200 Auditions. 1 Booking. A Ghost. Really?

Hey there!

There’s an often quoted statistic that says that the average role receives over 1500 submissions, and that, on average, it takes a union actor 200 auditions to get a single booking.

Turns out that’s even more universal than we think, and for the same technical reason.

Barron’s article on job applicant “ghosting:”

Hope this helps!


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Raw YouTube Captioning

hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
couple things happen to me this past
weekend that I wanted to share with you
because they’re kind of tied together I
was talking to an actor up in San
Francisco who was lamenting how many
auditions she needs to go out on just to
get a callback
how many callbacks she needs to get put
on hold or get a pin how many of those
she needs to ever actually booked I mean
she bookings her light it’s you know
it’s crazy and at the same time I was
made aware of an article in Barron’s
about the current state of affairs in
employee-employer you know job interview
job applicant job hiring relations with
regard to a new trend which I don’t know
if you’ve heard of this or not never
happens in our business I’m not kidding
I would be shocked if this ever happened
of job applicant and job ghosting so in
our business we’ve been variously
depends the number changes every so
often but variously we’ve been told that
it takes the average SAG actor 200
auditions to get one booking and that
the number of submissions by agents and
by actors to a particular role can be
1,500 2,000 3,000 4,000 it’s crazy so
when you think about how little time a
casting director has yeah so it makes
sense and because there are so many
people who self-identify as actors
there’s a lot more supply then there is
demand for what we do for a living so it
makes sense right there’s a lot less
work than there are people that can do
the job and there are a lot of people
applying for the job that aren’t
qualified to do the job so it just makes
it harder all around for everybody but
when you go to the general world of job
the changes that have occurred in how
people find work
have led to some pretty strange
behaviors first of all this is a world
now of online applications you know
indeed and monster and you know there’s
a million different job sites that you
can go to and ways you can get jobs that
have nothing to do with job sites like
LinkedIn or referrals or word of mouth
anyway the point is that there’s this
new trend called job applicant ghosting
and I read about it in a Barron’s
article and I’ve put the link to that
article in the in the blog post for this
it’s crazy people will go through the
entire application process all the way
through putting their applications in
maybe writing an essay who knows what’s
required for the job you know background
checks interviews multiple interviews
meeting the team who knows and then at
the last minute these applicants
disappear or they get offered the job
they take the job and after the first
day of work
they disappear it’s called ghosting you
know ghosting happens on dating apps and
in social media and with relationships
these days it’s crazy ghosting is
stopping all communications with someone
without saying goodbye without saying
why without leaving behind any you know
you can find me here just like note
we’re done and not even saying no we’re
you’re just you don’t hear from them
and the reason this is happening is I
think a reaction to what it’s been like
for employers you know the job market
has been up until now up until recently
very much an employers market they were
able to get away with talking to a lot
of different people and there were a lot
of people who wanted to vie for really
great jobs and so it led to some
behaviors by employers that were not the
nicest and they didn’t care because it
was a buyers market for as far as they
were concerned well now it’s a seller’s
market now the job opportunities are
plentiful and there are fewer job
applicants to fill really great job
applicants to fill those jobs and
there’s a whole generation or two of
people who watched their parents get
raked over the coals by the company or
companies or industries that they
thought would be able to take them into
their retirement but yeah you know we’re
closing the company we’re selling the
company yeah your retirement plan it’s
actually bankrupt yeah we don’t have any
more money we thought we’d have money
but you do all that money you put in
gone they see that and their allegiances
are not likely to be very high for
anybody who wants to hire them these
days this whole idea of ghosting though
yeah you know they accept the job they
come in on Monday and then they don’t
come in on Tuesday or ever again and you
never hear from them yeah then they
don’t care they don’t they have
absolutely no reason to feel upset or or
embarrassed or anything
now take that those numbers are very
similar the the actual number that I’ve
heard is that employers offer a job to
only 0.4% of the applicants and what
does that work out to one in two hundred
or so and so that statistic is the same
for us in performing but can you imagine
an actor or a voice-over performer
a casting director or a producer or an
audio a video game director or I just I
can’t imagine it happening and I’ve seen
you know some members of younger
generations do some pretty wack things
when it comes to what you know why not
like you know the the the extra the
young lady who decided to start tweeting
from the season finale of Glee a few
years ago what the secret plotline was
and her reaction when she was screamed
at by the director and creator of the
show when Ryan came into the room and
like where is Nicole so-and-so she’s
like why why didn’t you just take away
our phones like what did you want us to
do so there have been some crazy
behaviors but I’ve never known a
performer to ghost a production have you
I mean am I am I missing something did I
miss a story somewhere I just can’t see
it happening it’s it’s so hard to get
jobs in our business to begin with but
my question for you is have you ever
ghosted anybody in any other situation a
relationship a non-performing job you
know like a day job or a you know a
survival job or in any situation have
you done that has it been done to you
have you been running something and just
somebody decided to stop showing up let
me know in the comments below there’s a
comment box below this video if you’d
like to be on my list go ahead and join
the list we’ll let you know when these
videos come out we’re doing one a day
for this year if you’d like to see the
latest episode of these videos that I’ve
done go ahead click on that frame there
and YouTube will play it for you because
that’s what they do I’m David H Lawrence
I’ll be here I thank you so much for
watching and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

8 Responses to 200 Auditions. 1 Booking. A Ghost. Really?

  1. David Wandelt August 5, 2019 at 9:12 am #

    I will admit that there have been jobs I could WISH I had ghosted! I remember one in particular that I had misgivings about even at the interview, but I wanted the job badly enough that I rationalized it, saying, ‘how bad could it actually be?’ I should have known better! If you’re having apprehensions at the interview— It’s not going to get any better! Then, the day I started that job, after an all-morning team meeting with the development manager (who was my “in” for that job) broke for lunch, I actually asked, in front of the team, “Has anyone ever quit this place on their first day?” I already had the sense that I could get away with the question, and they loved it, laughing heartily! And then proceeded to give me two examples of people who had done just that!

    That job lasted 9 months for me, but I can well imagine how someone with less commitment to his word would easily have gone to lunch and not come back.

  2. Stuart Gauffi August 5, 2019 at 1:53 pm #

    The very first play in which I was cast after moving to “the big city”, the stoner that had been cast in the lead (to this day I have no idea why that happened) couldn’t learn his lines, and “ghosted” (though we didn’t call it that then) for dress rehearsal. No understudy, and the show closed before it opened. I have never been so disgusted with a fellow performer.

  3. Rebecca Yavner August 5, 2019 at 4:36 pm #

    Absolutely not. I’m old school tho… spent 20 years in IT and has one person ghost us (my company) in that time frame. What I understand though is that it is pretty common now. I’ve heard HR people talking about it. Very sad state of affairs in my book. Shows a lack of consideration and decorum…

  4. Wes Melton August 5, 2019 at 7:01 pm #

    One of the big differences from other jobs and acting/VO jobs is that casting directors/producers talk to each other. Other industries do not and actually actively disregard things like ghosting. Want a reference from a former employer? No matter the reason for your leaving, they won’t do anything other than say you were in fact employed there. The acting industry has no issue letting each other know who the bad “actors” are since the deck (production team, et al) is shuffled practically every project. That is how i see ghosting becoming a thing.

  5. Chris Buckner August 6, 2019 at 9:58 am #

    I feel like I may have ghosted an employer after a few days, but I don’t remember it well. It was a blip on the radar of my life. Not a good thing if I did though. I remember working at a different place for one day and loathing the job so much that I told my employer I would not be returning. I was at least a little more courteous and responsible in that case. I was ghosted by an ex-girlfriend. We dated for maybe 3 weeks, and we were definitely in a relationship, then she just…disappeared. She never replied to my voicemails, text messages, or Facebook messages. She actually reached out to me on Facebook years later to apologize. Thanks for the video David.

    • David H. Lawrence XVII August 6, 2019 at 10:05 am #

      Doesn’t seem like you ghosted your employer – you just gave very, very little notice. :-)

  6. Deborah Geffner August 7, 2019 at 12:53 am #

    Interesting post and article. Thank you. No I would never ghost an employer at this point. Way too much to lose in terms of professional credibility. But I wouldn’t have done it even when I was starting out. It wasn’t a thing. I remember agonizing once over a job that I just hated. We had started rehearsals for a show, and I couldn’t swallow what I was being asked to do. It seemed demeaning, and I just didn’t want to do it. First and last time it’s ever happened to me that I couldn’t somehow communicate with the people I was working with to make the situation work for me. I either told her I was quitting or maybe asked my agent to do it. That seems likely, since I don’t have a memory of actually talking to the director or her response.

    Yes, it’s bad manners. It’s also bad manners on the employer’s side. How many times have actors been “on avail” or “pinned” for a job, and the only way they find out they didn’t get it is the start date comes and no one has called. (Answer: all the time.) So many times that we’ve stopped considering it bad manners and just assume that’s “how things work.” But we should remember for our own sanity that it is bad manners. Once after being put on tape Friday, I was asked out of the blue on the following Tuesday, “Can you leave for Chile on Thursday?” Yes. And I started making arrangements for my animals and stopped buying milk, “just in case.” Waited all day Wednesday, finally asking my agent to call and find out. They never called her back. Wednesday night I figured I must not be going to Chile. It felt pretty incredibly rude.

    But on our side – the actor – the dating partner – I really think that there is strength in quitting something – in saying no. When something isn’t right for you, there’s a value in the act of saying a definite no that you miss if you just fade away and never see the person/job again. There’s something cowardly and passive about it that I think hurts you as much as it hurts the other party. The only exception I can think of would be someone who is truly bad for you – dangerous emotionally, physically or psychically, and then any way you can leave is a good way.

    Thank you for this. A lot to think about.

  7. Stephanie August 7, 2019 at 10:19 am #

    I’m old school so I call if I’m going to be late or if there is a delay of some kind. I give way too much notice and offer to train the next person if needed. I have been ghosted by talent (dancer/singers) when I was producing shows. Not cool at all. Can you say Blacklisted! The only time I may have ghosted somebody, but we didn’t call it that back then, was a bad relationship and it meant my sanity or safety.

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