern of success/failure based on wardrobe and hair choices. This goes without saying, but ditch the failures and do more of what’s working, and specifically per type. It’s an amazing thing to be able to look at what you were doing in a successful time period, vs. what is happening in a slump. Are you doing something different? Possibly not, but wouldn’t it be nice to take that off the list of possible reasons for the slump? Maybe you can see in your audition photos that you’ve gained noteworthy weight. If you booked when you were 15 lbs. lighter (or heavier) you may consider going back to the previous weight. Tracking these details also comes in handy when you are attending sooooo many auditions, you can’t remember how to look for the callback. This does happen. What a fabulous problem to have.
Callbacks/Avails/Bookings. “Math” was talked about in our recent election… and I’m going to bring up that popular but hated M-word again. Knowing your ratio of auditions to callbacks to avails to bookings is really important. If you aren’t getting auditions, you need to analyze your headshots, agent, resume, training and networking. When you are getting the auditions, but rarely get the callback, then you know where the breakdown is happening and you can address it. You have good actor tools, but are doing something that isn’t working in the room. The same goes for getting the callback a decent amount of the time, but not getting the avail. Something is happening in the callback room that is keeping you from moving on. When you are equipped with the facts of percentages, you can identify where things are going right… then wrong. You can spend your time and money on addressing the exact problem based on facts, not potentially misguided feelings.
Workshop/classes. I’d love to think you could remember all the industry professionals you’ve met and where you’ve met them, but I’m pretty sure when you are getting out there and networking as much as you should, you are unable to do that. It never ceases to amaze me how many actors I know and recognize from classes, workshops, speaking engagements, not to mention AUDITIONS who haven’t the foggiest. Hopefully, you remember the big shot industry folks, the ones that regularly call you in, certainly… but the more you can keep track of, the better. When actors submit themselves, I’m a big believer in leaving the CD a note reminding them how you know them. It’s an industry pro’s job to remember you (truly)… but, it’s also your job to remember us, remind us, and keep in touch with us.
And that’s enough. I know logging audition details sounds about as fun as a root canal (no offense to the dentists out there) but at least give it a thought before you chuck the idea out the window. I firmly believe it has the potential to do wonders for you and your career. And now… I’m officially done beating the horse.