As with any job, frustration is a big part of show business.
Being an agent comes with many frustrations, but one of the most under-the-radar frustrations is when a client forgets to book out.
Booking out is when you tell your representation that you’re unavailable to work or attend auditions on certain days.
Your agent and manager are working around the clock to find you the perfect auditions. They are networking, texting, emailing and have two phones in their ears at the same time.
Each agency only gets a certain amount of slots for auditions so if you’re not booked out, that means at a moment’s notice you may receive a call for an audition.
Imagine the impact on your rep when they choose you for a slot and you tell them, “Oops. I forgot to book out.”
Sometimes life is so crazy you just haven’t had a moment to email your agent and you plan to do so just as soon as you hit that red light.
But if Murphy’s Law kicks in and you get that audition phone call before you have a chance to send the book out email, then oops!
Most agents will let one or two “oops” slide, but if you’re a repeat offender, you’reeeeeee out! There are plenty of people waiting in line to replace you.
Carol Lynn Sher, commercial and print youth agent at CESD, says, “If you have finally broken through to the Casting Director and they ask you to pitch your top choice, and your top choice tells you they’re at Comic-Con, and they didn’t realize they should book out because ‘it’s been slow’ so they just left, you feel like you can’t deliver for your CD.”
Carol Lynn continues, “I think sometimes actors don’t book out on purpose because they want the agent to believe that they were available the whole time and just playing the odds. So it’s never their fault.”
An important item to note is if you’re available for an audition, be sure to find out when the actual job will take place. If there’s a conflict with your book out dates, you should not accept the audition. It may make you cringe to say “no” (because we all know that the more times you say “no”, the less calls you’ll receive for auditions) — but saying “no” is better than taking the audition, getting the job and then turning it down. Ouch!
Agency database software has an area for book outs but sometimes your rep needs an answer from you so fast, that they don’t even have a minute to check your previously sent book out dates, so don’t be alarmed if they send you an audition inquiry for a booked out date.
Kindly “remind” them that you’re booked out and ask if there’s another date you could audition, or perhaps do a self-tape. You’d be surprised that sometimes it can be worked out!
Bottom line is that, as professional actors, you need to be considerate of your agent and manager’s time. This is not a game, this is a career. Be responsible and by all means, enjoy everything that comes along with your choice as an actor.