The holidays are calling. We’re moments away from family reunions, vacations, long weekends, and some well-deserved time off. So, here’s a bit of advice that will keep you in your talent agent’s good graces well past the holidays: if you know the dates you won’t be available for auditions or jobs, be sure to book out.

‘Booking out’ is done throughout the year, not just during the holidays, but any time you know in advance you won’t be free to accept a job. It’s usually done via e-mail or online, depending on your agent’s specific policy preferences. Ideally, let your agents know at least a week or so in advance of the dates that you won’t be available to accept auditions or bookings. Otherwise, your agents will assume you’re available and count on you.

Additionally, if you know you won’t be available for the dates of the shoot or recording session, do not accept the audition. Never audition for anything unless you intend to accept the job. That’s standard professional conduct whether you’re a union talent or not, and regardless of the time of year!

So, the next time you schedule a dentist appointment, do your agents (and yourself) the courtesy of letting them know you won’t be available.

Otherwise, if you don’t take the time to book out, it never fails just like clockwork, a major project will come calling the moment you head out of town. It’s Murphy’s Law.

Certainly, as a voice talent, there are portable recording options, provided, wherever you may be going, you’re absolutely certain you have:

a) A quiet place to record

b) Access to stable Internet service

c) A reliable computer and mic

d) The skills and experience to execute an effective audition or remote recording session

Keep in mind finding a local studio, wherever it is you’re headed, may not be a viable or healthy option today. It’s still far safer (and affordable) to be self-reliant even when you’re out-of-town rather than depend on a nearby studio, even if they swear to you how “clean and safe” it is. (Most recording studios weren’t all that clean prior to the pandemic.) Even if you need to carve out an hour or two out from your planned getaway, keep in mind the fact that the COVID virus is air born, you can’t wash a mic, and you could still unknowingly pass the virus on to others you may be visiting after recording in a studio you had assumed was “safe”.

Sometimes you’re better off simply making yourself scarce.

Just remember one of the reasons your agent appreciates you is the fact they can confidently rely on you being available and ready to work at a moments notice, and you keep them informed when you’re not. This is why they consider you reliable. Are you talented? Of course. Trained? I should hope so. Prepared? Always. Available? Nearly all of the time, unless you have booked out!

If you neglect to book out, you’ll end up making everyone associated with the project miserable, and you might even destroy your professional credibility because you “didn’t think booking out mattered all that much”.

Again, check with your talent agency to determine their preferred booking out policies and procedures, then follow them to the letter. Make sure you put it in writing. That way it’s documented, includes the dates, and done well enough in advance of your departure.

Don’t stop from taking some well deserved down time. It’s vital you ‘feed your read’ by getting out there and living your life to the fullest!

Besides you’ll enjoy yourself that much more if you keep your agents and regular clients in the loop. It’s the professional thing to do.

Copyright © 2021 by Kate McClanaghan. All Rights Reserved.

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