First, here are the reasons ad-hoc casting like this is a bad idea:
- I have no infrastructure in place -- ways to reach out to potential actors quickly and easily, other than looking them up, tracking down their photos from Facebook and websites, emailing, etc. So it's not economical.
- I have no leverage over these people, as a talent agent or casting director would have. Nothing other than the simple bonds of friendship. And some of them aren't friends. And some of the friends are really more like contacts.
- When I find strangers, even if through someone I know or a group I'm associated with, I can't be completely sure of their abilities. I try to cast only people I've worked with and am 100% confident in.
- I also have no way (other than a costly, time-intensive interview or calling references) of evaluating their general reliability.
And so my clients found themselves in the situation where one of the three actors I cast arrived two hours late. He overslept. Unbelievable. In almost 10 years of commercial acting I can only recall one instance of an actor falling through like that. And that wasn't even entirely the actor's fault.
I was pretty pissed. I actually saw him across a crowded meeting the other night but then he disappeared when things broke up, so I didn't get a chance to talk to him. I wasn't going to yell at him or get all dramatic. I just wanted to remind him of how I went to bat for him on a couple of key things and how disappointed I was.
Plus the producer already read the kid the proverbial riot act. And they docked his pay because they had to pay the crew overtime. So I feel like he's been pretty well punished. Plus I'll never hire him again on the .0000001% chance I do another casting project.
Here is what I'm grateful for:
- I have an established reputation with the client over many, many years.
- They recognized from the outset that I'm not a professional casting agent.
- They also recognized that hiring a relative stranger without an audition was a risk, but felt it was one worth taking on a simple shoot with no dialogue.
- The other two actors hit it out of the park.
Hopefully the kid will learn from this experience. I know I have.