September’s Actors Happy Hour! was a great start to the fall season with a lively discussion of Red Flags – what should alert you to problems on set and how you should react. APP-NW member and actor, Elizabeth Zimmerman, regaled us with some scary, some amusing “audition” ads from Craigslist and other sources, and some good sense tips about recognizing when an audition or offer might be too good to be true, or even dangerous. We’ve attached the tips sheets that were the result of Elizabeth’s great research on the subject.
Here are some great tips put forward by our members:
Everyone on a production may be a newbie, but the AD is never new.
Auditions held in hotel rooms are to be avoided. If you must go, take someone with you.
Always let someone know where you are going, and when you expect to be back, especially if the audition or gig doesn’t go through an agent.
Read the whole script before you accept the job so there are no surprises about what you’ll be expected to do.
Raise concerns if the location is changed at the last minute.
Raise concerns if asked to do something that wasn’t in the script you were furnished.
Never be afraid to bring a concern to the AD and work with the production team to solve the issue. If a situation can’t be corrected on set; you can always refuse to participate.
Read your contract before you sign it, no matter how close to shooting it comes to you. If it doesn’t reflect your understanding, don’t sign until you get clarification.
Trust your gut – if you’re prepared, and know your rights and responsibilities, you can trust your instincts.
If the script calls for a scene with sexual content, you are entitled to a blocking rehearsal of the scene so you will know just what to expect when you get in front of the camera. Ask for it.
One of our members, an experienced actor, related a very recent experience on the set of a series where 2 colleagues reported to her that they’d been kissed by another actor in a crowd scene during a scripted black-out. She had to convince these young women that they should report the behavior to the AD. Her story led to a lively discussion about the tendency of younger actors, accustomed to the greater lack of privacy inherent in our lives today via FB, Instagram, etc., to be unaware of what constitutes inappropriate or abusive behavior that is not to be tolerated. That, coupled with a lack of knowledge about what to do in such a situation, timidity and a reluctance to “rock the boat,” points up the importance of knowing your rights and responsibilities before you get on set.
Remember, your career success does not rest on one job. Be prepared; be aware; be sure of your rights and responsibilities.