In a business where auditions rely heavily on trust, project creators have a responsibility to keep their production environments safe. Is your casting call breaking that trust before the performer has even auditioned? These are some best practices for communicating your commitment to safety, beginning with the casting call.
Avoid holding auditions at a private residence or location.
Scheduling your auditions at a casting studio, theater or other professional setting gives performers confidence that they are not walking into a risky situation.
Never ask for nude photos, nudity or lingerie in self-tapes.
You should also never ask a performer to record themselves acting out a sexual scene.
Specify that there will be no kissing or touching at an audition.
It’s also a good idea to notify actors of any intimate scenes the character will be involved in to ensure that performers are comfortable with the role requirements before they audition.
Never ask actors to disrobe for an audition.
Instead, be sure to disclose any nudity the role may require in the casting call, and be open to a discussion about how your production will handle nudity on set during the audition.
Inform actors of the Covid protocols.
Additionally, making a point of enforcing safety measures such as mask wearing and offering hand sanitizer shows the actors coming to your auditions that you have their safety in mind and also will protect them once you’re all on set together.
Keep all drugs and alcohol out of the audition room and off set.
Aside from keeping all heads clear during the audition and production, drugs and alcohol are associated with impaired judgment that can put performers in unsafe situations.
Never allow weapons to be used in an audition. Only prop weapons should ever be allowed on set.
As recent tragedies have shown, even a prop weapon can be dangerous. Prop weapons on set should be handled only under the supervision of an experienced armorer who also will train your cast on proper use and handling. There is no good reason to take the risk during the audition process.
For more insight into what might look like a red flag to performers, check out our article on how to protect yourself as an actor.
What rules do I need to follow for minor performers?
As the entertainment industry’s gatekeepers, it is imperative to keep minors safe while casting and on set.
When writing a casting call for babies, kids and teenagers, it’s critically important to remember that every state has different guidelines regarding child labor in the arts.
However, no matter where you are casting, if you are casting a minor performer in a production with adult themes, it is essential to list the specifics in the casting call announcement.
Many states, including California, require work permits for underage performers. It is the child’s parents’ responsibility to get these permits, but you as the employer are violating the law if the child works without a permit, putting your production at risk of being shut down.
Child labor laws and best practices are always changing, so be sure to check regularly for any updates to the laws that apply to your production.
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