I had an odd experience at a callback last week.
The casting agency is in a secure building and they have to buzz you in. If you just slip in behind someone else or when someone's going out you may be trapped in the lobby, because the elevator button to your floor only works when you've been officially buzzed in.
This causes endless confusion for first-time visitors, along with all the other confusion that would go along if someone's never been to a this particular (or any) casting agency before.
Anyway, when I got buzzed in the other day, there were three guys standing there in the cramped lobby looking confused. One said, "Are you an actor?" Odd question, I thought. Then one said he recognized me, and I'm racking my brain trying to figure out which audition/job I'd seen him in.
We all piled into the elevator and they were thrilled that the buttons now worked. I explained about the process, figuring they were inexperienced actors, then pointed the way when the rear elevator door opened at our floor and directed them down the hall to the casting agency.
I don't think I was exactly rude. Just a little ... I don't know. Partly confused, partly quiet, partly impatient, maybe a little tiny barely-discernible bit condescending. But definitely not rude.
When we got inside I went to sign in and they were ushered directly into the casting room. Then it hit me. They're the client.
The ironic thing is I have this to say in my book:
Dummy.Practically every director has a story (and maybe it’s the same story passed around) about the actor who didn’t get the job because he was rude to the person at the front desk.
You’re always auditioning. Always. At the sign-in desk (do you treat the receptionist like another human being?), in the waiting room (do you spend your time griping about the process?), even at the bar (do you gossip about people in the business?). Because you never know who’s watching or listening.
Like I said, I wasn't outright rude. But I was certainly more reserved than I would have been had I known who they were. I was a little concerned about it, while also figuring I didn't come across as badly as I thought.
And it turned out I didn't. They put me on hold for the job. Then they released me this afternoon. But clearly they weren't bent out of shape.
But I've got to try not to make that mistake again. Like the book says, we're always on.