Don’t Forget To Sign Out

Hey, there!

I got a check in the mail today from an ad agency. For $34.54. It wasn’t a residual. It was a penalty payment.

All because a casting session was running behind. Why?

This is of particular importance to union voice talent – and is another reason why you should be striving to get your SAG-AFTRA card.

When you go to an audition, if you’re made to wait any longer than 60 minutes, you’re due a small penalty payment for that waiting time. $37 gross, in this case, which isn’t a lot, but certainly is a nice surprise. I plan on taking someone special out for a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free celebration with this little windfall.

However you spend your payment, remember that the only way you’ll get it is if you do one last thing when leaving the audition:

Sign out.

Yes. On the SAG-AFTRA sign-in sheet, you probably are used to signing in with your name, union member number, agency, time called and time actually in, your initials, which call it is, your age range and race.

But once finished with their audition, most people bolt for the door.

Don’t. Take a moment and sign out with the time you’re finished. There’s a column for it, just to the right of Actual Time of Arrival.

Don’t think that the casting director will be pissed off for you doing so – if they are running late, it’s usually the production team’s fault, and it’s up to production to pay you, not the CD. And the CD’s not going to blacklist you for exercising one of the protections that union membership affords you.

So, before you leave, note the time and sign out.

Coffee date, anyone?

And yes, this applies to both on-camera and on-mic auditions.

Hope this helps.


7 Responses to Don’t Forget To Sign Out

  1. kara August 3, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    it’s my understanding – based on confirmation from several cd friends – that on the first audition, the cd pays, though on subsequent ones the production company does. i’ve been reticent to sign out on first audi’s because of this, though heck yeah i do on second ones (and i sign IN on thirds, even though i’ve been asked not to…. don’t get me started)

    does this only pertain to the on-camera world? is this old info? or am i just backwards?

    • David H. Lawrence XVII August 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      It’s not new info to me, and it should pertain to all auditions, not just VO or on-camera – but now you have me wanting to confirm it yet again with SAG-AFTRA. Which I will do on Monday.


  2. Alison Blanchard August 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    I’ve been told the same as Kara, so I’ve been careful (though I’ve almost never been kept overtime on a first call, come to think of it). I’d be curious to find out the real scoop!
    I must say I do LOVE those little bonus checks. $37.00 is $37.00!

  3. Deborah Geffner June 5, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    I always sign out, but recently (in the last year or two) I’ve had CDs glare at me for doing it if they’ve been running late. Sometimes they’ve already taken the sign in sheet away. And it’s also intimidating to be the only initials in the column, which I usually am. Other actors are definitely not doing this.

    Have you had CDs give you angry or exasperated looks, and if so, how do you handle it?

    • David H. Lawrence XVII June 5, 2015 at 11:19 am #

      I have not, and I’m not sure why they would – it’s the producer that pays, not the CD, and it doesn’t reflect poorly on them, it’s just the way it is.

  4. Jaxy Boyd June 6, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

    Hey, David,

    It has always surprised me that L.A. actors don’t sign out at auditions; my San Francisco agents were adamant that we sign out. I’ve received several of those $37 checks over the years (and one for considerably more due to an overt situation with racial overtones).

    Yes, I’m usually the only one on the page who bothers to sign out, here in L.A., but it’s one of those perks our unions fought for: that if our time is wasted, for whatever reason or from whoever’s fault, we will be paid for it. We are, after all, worth it.

  5. Kevin Scott Allen June 8, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    I’ve also gotten several checks from auditions that ran late.

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