Agents know that their actors have lives—maybe they wish they didn’t—but they realize that their clients will get married, go on vacation, need surgery, perform in plays, go to weddings, funerals, out of town bar mitzvahs, you name it.
Ok, so maybe they don’t like it when you book out and are unavailable—they may even give you some grief–but they will accept it. What an agent definitely won’t appreciate and (oftentimes) won’t accept is when you are unavailable and don’t book out. Maybe you will be lucky and he or she won’t find out—but why take the risk? Respect their time, reputation and the work they do for you and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER leave town without letting your agents know.
As soon as you make plans that will make you unavailable for whatever reason, give your rep the head’s up. If it is months away, just send her/him an email saying: “I am getting married in August and will be booking out a couple of weeks. I will let you know details closer to the date.” Then a couple of weeks before your book-out dates, send the email with all the specific details.
Be sure to let them know if the book out is for something that you could/would change if need be. I often let my reps know that I will change my plans for a booking but not an audition or call-back. Be very clear if your book out is something that is not flexible and can’t be changed. For example, “I am the best man in my brother’s wedding on this date and I absolutely cannot miss it” or “I am doing a play without an understudy and I will not be available Friday and Saturday from 6pm to 10pm for the next 4 weeks.”
Of course you may still get that call. I can’t tell you how many times it has happened to me. We have all been there, right? At the airport, train station, or 200 miles out of town and you get the phone call about the audition, callback, avail or booking. (“But I haven’t had an audition for weeks!”) It is a running joke in my house about needing to plan more out of town trips, just to get more bookings. It never seems to fail.
So what do you do? You have to make the decision—drop the trip, come home early? or skip the audition, call-back, booking, etc? If you booked out ahead of time with your agent—you can make that choice based on all the circumstances and what is best for you. If you didn’t book out . . . get ready to cancel your trip, come home early . . . or lose your agent.