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So, here’s the thing with booking out. You have your life to live, but to be considered for the part, you must be available. If you’re not here to work the job, how do you expect to audition or be called in for the job? But, they always say, if you want a job, you better book a trip out of town. Boy is that true.
I’ll never forget when my agent (whom I love and adore and is one of my biggest supporters!) said, “Aw, honey, it’s okay when you book out, but I like it better when you’re here.” I laughed it off, she’s my sweet agent after all who is giving me her honest opinion. Then I started to really think about it. She is a great agent and believes in me so much, that she and all the other agents are working so hard for me, trying to get me in for a job that they think I’m right for, but how do I expect to work, or how do my agents expect me to make them money if I’m not in town to work? They show up for me so I gotta show up, too!
I wish I could travel more. I wish I could just whisk myself off to London or travel for three weeks in Asia or a quick Thursday-Sunday to San Francisco. I really want to do that! Who doesn’t?! But for every book out, even for a three day weekend, I have to realize, I am taking myself out of the equation. Some productions work on weekends, yeah. Not many, but some. It's a full Monday-Friday job, and sometimes Saturdays. It makes me, you (the actor), unavailable. And a lot will argue, you have to experience and travel and see the world, and I want to, so bad! But I also realize what I have sacrificed to be here, how far I have come and I’ve had to pick and choose when I do go out of town. I'm just more thoughtful of what I want to go do, like, weddings! Or sister trips!
When I am booked to go out of town, I can’t complain that I’m not auditioning. For starters, a role has to be available for me to be called in (re: last week’s post), but I can’t be mad if there is a job I’m right for and I’m not being submitted or called in because I am not going to here. I mean, call me crazy… but I’ve found it nearly impossible to be two places at once. That’s when you literally become a flight risk for your agent the moment you start typing the words “booking out”. I cringe and close my eyes every time I start typing that email. I’m not an agent, but I can only imagine it’s an agents worst nightmare. I could ask, but don’t want to stir that pot. ;) It’s like, you’re ghosting. You’re kinda-sorta there, but not.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t do both. I have learned the hard way that I should ALWAYS buy trip insurance. I have made the decision to tell my agent when I’m booking out, but also let them know, “hey, if an opportunity does arise that works for both of us, I am willing to re-schedule my trip or fly days if I book it.” I am definitely open (and it’s worked for me) to be available to change my trip for a booking, not necessarily an audition. For instance, this example: I just went to Vegas with my sisters for the first time during episodic season, which to some sounds crazy (I was very anxious about this). I booked out a Thursday-Sunday and let my agent know I got trip insurance, if anything happened, I was willing to reschedule.
So, of course, I book the trip and I get all the appointments all at the same time, (book a trip book a job!) THANK YOU, BABY JESUS! I auditioned for two shows, got two pins in a day, booked one the next day, then was on hold for the other for over a week. YES. A PIN. FOR OVER A WEEK. No stress. Just going about my everyday normal life… not stressed at all… I knew that the role worked that Thursday I was flying, so the day I auditioned, I pushed my flight to Friday one I got the pin. And I was okay with that, my sisters understood. They thought I was being dramatic, yes, but it’s business. I’m not going to say sadly or unfortunately, but I ended up being released from the pin for a great part on an amazing show. I was so giddy beyond belief, but they went in a different direction, and that’s awesome. I know I booked that room. I booked that casting office, I made an impression on the creators, and they simply said, “we love her but the role is going in a different direction.” FABULOUS! I’m so happy for whoever booked it because she made more sense for their story. (I just saw the episode and they definitely went in a totally different direction that made so much sense for the show.) It just means it was her time! You probably think I’m crazy to be taking such a gamble, but if you want to be a player, you gotta show up. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Did it work out how I hoped? Nope. And that’s okay! It’s just made me available for something else, because there will always be something else!
As far as the holidays right now, things are a bit tricky. I was anticipating things, based on my experience over the past few years, for the week of Thanksgiving to be “slow” and the week of Christmas to be “slow.” Meaning, production shuts down for the week…. well, no, no. Not the case. There seem to be tons of productions that are shooting up until the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, which makes sense. “We’re loosing light people!”
The rest of the world doesn’t get the day off until Thursday or maybe Wednesday and maybe Friday off. Why would our industry be any different? People are so lucky if they get two weeks off during the year in any line of work! They are meeting their deadlines and getting things squared away before the season ends and they need every hour they can get.
I did get trip insurance but have already had to cancel an opportunity after mulling it over. I don’t regret it. It’s a little deflating because you’re trying to do both and you have to choose one or the other. One of my best friends said, “Aly, you can’t live in fear of missing an audition.” Absolutely. You have to go about, and if worse comes to worse, you can always self tape. (More on taping later.)
You might think I’m selfish, one track minded, missing out, sure. I do miss out on a lot being so far away from home, and that’s the sacrifice I’ve made. It’s not easy. I approach this as business. As fun as it is, it's work. A lot of jobs are on the line and a lot of time and coordination goes into making a show or movie, so you always gotta stay up on top of your game.
So, after all of this little big picture lesson (hehe), if you do go out of town, be sure to bring all your equipment with you! I also learned the hard way. I promise you— go out of town, and there will be a self-tape for you. My sister always makes fun of me when I say, “oh, I can just travel with only a carry-on!” Then I think, “no, I have to bring my camera, my mic, this, that, my tripod…” it’s a whole thing. And she rolls her eyes at me thinking I’m being dramatic and I probably am, but I swear, every trip I’ve taken, I’ve had a self tape and voiceover submission to get to.
It’s always going to be a gamble. Nothing is certain in this industry, there are about 239,582,985 different variables that are out of your control, and then sometimes, just sometimes, the most perfect variables line up in your favor. You just have to be available to accept the opportunity.
Book a trip, book a job. It’s my way of tricking the universe. I’m like, I’m going to go live my life and do all these really fun awesome things, and the universe is like, no no! You got work to do. I ain’t mad at it. I call it Princess Problems (thanks LJ!).
I hope this helped you with a little insight as far as booking out for the holidays and booking out during the year. I think it’s an important discussion. Once I tried booking out from Thanksgiving to the New Year, because it’s slow during the end of the year. My rep was like, “…………” I was like, “okay, I wont…” Looking back I realize I was insane and I’m glad (and I’m sure they are, too) that I made myself available a lot more during last holiday season. (I did get a lot of amazing opportunities for pilots that short time I came back.) I want to live my life and I want you to live your life to the fullest of your heart’s content, but you do have to weigh both sides and really evaluate the big picture. This year, I got my flight until early January and am already thinking I might have to change that. Thank goodness for trip insurance! We shall see. Happy Turkey Day week!!! Keep dreaming. Keep scheming. And keep eating that pumpkin pie.