As you all know by now (either from experience, or because I’ve said it a million times,) pilot season is wild.
Things move SO quickly, and sometimes Casting will say or do something that makes zero sense to you, but because you have five other auditions to prep, you roll with it without ever getting clarification.
Here are a (very) few of the weirder terms and experiences you might encounter this pilot season, and what they could mean for you:
1. You’re “Going on tape with Casting, for prods,” or “On tape for prods,” or “With Casting, on tape,” et al.
Each office has a different way of describing this kind of session, but generally speaking, it means that you will be in the room with at least one member of the Casting team and you will be taped. Unless otherwise mentioned, assume neither producers nor director will be present. This often corresponds to…
2. “We’re doing everything off tape.”
Pilot season moves QUICKLY. If a pilot was picked up later, or if it shoots out of town, or there’s script work to be done, or a seven-hour location scout, or… there could be a million reasons why the producers would prefer to watch all of the auditions off of tape. (I haven’t had a true “producer session” since 2014!) If that’s the case, there will be no such thing as pre-reads or producer sessions, everything will just be with Casting and a camera. (Gives all of you self-tapers an equal chance!) It is possible that either the director and/or producers will want to be in the room with some of the final selections at the end, but assume that if you want to be in the mix, you’ll be going in to read with just Casting.
3. “He/She/They have been sent to producers.”
This simply means that your tape(s) have been sent in a link to our producers/director for them to view, and we are awaiting their feedback. It also means that out of a gazillion reads, the Casting team is highlighting your audition. Thumbs up.
Casting and/or prods saw you and LOVED you. But it’s too early for them to do anything about this particular role, so Casting “pins” you. All this means is that Casting wants to keep tabs on you. They don’t want to lose you to another show/production without knowing when a potential conflict comes up.
- A pin is not necessarily the final step before a test or offer. You could be pinned after your first audition, but then have to go in again for a callback (or two), or chemistry read. A pin is a good thing, but it is by no means a guarantee of a booking.
5. Casting wants to read you, again… for the third time.
Are there new sides? Are there different people in the room? Is there a particular note? Sometimes these variables change, and sometimes Casting is just championing the hell out of you so that the producers will agree to put you in the mix. Which leads us to…
6. You’re in “the mix.”
Casting loves you, producers and/or director dig you, but they are not ready to start a test deal, so you are in the mix. This essentially means that you are on a short list of favorites for that particular role. At any point, you can fall out of the mix, but being in it is a big positive. (This could also refer to being considered, as in, “if they want to be in the mix, they need to make their appointment today, otherwise we’re out of time.”)
This means that there are four actors who the creatives (producers/director/Casting) have selected to make deals with, to show to the studio/network, as their final choices for that particular role. Way to go! However, it is possible that the studio/network choose none of you, so don’t start calculating your odds based on the number of people you’re testing against.
8. It’s noon and Casting wants to read you today at 3pm.
We’re out of time, and we’re hoping you’re our Hail Mary. We don’t expect you to be totally memorized, but we do expect you to make it in and have a good attitude.
9. You’re a comedy person, and Casting wants to read you for a drama.
We know you’re funny. We don’t want you to turn that totally off. Your timing and humor is what makes you interesting and different for this role. It might not always work, but if Casting is game to try, show up with confidence.
10. We’re out of time for immigration.
If you are a non-American actor, you will know what this means. The show is shooting in the US and we need a certain amount of time to get a visa for foreign actors. If you are non-American and don’t already have a greencard or a valid 01 visa, because we have to sponsor your work papers, we will only be able to consider you up to a certain date before that role shoots.
11. Casting is just making lists for that character.
The role is likely to be offered out. That said, there have been many times where the plan was to make an offer, but after seeing a few auditions, Casting/the producers find someone who just NAILED the read. If you get called in for a role that you’ve been told is “probably going to be offered out,” don’t assume it’s a waste of time. Casting wants to see you because they believe you have a strong shot of winning it in the room.