I was headed to an awards ceremony that would honor my husband’s work in the community when I received a text from my agent. ( Sidenote: For those who don’t know, I’m an actor. The agent in this case is my commercial representation) “I’m working with a direct client wondering if you’re available tomorrow for a possible booking”. Exciting! I had an in-house audition that day after not having one for several months and now this, double exciting…except…I was already ” booked” tomorrow. I had agreed to babysit a for a friend. This wasn’t a free thing. Babysitting is one of my side-hustles for extra income. As a mother , I KNOW how hard it can be to have someone cancel on you last minute when it comes to babysitting. I had already given my word to my friend and I didn’t want to be that mother that let another mother down sooooo … I replied that I was, unfortunately unavailable.
I still mourn that decision which is probably why it’s taken so long to write this post. The way that direct bookings work is there’s a possibility of booking you on your look alone. Let’s say a client needs 2 women for the job , but there are 10 women who they like based on a head shot. They send out feelers to the agent and say, we like these 10 women, can you check their availability for tomorrow from 8am-noon? Out of those 10 women, perhaps 8 of them are available. Out of the 8, they choose 2, ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom. The 2 show up to set next day, film and eats snacks and somewhere between 30-90 days get paid enough to cover rent for one to several months.
Is it possible that I could have said that I was available and still not booked the job? Absolutely. Were the odds stacked in my favor ? Yep, based on the numbers alone. Auditions can have upwards of 40-50 people called in for one role versus the smaller numbers in direct bookings.
Hindsight is indeed 20/20. I should have simply sent a text to my friend to say, ” Hey, there’s a possibility that I will be doing a non-union commercial for a major retailer tomorrow. This would mean that I could only watch the kids from 8am-12pm. Nothing is confirmed yet, but I simply want to be available for this opportunity. I will let you know as soon as I find out more information, but can you please have someone on standby?” You know what the friend would have probably said? ” Oh my gosh, that’s awesome! I know this is an exciting opportunity for you and your family. Let me know when you find out more, but I will have someone on back-up just in case. I hope you book it!” End Scene.
I am constantly learning the lesson of choosing what’s right for me over helping someone else. I feel the most empowered in my decision making when I set boundaries. This lesson stings just a little bit more because of Granny. Maybe this was the big news she had for me or maybe it’s something even bigger. Sorry Granny, next time I won’t “drop the call”. In the meantime, I’m just searching for a lil’ more grace and forgiveness for myself.
Have you chosen doing what’s right for someone else over doing what’s right for you? How did that decision affect you in the long run? I want to hear from you in the comments below!