Agents, managers, and casting directors find it amazing that actors and models so frequently start a conversation with the words "I'm so sorry . . . " Insert any completion to the sentence. We've heard them all!
. . . I haven't checked my email.
. . . I'm not off book (e.g., I didn't memorize my sides).
. . . I'm late. It's the a) traffic; b) I was up really late last night; c) nobody called me; d) my alarm didn't go off; e) I didn't know I had to be on time.
. . . I forgot my a) headshot; b) resume; c) pen to take notes
. . . I'm too busy right now to write down the info. Shoot me an email!
. . . My headshot is still black and white. I've been meaning to . . .
. . . I didn't return your phone call the other day. Can casting still see me?
According to one New York casting director, these excuses send the deal-breaker signal to those who could hire a talent. The industry doesn't hear whining excuses daily -- we hear them hourly. No one with money behind them cares how great a talent looks or how skilled they are if the first thing we hear is multiple reasons why someone isn't up for the job. There is always another option in the talent pool!
So knowing what NOT to do is only half the battle. Should you ever find yourself in a circumstance where you feel compelled to start with an apology, bite your tongue. Apologizing at that point -- after you've already done something blaringly wrong -- will not fix the mistake. Acknowledge your failure and move past it. Choose to hear whatever frustration is shared with you from the inconvenienced professional and then choose to only say, "Yes, I hear you. It won't happen again." After that, you can move on and give them reasons to change their impression (because you'll nail it despite the stress, right?). The words "I'm sorry" have no place in entertainment. After you leave, be sure that you follow through on never letting the mistake happen again -- at all costs. Actions speak louder than words. Make yourself heard through people's experiences working with you and your mouth never has to even open!
In this business, the savvy talent must remember that in order to pursue significant well-paying work, there are NO excuses. Period. The actor who got the job had no excuses. Did you?