Local Hire Can Mean Playing with Fire
Why risk it? It’s probably much safer to get creative about discovering new acting opportunities where you live.
(by Tonya Tannenbaum)
Having family or friends, located in the proper town, who are willing to let you crash on their couch, might represent a casting opportunity. But it might also mean playing with fire.
If you are an actor located in, say, Los Angeles or New York, you might be tempted to seek work opportunities in other towns, when your career stalls. How about New Orleans? Or better yet, what about the hot, Atlanta market? After all, you have family and friends located there. And they are more than willing to let you stay in their spare bedroom.
Productions often seek “local hires”, so, you might decide to get cute and pretend to be a local hire, so that you can compete for those roles.
Well, go ahead. Include it on your acting resume. Tell your agent to put you in the mix for those roles. But just remember, you might be doing more harm than good. In most cases, “local” really means “local”.
Here are 3 good reasons to not take the “local hire” bait:
You could lose more money than you earn
As a distant hire masquerading as a local, you must pick up the tab for nearly everything:
*Travel to the city
*Transportation around town
Oh. And don’t forget the unexpected costs that may occur:
*What if the production schedule is pushed up and you must travel at the last minute? How much would a last-minute flight or flight-change cost?
*What if the airline misplaces your luggage? What if, in your haste, you forget to pack something important?
*What if your lodging becomes unavailable? That argument with your cousin means you must pay for a hotel at the last minute…that is, if you can find an available room.
After you cover all these costs, you might end up losing more money than you make. A well-to-do actor might be willing to take the financial hit to gain another television credit. But most actors are not well-off. How many actors can afford to lose money while working?
You could damage your relationship with casting and production
What if you end up a complete no-show? For example, what if your flight is delayed and you can’t get to the location on-time?
You can’t expect much sympathy from production. After all, when they hired you as a local, they did so with the understanding that you knew the definition of the word “local”. It means you’re in-town, ready to go when they call.
How will they respond when you tell them, “Thanks for the opportunity. Unfortunately, I can’t make it. It’s not my fault. I live in New York, even though you hired me as a local. My flight was delayed, and I won’t be able to arrive on-time. But, please keep me in mind for future roles.”
You get the idea. Consider yourself blacklisted.
You could damage your relationship with your agent
Just wait until your poor agent hears about this disaster. Your agent, they one who helped get you the gig, the one who is eagerly awaiting a commission, the one who has a reputation to protect…yes, that guy! He (or she) won’t be too thrilled about this ugly episode. You can almost certainly expect to be dropped. All the effort you put in to finding a good agent, one who truly believes in you, is ruined.
And, you can be sure that your agent has friends in the business. Word of your “local” adventure might spread.
So, while it might be tempting to expand your opportunities by declaring yourself a “local hire”, it can also be extraordinarily and unnecessarily risky, especially if the location is outside of a safe driving distance.
So, why risk it? It’s probably much safer to get creative about discovering new opportunities where you live.