Not my first refusal

So, last week I was asked to be "on first refusal" for an overnight commercial shoot for a well-known bank. The spot is slated to shoot tonight. I agreed. Working overnight isn't that bad; one is just really tired come breakfast-time. How does first refusal work?, I hear you asking. Well, to "be on first refusal" means simply that the client is interested in using you, isn't sure if s/he/they will use you, but would like for you to hold the desired time(s) for her/him/them. However, as the talent, you are not committed to the project and, if something comes up for you, it's okay. Just call to indicate you are no longer available. I was cool with this. I didn't have any major Friday night plans.

Last night I received an email message with the subject line "EXTRA WORK RELEASE". (Yes, in all caps.) The message read, in part, "Thank you so much for being available, but the job has booked and we can release you from your first refusal." Indeed, it was really nice for the casting agency to "release" me from my voluntary hold. Many agencies don't contact their talent at all if they will not be used. However, it would have fun to work this gig. I don't think I've ever been offered any of the first refusals I've had.

1 comment:

Albert said...

Hi Alecia! I just wanted to clarify something about first refusal, because I think the concept of first refusal confuses a lot of actors. When an actor is on first refusal for a Gig "A", that actor has a commitment to Gig "A", although the actor is not technically booked yet. If the actor is offered work on a Gig "B" that will take place at the same time, that actor must call the people involved with Gig "A" to tell them that they have been offered another gig. Either one of two things happens here: (a) the actor get permission to be released from his or her commitment to Gig "A" or (b) the actor becomes booked for Gig "A". In essence, once an actor is "on first refusal" for a gig, the producers of that gig have first priority when it comes to refusing that actor. The actor cannot simply call and them the producers he or she is no longer available-- although not illegal, such an action would certainly upset a lot of people involved and could potentially damage an actor's career.