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Audition & Casting Tip: Don’t Listen to Your Agent

What? Don’t models and actors always need to do what their agents instruct them to do? Well, yes, generally, but you also have to do MORE.

Tap Dancers

For example, my son had an audition for A Christmas Story, the Musical. He was told to have his song book and prepare a story or joke. I e-mailed his agent and asked if there would be any dance. He replied, “No, only singing and the joke/story.” Now I should know from experience that the lines of communication between casting directors (or clients) and agents are notoriously riddled with static. Someone is always getting the details wrong. So when I was packing Jamie’s bag and hesitated as I looked at his tap shoes in his closet, I should have grabbed them. But I figured I asked and was explicitly told no dance so why add more weight to his bag, which would be loaded up with homework and snacks for the train, plus his songbook and probably Ipad. So off we went sans tap shoes.

When we arrived at the audition, there sat a line of 10 boys, all wearing tap shoes. Panic set in. I explained to the person handling the list that we were told no dance. She was understanding and said Jamie could just tap in sneakers. Great. I called his agent and got the usual, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll talk to them.” Jamie ended up singing, telling his story of how he fell in love with ballet while watching Swan Lake in Retiro Park in Madrid at the age of 3, and then he tapped and did a la seconde turns in sneakers (oh my, that could not have been pretty). He did not explain to the bigwigs at the table that his agent told him there would be no dance. Actors aren’t supposed to make excuses but just say sorry (if they are late, don’t have their lines memorized, are missing their tap shoes…). I’m sure he was teetering on the line between showing good effort despite the circumstances and appearing unprofessional. Good thing he’s 10. He got called back despite the sneaker shuffle ball changes.

The moral of the story: It’s always better to be over-prepared! If your agent says there will be a makeup artist on set, take your makeup kit anyway. If you aren’t told you will be posing in swimwear, don’t assume tan lines are ok and you don’t need to shave (read how I lost $2000 due to tan lines). If you’re told lines don’t need to be memorized, learn them if you have the time. If you are told to bring a few outfits for a background role, bring half your wardrobe.

swimwear model

Stay tuned for a fantastic, informative series of blog posts from Bicoastal Models and learn how to have a lucrative fit modeling career or break into commercial modeling, no size-2 six-foot body required!

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