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Foul Acting Audition continues...

On the day of this particular audition, I ran into a girl (young woman) with whom I had taken an acting class. She was leaving as I was arriving. I asked her how the audition went and she said that she no longer wanted to audition. When I asked her why not, she told me that they were asking people to sign a release form for the use of the audition tapes as well as the actor’s "life story." That sounded very peculiar. She handed me the form and told me I could have it, because she didn’t need it anymore. I thanked her and read the form. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

It basically said the actor grants their production company permission to use the film of the actor taken in an audition situation in any way they choose and that the actor’s image could be freely used in association with different types of programming. In addition, by signing this release form, the actor gives all power to this production company and exempts them from any legal action that might result from the materials provided (the tape) from this audition. The production company also said it had the right to delve into the actor’s personal life story and use that information for the programming.

I then saw another girl come downstairs. She immediately pulled out her cell phone. I couldn’t help but overhear part of the conversation. It sounded like she was on the phone with her father, telling him that she just got out of the audition but that she didn’t stay because they asked her to sign a release form. I talked to her after she got off the phone and she was relieved. Her father told her she had done the right thing. She was twenty-one years old.

Since the producer for this audition had asked me personally, I still went up to the room where they were. When I arrived, his wife was in the reception room. She had been there the day I met her husband while she and her daughter were doing extra work. She gave me two different forms to fill out along with the form I had already seen from the girl downstairs. I asked her if it was obligatory to sign the form. She said she wasn’t sure and that it would be best to talk to the director.

I was asked to go into the audition room together with another woman. When I entered the room, the producer I had met was there with his brother, whom I also met that day on the set. I immediately asked if it was obligatory to sign the release form in order to be auditioned, because I told him that I couldn’t sign it. His brother tried to explain to me that it was just so they had permission to give this material to casting directors and to market me.

Hmmm. I told him I understood, but that if I were to sign it, we would first have to change the wording. The director told me that it was no problem, which I understood to mean that I could audition anyway. He was polite in telling me that without that signature, he could neither audition me nor take my headshot and résumé. I stuck to my decision and turned to leave. He then asked me if I would stay and read the other part for the girl who went in with me. I jumped at the chance. I wanted to satisfy his curiosity and show him what he was missing!

He asked me to stay and read for the next woman who came in as well and I did. It was a comical part, and I was having a ball with it. The five people who were in the room were laughing, so I felt like I was doing what they asked me to do.

That was it. Never heard from them again, nor did I search them out. It was an interesting experience, and I felt good that I stuck to my decision. My instinct told me that it would have been wrong to sign that paper. I just believe that I didn’t need to sell myself out for any type of job that I might have had. I have pride and I decide how interested I am to do a job, first and foremost.

In any case and thanking our good fortune that things like this don't happen often, here are some good tips for how to behave at an audition.

Go and have a look at common acting scams for a list of 12 of the most common ones and how to avoid them.

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