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Headshots by Vanie Poyey

If you’re reading this, you’re very likely one who reads what they sign, so go pour yourself a congratulatory cocktail!  But in case you don’t read everything you sign or receive by people you do business with, let me do what I can to smooth out your future transactions.

There’s a BIG problem with people not reading these days.  I’m sure it has something to do with the way we receive information.  Our lives are increasingly moving at a fast pace which forces us to prioritize what we read, how much of it we read, and how much of it we skim over.  Sometimes, I’m guilty of it too, so I get it.

Problem is, when it comes to doing business,  failing to read the written information one is provided with frustrates the livin’  #[email protected]*! out of professionals in our industry.

Here’s one frustrated Casting Director’s take and another’s agreement:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you startin’ to see how this is relevant to you?

I wish I would have had the foresight to save all the tweets I’ve seen by frustrated industry pros, one that was especially memorable was about NDA (non-disclosure agreements).  Apparently, according to the agent that tweeted it, actors are getting themselves into serious trouble with production companies because after working on a project, they are revealing things on social media that they are contractually obligated not to!  This is happening so much that my associate photographer and actor Kayvon, received an email about it from his agent.

Here’s what he has to say as an actor:

“When you book a job, make sure you read the ENTIRE contract to know which behavior is banned and what the penalty for the banned behavior is.  Sometimes the term of the NDA extends past the air date of the project and violating it may lead to termination from the project, or jeopardize your relationship with the casting office, and your agent. Not to mention it could lead to legal action and cost you a nice chunk of change.”

Here’s some wisdom about why it’s important to read by agent, Anthony Boyer at DDO:

“One of my favorite pieces of advice to give is to “learn to wait a minute.” You’ll find that, more often than not, if you simply take the time to thoroughly understand a situation before reacting, you will be miles ahead of everyone else. Most people wear themselves out reacting to the first thing they hear, but taking the time to read and to process all of the information at your disposal does a lot of things. First, it gives you a complete sense of your obligations, and of what’s expected of you before you agree to it. Second, there’s always a very good reason that someone took the time to write something out. Trust me, we don’t do it for fun. We don’t all have more time than you do. But we’ve learned, over years of doing our jobs, where people usually get tripped up. So we try to include as much information as possible, to help you avoid that. Rushing in and blithely ignoring that information can lead to lost money, lost opportunities, and lost energy. Slow down. Wait a minute. Process. Ask questions, even. You’ll find yourself more aware and in control of your environment, which is the key to making sure that you’re making the most of it.”

And more from Tiuana Jackson at The Jackson Agency:

“The most important trait an actor must have is the ability to follow directions. No two Agencies, no two Casting Directors, no two Directors are the same. Everyone has their own spin on how they want to receive materials, so it is best to take the time to just read/listen to the instructions.”

Last but not least, by yours truly:

My peeps, if you ask a multitude of questions that we already addressed in the material we emailed you, you are causing us to be what I call, “stupid busy”.  In other words, you are taking valuable time away from clients who we are either shooting, consulting with or doing post-production work for.  PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME.  All clients are equally important, including you, so it’s important that when it’s time for your marketing consultation and your photo shoot, your post edits, someone else isn’t taking our attention away from you by asking questions that are already answered.

Did you listen carefully or take notes during our consultation?  No?  That’s okay because I follow up our consultation with all kinds of goodies including a Wardrobe PDF and several articles to read about how to prepare.  So please, please, please read them and don’t call to ask me what to bring… or worse, don’t show up saying, “I didn’t know what to bring.”  Like wtf?  We went over all that verbally and I sent you some really helpful material just in case.  You have no excuses for making us do the work twice!

Before paying your deposit, did you read the contract you initialed line by line and signed?  Cuz that’s where the package details discussed during your consultation, like what’s included and what’s not, are written very clearly.  So please don’t say you didn’t know you have to pay for retouching separately.  Um, you signed the line that reminded you of that in case you were distracted during our consultation.

Are you done reading after your photo session?  Hell no!  This is when we explain what’s going to happen next and how to make the process seamless for yourself.  In fact, we penalize people by charging them for making us do the same work twice AKA “stupid busy” work instead of work that helps our clients move forward.  So here it is.  Read the email we send with your web gallery.  Read what happens when your gallery expires, when to download your images, making backups, how to order Hi-Rez retouches, when to ask for proofs etc.

I couldn’t have said it more elequontely than Anthony, so here is again.

“…there’s always a very good reason that someone took the time to write something out. Trust me, we don’t do it for fun. We don’t all have more time than you do. But we’ve learned, over years of doing our jobs, where people usually get tripped up. ”

Or you could end up paying for it either with dollars or with a severed relationship with your reps.

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What’s your experience, frustration or gripe with reading not reading?  Continue the conversation below!


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Showing 5 comments
  • Charmagne
    Reply

    I read everything. I don’t understand why a person would not…

  • Jasmine Atkins
    Reply

    Great article, especially for new actors like me. But. I was wondering Vanie, do you realize some of your own written instructions are a little confusing? For example, after a headshot session, I receive an email that says something along the lines, “Our business concludes here.”

    Then your given a 3rd party company and name to go through for your 300 dpi prints. When I called that company I was told I had to go through you because they didn’t even have my headshots. So, even after ordering my reprints and following your written instructions, there was still some confusion. If I wanted to order another look from my previous session, I’m still not sure if I go through you or that 3rd party company you supplied in you email.

    • Vanie
      Reply

      Hello Jasmine!
      I’m glad you found this helpful! I’m always happy to receive feedback on my deliverables and make changes so that our instructions are crystal clear. I’d have to get on the phone with you to figure out what needs to change so it’s not confusing. I have a suspicion that in this case it may be that you are unfamiliar with the process and need to read the steps more carefully. Our instructions ask you to order your Hi-Rez files from us so that we may retouch them and color correct them but we are not a printing company. After you purchase the Hi-Rez file, we explain that it will be delivered to both you and the printer at which time after receiving our email, you can call them and put in your order. Now once that link expires, they no longer have access to it and only download the file if you call them. Some actors choose to use their own printer and are free to do so. Hopefully you have downloaded your file and are able to send it to the printer yourself whether it be the company we recommend http://www.reproductions.com or some other company! Hope this clarifies!

  • Larissa LaRenne
    Reply

    It is so important to read everything written in a contract, and all the details sent by a CD, photographer, coach, producer, director. etc.! I trust that there is a reason the information is mentioned; it is irresponsible and disrespectful to ignore instructions and information given.

  • Vanie
    Reply

    So true right??

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