I left on time for my audition. I gave myself time to get there and park. Well, there was so much traffic, I wound up sitting and sitting and at about 16 minutes after I was supposed to be at the audition, my gas light went on. I was trapped in a crawling line and was worried I would run out of gas as I drive an SUV. I turned around and went the other way and actually almost didn’t go to the audition.
I called my agent and told her what was up and that I’d been sitting for 40 minutes in traffic and now I wasn’t sure if I should even go as I was really late. She said I ought to know the area better, but that I couldn’t be held responsible for traffic. I did go, but I felt like a heel! I was auditioning for a teacher role and they were past that and on to the kids by the time I refueled, got back in traffic, and found the place. I was an hour and five minutes late!
Question: to go or not to go in that situation? I read well, but did the tardiness disqualify me already? Is it better just not to show up? That way they don’t see you and they forget. But showing up an hour late and now they have to read an odd particle in the middle of the teens, just seemed like it may have been the wrong thing to do. Sorry for such a long question, but I wanted to give you all the data. Any inside advice?
As for whether they’ve already decided against you due to the fact that you arrived late, that’s really Actor Mind Taffy and you have to let that go. You can do everything wrong, in terms of every Bad Actor List of all time, but if you are the one they want, you’ll book the job. Likewise, you can do everything exactly right and, if you’re not the right fit for the role for whatever reason you couldn’t possibly know, you won’t book. That’s just the way it is. Of course you know all of that.
Let’s talk about the things you can control, in a scenario like the one you detailed in your email to me.
1. Assuming you knew about your audition in advance, having a full tank of gas is a no-brainer. Even if you knew about your audition three hours before you had to be there, gassing up way before you hit the road for the audition was doable.
2. You live and work in Los Angeles. There will always be traffic. It has gotten to the point where I give myself a full two hours (no matter what time of day) to get from the Westside to Hollywood. Of course, I’ve made it from Point A to Point B in 20 minutes on days when everything works, but I’ve also made it with only ten minutes to spare (and that’s my absolute minimum requirement for arrival: ten minutes early and ready to go). Bad traffic is never a good excuse for being late in Los Angeles. Sure, people use it as an excuse all the time, but it’s precisely because we all know how bad traffic is that we should never have to find ourselves late because of it. We should make extra time for traffic no matter what. So what if you arrive an hour early? Use the time to prep, grab a coffee, get an extra errand done, catch up on a phone call you owe someone, write a new scene for your sketch comedy group, whatever!
3. You knew you were going to be late before your gas light went on, right? Did you call your agent then? From the looks of your email, you waited until you were far later than that to call your agent and get her advice. Calling as soon as it was evident you weren’t going to make your appointment time could’ve gotten you a rescheduled appointment, based on what was happening at the session. Your agent could’ve found out that you could go the following day or that they’d already cast the role and that there was no point in having you show up, flustered and late. Keeping people informed in such a situation is a professional courtesy that could’ve worked to your advantage, had you done it sooner.
4. No show/no call is the worst thing to do, in this situation. You mentioned considering not going altogether, and that is an option I know actors face all the time. However, I recall the actors who no-show far more than the ones who come in late to an audition. Actors who arrive late (and after we’ve transitioned to another character in sessions) but are apologetic and patient (willing to wait until we can get them in between other actors who were on time for their appointments) win points with me compared with the actors who simply don’t show up. It is very hard to get another appointment with me, once you’ve no-showed. Sometimes, I don’t even notice that actors were late (and I especially don’t notice or care if they blow me away with their work, once they’re in the room).
Bottom line is, give yourself every possible advantage to succeeding in the audition. That means arriving on time (and not having the stress of running out of gas or getting lost or finding parking or having to overcome a negative impression due to being late) and giving yourself a moment to collect yourself before going into the room to do your best work. Running in frazzled is a swirl of negative energy that everyone senses. It impacts the most important thing you can control: your work.
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Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/000192.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.