Like Robin Williams’ famous phrase “Nanu, Nanu” confused American television viewers at first. Industry lingo can be just as confusing to the green talent. (If you aren’t familiar with “Nanu, Nanu”, think of Charlie Brown’s teacher speaking to the kids – completely unintelligible!) To walk the walk, you need to talk the talk -- learning the vocabulary of the talent world is imperative!
The obvious terms are “booking,” which refers to the job at hand or the fact that you have been confirmed (as in “you are booked/you have the booking”). The audition seems to be a generally understood term, as well, referring to the opportunity to try out before anyone is booked. The most confusing terminology seems to be:
This refers to the actual audition for on camera work (and has started being used for modeling go-sees as well) and is frequently done through a Casting Director.
b) call back
The second casting when the director has narrowed down the talent of interest for each role. Directors are sometimes in the call back session to see or work directly with the actors who have been called back.
A talent is put “on hold” or on “1st refusal” when the client is seriously interested in booking the talent, but not ready to solidify the booking. There are many reasons that a client may choose to put a talent “on hold,” including to hold a backup actor should their first choice not be available or to clear up production or budgeting issues before committing to hire a talent. There are many other reasons a talent may be put on hold, depending on the given situation. While on hold, the talent is agreeing to be available to the client (and should not schedule any other commitments) should they choose to confirm the booking.
The agent will release a talent when they have been put on hold should the client choose to not book them. A release does not mean that the talent did anything wrong. It’s a positive situation wherein the client had enough interest to make that talent a top pick for that role/part. In this case, the client is expressing an interest and will likely come back to book the released talent on another production in the future.
e) the cattle call
This term is used when a client or marketing scheme open their doors to the world. Any person anywhere who wants to be a talent can walk in and audition. Do quality clients ever offer cattle calls? Yes, but it’s not usual. Expect to wait in long lines and be in uncomfortable conditions when attending a cattle call.
Of course, there will always be a learning curve, so continue to ask when you hear unfamiliar terms. Learn the new lingo the first time you hear it and you will have smooth sailing navigating the ocean of information around you as talent!