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I'm on Hold! When can I breathe again?!

You've been waiting for what hopefully will be good news forEVER!!

When the heck can you Breathe again?! Here's what happens between being put on Hold and Booking the job.

YASSSSS!!! You had your callback and it felt Good! You were in the zone, reactions from the Director and Agency were positive, everyone was smiling and you had a little pep in your step when you left the room! And you Know you did a great job because you Got Put on Hold!! YA baby! But the big question is always…what happens now??

Knowing how it all works may help to settle your nerves when you are eagerly awaiting!

First a little background. While the callbacks are happening, the director and agency are taking notes. They are deciding in real time who is a No and who is a Maybe. At the end of the session they will have a stack of choices - often with notes attached ie: “loved the energy”, “great smile!”, “would he shave?”, “maybe try for husband role as well?”. These notes will usually be made directly on your headsheet and will help to remind them of what you looked like and what was special about you.

There is usually more than one spot per commercial project. There will be a very clear vision of how the actors in each spot should look and ‘be’. They will have a wish list for the age, ethnicity, energy level, and acting ability as well as any skills required. The team will then pull from the maybe piles and build a selection of talent for each spot. Usually labeled something like 1st Choice, 2nd Choice, 3rd Choice, Backup. The callback auditions are often reviewed multiple times before choosing the selected few. There is a lot of mixing and matching, and minds will most likely change a few times. They may be trying to build a family and so need to find a mom & dad and kids that look like they could actually be a real family. They could also be putting together a believable couple, office workers with interesting cross demographics, or actors with special skills that meet the requirements for a specific spot. It’s tough going! Everyone will have their favorites and will fight for them – but the fit has to be just right and everyone has to agree.

It can be the littlest thing that will get someone added to the choices or ultimately eliminated. What kind of things? They may LOVE one actor as the ‘husband’ and have a choice between two ‘wives’ to make the husband and wife couple. But one of the ‘wife’ choices is taller than the 'husband' they love and that wouldn’t fit the vision, or they are trying to put together a mixed race couple and one of the ‘wives’ may be the same race as the ‘husband’ which wouldn’t work either.

Once the team has made their top selects for each spot, those selects are uploaded to a link and presented to the client for Final approval.

At this point, casting gets in touch with the talent agents and the selected actors are put On Hold (First Refusal) for the shoot dates. Your agent will then call you to let you know you are on hold. Give yourself a big pat on the back…you are one of the chosen few! Please make sure at this point to change Nothing about your appearance, and make sure you are clear on those shoot dates!

Sometimes, we will share with the talent agent if the actor is 1st choice or not, but not always! We know that 1st choice can become a no go and ‘back ups’ can become 1st choice in the blink of an eye! So we usually try to keep it as a simple hold until we hear back on how the client felt about the choices. (Don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up only to dash them to the ground if we don’t have to! It’s tough enough already!) In order to gauge how long it will take for them to make a decision you can take a look at when the shoot dates are. Usually it’s a pretty quick turnaround, within a week of the callback. If you reach shoot day and you haven’t heard anything, you can be pretty confident that you didn’t book the spot. BUT…sometimes, if there are many spots to be shot, deciding on talent to book will still be in the works at the same time they are shooting. So, if the shoot dates spread over a few days, you may still be in the running!

Things can really get down to the wire during the selection process and small changes in the selection of hopefuls may happen. The client may not agree with the suggested talent put forward and everyone will have to go back to the drawing board and review the callback session, sometimes even going back as far as reviewing the original auditions to find the talent the client will like. We may find ourselves doing additional casting. This is our opportunity to bring those in who weren’t available for the first audition, or who we wanted to bring in but didn’t have time, as well as bring in new talent! The goal is Always to find our client actors that they Love!

The callback process will be repeated until our client is happy with the choices offered and gives us the go ahead to book talent. YASSSS! Such a good feeling! A reminder that you will probably remain on hold during this whole process. Now that you know how much is not only out of your control, but also quite often not even about you, you can let your shoulders drop and gently await the outcome. Well, as gently as you can muster - I understand your pain!

As soon as we get those eagerly anticipated names we are in touch with your agent and Book you! Your agent will reach out to you to deliver this fabulous news.

Getting booked is a blend of your talent and kismet and it feels terrific! Yay YOU!

We make an effort to release all remaining talent on hold as soon as we get confirmed bookings. We appreciate that you have lives to lead as well as other roles you may be on hold for. Plus, we want you to get back to Breathing Again!

Does understanding the process help you with your expectations?

Is there anything else you’d like to know about the process?

Please leave your questions in the comments, I absolutely Love hearing from you!


Our next fabulous workshops are on Sun, Feb 27 and are filling up fast. Here are the links if you plan on joining us, and of course I hope you do!

Here is the latest testimonial from talent agent Carmen Vars of Vancouver Model and Talent Management. A subsidiary of the prestigious John Casablancas and a supplier of top talent to Vancouver Casting for decades, we are so grateful for their high recommend!

For those of you patiently waiting for LEVEL 3, we have a date! It'll be on Sunday, March 20th, so please mark it on your calendar. I haven't been this excited about a workshop for Eons!

It's so damn Good! Look forward to details within the next week. :)

Keep the faith! Love

deb ps. Are you following me on instagram? Please do.

More inspiration covering a wider life, because we are more than just actors! <3

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