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Respond Immediately

 ClockI got an email recently from a film directing grad student at NYU. It was in response to my submitting my headshot for a project he was doing. He had earned several fairly prestigious awards for past projects and was starting a new one with a budget of roughly $10,000. He wanted to interview me for one of the two principal male roles, and asked if I could send photos and possibly a demo reel.

I was thrilled. Until I looked at the email's sent date: two days prior to when I was reading it. I sent an enthusiastic response with some photos, but I knew I had most likely already lost the opportunity.

Show business, especially film, moves fast. Since two days had already elapsed, all of my competition had probably been interviewed, and one was most likely selected, all before I'd even written an email. I never got a response from the director. The film shoots tomorrow, so I don't expect one either.

I went to a Scott Powers workshop a month or two ago. He talked about the importance of being reachable. He said that casting directors, agents, and other people in showbiz feel a lot more comfortable if, when they get your voicemail, the hear a specific time for how long it will take you to respond. Like five minutes. They said this as if it were no exaggeration, and none of the twenty or thirty actors in the room questioned him.

I personally think that's a little ridiculous. What if you're performing, or watching another one of your friends perform? Are you going to walk out of your best friend's show so you can answer a voicemail within five minutes of being called? And why is your phone on then, anyway?

But the message still stands. People working on, say, a tv commercial might want to cast someone in the morning. They will send out a notice at 10. By noon, they probably already have multiple responses, so if you're responding the next day at 2:30pm, they won't care. They've probably auditioned for the part the afternoon and evening before.

So, check your messages multiple times per day, and respond as fast as you possibly can.

-Joel R. Putnam

image courtesy of Queens University

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Gabriel Voss

So true. One good habit I pulled from my career as a lawyer that has helped me in acting is a fast response time (mostly). The downside (and it is HUGE downside) is that you are constantly, incessantly checking your phone for emails or missed calls. It turns you into one of "those" people. Alas, I don't see a way around it. Sorry to hear you missed out on this opportunity but I'm sure you will have many others.


Yeah, but what about for those who can't afford the data plan for smart phones? I respond as soon as I see an email or voicemail, but I simply can't check my email consistently throughout the day.

This is a crazy business.

Joel R. Putnam

Have you looked at Virgin Mobile? If you can get a used Samsung Intercept off of craigslist or eBay, you can have unlimited web for about $40 a month. $25 a month if you don't use more than 300 minutes of talk time.

I've managed an unlimited text and data plan by using a family plan with T-Mobile and their no-contract option. My portion costs the same or slightly less than I was paying At&t for talk only.

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