CIT Flashback Friday: The Do’s and Don’ts of Meet and Greets

The Do's and Don'ts of Meet and Greets

The Do’s and Don’ts of Meet and Greets

To honor Flashback Friday, we are opening the Cast It Talent vault and bringing back some great articles from the past. These do’s and don’ts of meet and greets are essential for any actor to make a good impression. If you are searching for an agent, meet and greets and open calls are necessary evils we must all learn to love. Perhaps some of you out there thrive on the adrenaline rush of wedging yourself into a fluorescent-lit room full of hundreds of edgy actors sweating out their crippling insecurities. Maybe the broken air conditioning and short tempered monitors fuel your self-actualizing serenity and savoir faire. For the rest of us, here are some tips to help us grin and bear it.

DO

1.     Be Over-Prepared

There are going to be plenty of factors you won’t be able to control in this situation, so why not set yourself up for success by going hog wild on the ones you can control? Look up directions and detours in case of construction (in ADDITION to your GPS/phone! What if the battery dies? What if you’re mugged, yet your slavish devotion to your craft propels you onward, ever onward? We’re talking BOYSCOUT prepared)! Set out clothes, food, a water bottle, extra headshots, a change of clothes, etc. the night before. Have several audition pieces in your back pocket, just in case. Research the agents with whom you’ll be meeting so you will know them on sight. Bring cash (parking, event charges), and fill up your gas tank. Nothing can stop you now!

2.     Be Yourself

Ultimately, and especially for established film agencies, they will be looking for types. The best way to show yourself off is to relax and be you. That is what they are looking for. So don’t beat yourself up for being too girly, awkward, nerdy, whatever. As long as it’s you, you’re showing them what they’re going to get.

3.     Expect to Improvise

Something will go wrong. Might as well resign yourself to that now. You will spill tea on your shirt, someone you despise will be there, people will cut you in line, you’ll forget your folder. Be ready to roll with the punches. Just practice having a Zen attitude about it. It will make everything easier and make you look centered and confident.

4.     Make Friends

You will probably be waiting in line for a while. So why not reach out to other artists while you’re at it? You’re already in a room full of like-minded people, you might as well see if you can make some good contacts. I was at a recent meet and greet and happened to chat with a friend of a friend’s friend. Turns out he’s a local film producer working on a number of growing projects. We exchanged information and now I am on his list. Who knows where it might take us?

5.     Stay  “On” . . . from the second you leave your car!

You never know who will be watching how you behave coming into the building, waiting in line, as you leave. Be friendly and positive, treat everyone you meet with respect, and wait to air your dirty laundry until you are driving home.

6.     Know What You Want (and Where You Fit)

If you are an extra and want extra/stand-in experience, know that, and figure out which line you should be in. If you are established and have film experience and are ready for a crack at network television know that (and don’t let them shuffle you into the background line). Knowing where you are in your actor journey will serve well and help you get in touch with the right people.

7.     Be Assertive

Do remember that you are a commodity that agents need. Remember you have a right to be there. Respectfully take the time you deserve, and insist you are allowed to do your part of the job.

8.     Follow Directions

Don’t be a jerk. No one wants to work with an entitled, aggressive actor who can’t follow directions. Keep it professional.

DON’T

1.     Get Rattled

People will be listing their insecurities like it’s confession time on Judgment eve. Harassed agents and monitors will be barking orders and amendments to orders and desperately trying to herd the schizophrenic cats with whom you will be surrounded. Play it cool. Stick to your guns. It’s gonna be OK.

2.     Compare Yourself to Others

This, in my opinion, is one of the worst things you can do. Actors in all stages of their career will be there, and it will serve no one to start freaking out about where you are in yours. It will only distract you and throw you off your game.

3.     Lie

For real, ladies and gents. Be truthful on your resume and reel. Don’t say you’ve done things you haven’t. Be honest about your training. It will look SO BAD when you are caught lying, and you will be, because you are surrounded by people who know the biz in the city you’re working in.

4.     Be Overly Aggressive

This goes along with generally being a decent person while you’re there. You don’t want the monitor watching you cutting children in line and have them tell the agent about it.

5.     Apologize for Yourself

Please, GOD, stop the terrible cycle. I do this all the time. I constantly have to fight against the impulse. It is not helpful or polite. It makes you look amateurish and unsure. They wouldn’t have an open call if they didn’t want actors to show up. They can sit and listen to you for two minutes.

6.     Shake the Person’s Hand (Unless they reach for yours)

They are likely meeting HUNDREDS of people. Think about how gross it would be if they shook everyone’s hand. They don’t want that. You don’t want that. Don’t do it unless they seem pumped about it! I once saw a stage dad stick his hand in some poor agent’s face and she straight up refused to shake it. He kept it there for an awkwardly long time and it was awful. Don’t let this be you!

Basically, a meet and greet is an interview/audition at hyper-speed. Remember, this is something you do all the time. It is easier than what you usually do. Relax, put on a smile, and follow your instincts. You’ll be fine.

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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com