If we’re all being honest, we’ve all been late in our lives more than a few times – late to work, late to bed and late to an appointment, but if we want to adopt a professional attitude being late when it comes to any aspect of performing is a big no no – here’s why…
An obvious one – and one of the main reasons why performers miss out on castings… You’ve seen the performer call-out – in fact, you saw it weeks ago – and you haven’t got your shit together to apply until now because other things (like looking at shoes on ebay, dreaming of fame and rhinestoning) have taken priority… And now you are applying right on the deadline or after the deadline has past in the vain hope that your blinding acts and carefully branded CV will catch the producer unawares and they’ll forget their own deadline just to have you on the line-up… Well, here’s what a producer thinks when they get a late application: “Late applying? They’ve seen the deadline and haven’t got their shit together to apply in time. Either they don’t care about my deadline rules, they can’t get their shit together so will be flaky if I book them or they are totally unreliable”. And here’s what a producer does *email straight in the trash without looking at the content*
If you want to fight the hundreds of other performers all vying for that casting, apply on time.
Late sending a reply of a show offer
So you’ve applied to a show – either by replying to a casting or by sending an email to a producer and they have been impressed. In fact, so impressed they’ve offered you the slot. They are expecting a reply but unfortunately their email has been sitting in your inbox while you’ve emailed all your friends and updated Facebook with a selfie showing how excited you are about the show offer. But there’s a big thing missing in this whole picture. Yes, that email that’s been sitting in your inbox. You’ve not replied. You’ve not graciously accepted and confirmed you would love to perform at the show. It’s now days/weeks later and guess what? The producer has thought you don’t care about their show, the slot or the deal they’ve offered you and has booked another performer who has literally bitten their hand off to accept, returning their email like lightening. And you’ve now lost the booking. Cue facebook un-smiley-face status update.
Late sending requested info
Producers are often on tight deadlines themselves – they have booking deadlines, marketing deadlines, tech deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, deadlines coming out of their ears. They love working to deadlines because they are people who thrive under pressure and excitement (which is why they put on shows!) So when a producer asks you for marketing material such as a short bio or images, it is because they need you to send them immediately. Because they then need to create posters, press releases, online marketing and send them to others who have deadlines too – such as the local or national media. Send your marketing materials on time!
Late sending back tech sheets
One of a producer’s main bug-bears is performers not returning their tech information. And yes, some producers will knock a performer off the bill if they’ve not received the information when they’ve asked for it (I’ve seen this done many times!). The technical information is for many people – the lighting and sound techs, the comper and also the stage maid or manager. All this information has to be gathered and arranged on seperate sheets (it doesn’t just stay in the format of the form you fill in – there’s seperate charts for lights, sound and the comper gets the details set out in the running order). All this takes time – a lot of time – to sort out. If a performer fails to send the information back on time, then they not only hold up the producer who is organising all this information, they hold up the venue staff and other show staff. Similarly, if you only fill in some of the information on your tech sheet and leave your cues blank, or act/performer details blank, then the producer then has to chase you for the information (which then starts to annoy you, the performer). All this chasing takes time and is incredibly annoying for producers (and believe us, again, when we say we’ve seen performers dropped off shows for not providing all the information requested). The same goes for music if required to send it before the show. Send everything in a timely manor, right away and the producer will love you!
Late to the show
There are instances where running late to a show can’t be avoided – train/coach problems, motorway problems, etc. And generally, if this happens, and it is not your fault then really, there’s nothing you can do about it. In this case, let the producer know as early as possible so arrangements can be made to tech others before you/tech for you/arrange a pick up if you need one. But if you continually run late for shows because you booked a later train, over slept or were doing something incredibly important at home (like buying those shoes on ebay), arriving late for a show is unacceptable. Arriving late for a show holds everyone up – technicians, front of house staff, doors, audiences and can have a knock-on effect of a show running late and the producer being fined for running over their hire conditions. Yes, it’s that serious.
Late to tech
So you’re in the dressing room catching up on the latest gossip – we all know this one! Perhaps there’a a performer you’ve not seen for ages and you’re catching up with them when you’re called to tech. The right thing to do is go immediately. You really don’t want to be that person who says, ‘Yeah, in a minute’ and holds up all the tech runs – see knock on effect above…
Late on stage
An ideal time to arrive in the wings is the performer before – not only will you get to see their act (definitely a bonus) but you will be in that state of readiness when the comper introduces you, and you will be ready to hit the stage. A good place not to be is in the dressing room frantically trying to wrestle on your costume because you were signing autographs and being showered with fans in the interval when you could have been getting ready or applying another layer of make-up or casually hanging out somewhere that you can’t be found. If the stage manager has to come and find you, that’s a bad sign… Be stage side and be ready… Being late on stage looks unprofessional and looks to the producer that you care more about backstage or gossiping than their show that you’re being paid to do and the audience who have paid to see you perform.
Late in your own act
Again, another one that each of us have had the misfortune to experience at some time in our performing career – being late for cues in our own act. Sometimes unexpected things happen like a piece of costume doesn’t behave itself, an audience member interacts with you longer than you anticipated or (hope this doesn’t happen often!) you fall on stage. All this can add up to accidentally missing the cues in your act. But if you rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, even if you know the act like the back of your hand, you will easily get back on track. In fact, you should always rehearse as if you miss the cues in your own act for any other reason, that shows you’ve not rehearsed enough!
Late leaving the venue
So the show is over, it’s been a success! You loved the audience and they loved you right back! If it’s not a show where hanging out after is possible (we love a ‘hanging out after, drinking cava, showering in left-over glitter and congratulating ourselves-type show) then the best thing to do is pack up in a timely way. Sometimes theatres fine producers for extra time in the building and the last thing they want is performers having a lock-in backstage. If venue staff are hovering, looking at watches, you know it’s time to get out.
Late paying invoices
A lot of producers will pay performers on the night as the payment is resolved there and then, but there are producers who prefer not to carry large sums of cash to a venue and will pay a performer by bacs – ie straight into the bank account, which is also great news for you, the performer, as you don’t have to walk about with loads of cash on your person. So you, the performer, have invoiced as soon as you’ve returned from the show and it’s over a couple of weeks later… Most producers will tell you when they will pay you – sometimes it’s days after a show, sometimes it’s when a theatre pays them for the show and they will in turn pay you as soon as this happens. If you’ve not got any indication of when payment is likely and it’s been literally over a month of waiting, drop them a polite email. You’ve done your bit by performing, they must now do theirs by paying you as quick as they can.
To sum up…
Don’t be late! Lateness gets you a reputation and you could lose shows because of it! Producers, do your bit too! Don’t be late for your own shows, or a late payer. In general, everyone! Be professional and punctual!