Missing an audition can be a hairy situation and the actor will most often avoid confronting the issue or alerting their agent or manager for fear of the response, but not many actors can tell you WHY it's a big deal. So WHY does everyone hype it up when you no show? After all, it's not often that it happens and it's not unreasonable to overlook a mistake, right?
Here's one Casting Director's response to "Why should I never miss an audition?"
Los Angeles CD, Laurie Records says . . . and I quote:
*TRUTH #1: You can’t book a job, if you don’t go to the audition. Yes, yes, yes… I know direct bookings happen. I’ve booked a small handful of actors (in emergency situations) with no audition, over the last five years. But I think we can all agree that isn’t something to bank your career on. If you want to be in a commercial, you have to go to the audition every single time. If you don’t want to be in commercials, focus on your theatrical, voiceover, or hosting career. Whatever it is you value. A half-hearted pursuit at any career is never going to cut it. Success requires research, focus, diligence, evaluation, and showing up every single time. If that’s not the level of pursuit you are interested in, you are wasting time that could be better spent elsewhere.
*TRUTH #2: You can’t get the audition if you aren’t in town. Sometimes dedicated actors feel that as long as they are diligent in booking out, they can leave town at their leisure. You certainly have that option. And, you won’t frustrate too many people (with the possible exception of your agent) as long as you follow protocol. Booked out actors aren’t a part of the no show/cancel list, but let’s be honest. There are plenty of actors who don’t book out so as not to anger their agent, or out of curiosity of what auditions may come in. Either way, what’s your goal? If it’s to build your career, hone your audition skills and book work as an actor, you have to be in town to do that. Where does your acting career (and more specifically, your commercial career) fall on your list of priorities? There is no right or wrong answer, but you owe it to yourself to be honest.
*TRUTH #3: Attend the audition when you are under the weather/not feeling fantastic. I know, I know… I’m asking for it. Use discretion, of course. When a doctor says you are contagious, cancel. If it’s a struggle to last 5 minutes without running the bathroom, I’m not talking to you. But force yourself to go to the audition when you aren’t 100%. Nerves can leave you feeling queasy, and it’s an easy excuse to cancel. Go anyway. A cold or a headache, a hangover(!), being under inspired or having low energy in general shouldn’t keep you from your audition. I’ve heard about and experienced first hand the increased focus required to get through an audition when under the weather actually working to your advantage. It’s entirely possible it will be the time you book. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and go. And avoid touching anyone.
*TRUTH #4: You were picked from 1000’s. It’s a hard sell to say you should attend a commercial audition because it’s not “fair” to the bazillions of actors who would love to have your slot and weren’t selected. Nevertheless, you should know that you were chosen out of the masses, and the casting director wants to see you because they think you can book the job.
TRUTH #5: Online submissions are only getting more sophisticated, making it easier to track flakey actors. Negative reinforcement isn’t my favorite, but it works for some, so I’ll use it. In years past, it was far easier for an actor to skip their commercial audition, and not get “caught”… meaning, the agent wasn’t the wiser, and the CD probably didn’t notice it, or certainly didn’t make a note of it. Those days are virtually gone. There have been more and more improvements in the online casting revolution, and tracking no shows is a breeze. Don’t be known as an actor who cancels or doesn’t show, because immediately, you are the actor who doesn't book (see TRUTH #1) the role, and sooner or later, the one with no auditions.
TRUTH #6: You probably didn’t move here (whatever market you are reading this column from) to pursue a career in commercials. At the very least, we can all agree, it’s a heck of a day job. Pay the commercial process the respect it deserves, or for Pete’s sake, quit complaining about never booking one. When you are fortunate enough to be getting auditions (which means you, your tools and team must all be in order and working to some degree), commit to giving it equal importance to your theatrical audition. That doesn’t necessarily mean preparation time, but importance. You don’t blow off your theatrical auditions, do you? Even if you are a believer that booking a commercial is a numbers game (an idea with which I firmly disagree), you can’t miss commercial auditions and expect to book one. So, figure it out (whatever it is!) and get there.