Acting : When an actor bails without telling you by Bill Shannon

Bill Shannon

When an actor bails without telling you

So, I'm working on this web-series and the lead actress bailed on our weekend of shooting less than two days prior, citing her agent booked her a gig. It came to our attention via Facebook that she was partying and watching some big Rugby tournament. I wouldn't have been so mad if we didn't have 9 people rearranging their schedules and missing work to be there. She has since stopped contact with us. It sucks because we did already film the pilot with her. We have done a great recast, but curious how to handle it. Just say nothing to her? Tell her we can't go any farther with her? I don't want her to force us to not premier the pilot because she doesn't want to be seen in the show or what not. What a shitty way to step out of a project. I wish the people in the area knew she could do that to any one of them. No need to kick dirt around I guess.

Bill Shannon

Sadly, she can't be edited that way as she has a big scene in the pilot and is at the poker table with us... there are four people that make the entire thing work and she was one of them. I think we will just continue with the new female lead and the pilot may just become the 'lost pilot'.... We have to take down ALL of our promo pics and any artwork we did to use her in promotional things. Not to mention it now appears that two of the people that switched hours at a real job to be there to film that day won't respond to us.... Oh well, onwards and upwards!

Stephen Sheridan

Hi Bill, I wouldn't worry about it, very often actors change from pilot to the run and not always because the actor wants to leave.

Devorah Lynne Dishington

On another similar Lounge post, I had this to say: As an Actress and Musician, I have always used the philosophy of 'first booked ALWAYS has priority'. I have even missed later opportunities, because I was already committed to something else!! Unlike many, I HAVE integrity, and, once I have given my word, I do not pull back from it, except once when a Family emergency happened, and I had to inform an AD that I could not attend 2 days of filming. BUT this is a rare case! In one situation, I even missed a callback at the Dorothy Chandler, because I had committed the date a month before to another project. No matter what level the project is, once you 'give your word' to accept the position, it should be your priority, or WHY take it in the first place!?! If they have any experience, they will know that there may be further commitment beyond the initial shoot: ADR, re - shoots, whatever. Obviously, this Actor should have never taken the role, if he had NO intent to complete it!! That is just my two cents from my Professional belief and experience, and I hope it assists you in this instance. Thus, I say, tell her, " It is evident that you do not hold to your word, so your services will no longer be required. Best of luck in your pursuits. "

Carol Fritz

The only excuse for an actor missing a shoot: A funeral, her own. Have been terribly ill and dragged myself out of my sick bed to a shoot for a commercial when I realized they couldn't shoot it without the talent. Funny thing was that didn't feel (or look) ill when I was in character.

Devorah Lynne Dishington

Carol: A+++++ >^.,.^<

Bill Shannon

Thanks everyone! The replies were helpful and I'm pleased with the decision my partner and I made on her. No one, regardless of the situation, can get anywhere with actors who say: "As of now I'm available those days" No one can continue filming or even schedule things with that kind of attitude/response. "As of now" so we schedule the 5-9 other people for the day only for said lead to take another gig the day before. It's impossible and you just can't wait and hope that this isn't the day she decides to no show as the actors and crew all stand around. Thanks again everyone! I'm glad there are people with integrity still in the world. I'd rather have a bad actor than someone like Edward Norton if he's going to give me his word and then bail last minute for another gig.

Bill Shannon

Though now the big debate between me and my co-creator is Stephen: Mention it subtly as a joke in the show, or just go the route of The Other Darren and never say a word. lol

Julian Nabunya

good to go , you have a solution . i wish you the best of luck , Bill Shannon

Evan Marlowe

Glad you worked around the problem. There are ways to help avoid the situation in the future. You may have already been doing all these things. We feed everyone well, offer imdb credit, promote on social media heavily, are always well-organized on set, treat everyone with respect and listen to feedback from actors, keep a fun/positive/family vibe, and try to find actors through word of mouth. There are never guarantees, and certainly if someone has to pull out for a paid gig or audition, it's understandable. But I find that if the production company creates a strong impression that it has its act together and the project will substantially help the actor's career, most times people commit.

Bill Shannon

Thanks! We have some great talent that did commit and we are working around schedules for them. But if you ignore all attempts we make to get any kind of schedule, no. Even just a quick "I've been busy with things and still have no clue on a schedule" would have been satisfactory. We also feed well, do social media, we are pretty well organized, we have loads of fun and everyone has been enjoying it. Some people though, might have an ego issue, I don't really know.

Heidi Haaland

Sorry to read this, Bill. There are problems here that have nothing to do with you and your project and moving it forward is the best response. I don't think anyone in this forum can advise you legally, but your next steps will be determined by whether or not you have binding agreements/releases in place. I would definitely consult an attorney for guidance because if you get interest from a buyer or distributor, you do NOT want this person to come sniffing around for what she imagines is owed to her. That can be a deal killer.

Pup Che

The question is did you pay her for the job or not. If you paid her what there a contract? I will assume you did not pay her, so in that case she did what every passive aggressive person will do - send you a message that she needs to be paid by talking of other paid job. Nothing you can do, but have a budget for the next shoot.

Timothy Bowman

Believe me: If she did it once----she'll do it again; given the opportunity. Scram, re-shoot and be done with it. You'll thank that advice in the end...

Timothy Bowman an aside; who was the Rugby Match teams involved? Also, perhaps do a parody of her 'Indiscretion' send it to her (Perhaps you and the gang toasting her absence...throwing darts at her picture?....) then promote it on facebook/youtube etc. etc. etc.

Alexander D Carney

You must replace her. You can't let an actor push around an entire production team, even if you have to reshoot. And you have every right to tell whoever you want.

Matthew Bussey

I didn't have quite the same issue as you, but I was in a tough spot where I had to replace the lead actor of my web series because of logistics. I hated having to do it. We already shot the pilot episode and scenes from additional episodes with the actor. He was driving a great distance to the set in addition to working and going to school. I wasn't ready to let the show go, so I came to the difficult decision to re-cast the lead and re-shoot the pilot episode.

Mark Harrison

That't pretty bad. If I were to just decide to bail maybe i would have an agent. If you need a reliable music composer, checkout my reel. I

Wayne Jarman

I've always considered it to be the 'worst sin' of acting: to walk out on an unfinished project ...and yet it has happened to a couple of projects that I have been involved with. Not much we could do about it. Those people will never work on any of our projects again, of course!

Chris Dos Santos

That's an unfortunate one man. Seriously unprofessional and her attitude towards it stinks. Name and shame, because I would never want that happening on any of my productions. Wishing you all the best with the rest of the web series, keep your head up, be positive and finish it. She'll regret it in the end. Best revenge is for you to succeed without her.

Tiffy Diamond

If you found a great recast then I say let it go. Even if on facebook she was partying her ass off you never know what's truly going on with someone. Also, dwelling on it will just make you more upset and you have a lovely project to complete. You don't need distractions. It's part of the game, last minute stuff like this happens all the time. I lost an actor ON A SHOOTING DAY and had to recast from PAs. It was a small scene and the PA happened to be an aspiring actor so score for me! I never got mad at the actor who didn't show up and we're still friends. Shit happens. You're lucky that she showed you who she is now so moving forward you can work with other actresses :) Good luck on your projects.

Bill Shannon

This is our first project and we didn't have anything signed as we were in a bit of a rush to get the pilot done to submit to a contest. But, it's all over with. I had no idea if she really did have an agent so I emailed her directly and told her it how unprofessional it was to give us her word on the date and then bail the day before. I wouldn't have minded if it was just the 4 lead people but we had 7 other actors coming to do bit parts as she saw on the schedule I sent, and that her ignoring every attempt we made to try and get a schedule caused us to just recast, in addition to it appearing the 'gig' was a Rugby party. What set has anyone been on that streams Rugby on the computer for the actors to watch, that also happens to be the Wales team...where your husband is originally from. Yeah right. So she called me up the next day, told me I was the unprofessional one, then said we cannot use her image in anything. She then proceeded to tell me she will (and I quote) "Sue the FUCK out of me" if I use her image. I don't know how people can expect to get gigs being that way. I know if someone asked me about her I'd tell them not to bother. Though said Pilot is done and premiering on Monday, we also have 90% of episode 2 and 30% of episode 3 filmed. Indeed the best 'revenge' is to make it a success without her, not that I really give a rats ass about her at all now. Either way, Thanks everyone for the words of wisdom!!!

Devorah Lynne Dishington

She is a waste all around and just got p!ssed when you CALLED her on her sh!t. SHE KNOWS she is wrong! Honestly, as far as suing, without her signature on a release form, it is best to cut her in full ( why even give her any credit, or exposure ). I am glad that you got it all done. Best wishes for its successful premiere! >^.,.^<

T N Mohan

Wait a minute... Notwithstanding her bailing out, and not having a contract... please be careful in using her scenes in pilot, if you do not have a signed talent-release from, The law stats that individuals have rights to "their likeness" interpreted means their images, sounds, etc. besides other equity and "moral rights". I f I were you, I would resolve the issue of the pilot with her before using it publicly.

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