Pencil, Heavy Pencil (Pencil Policy)

Self Tapes and Meetings often result in Pencils. Each individual casting, be it Self Tape, zoom or face to face, will give you the option to add in a Pencil. 

  • Very occasionally a pencil will come about without any initial meeting or Self Tape, but this is unusual 
  • A pencil means that you are still in the running for the job and that they would like you to keep the dates as open as possible. A Heavy Pencil means that you are one of a small number of actors still under consideration 
  • Some Casting Directors are very liberal with pencils and pencil lots of people, very early on in the process, sometimes before a recall has been attended. It is useful to get to know how different Casting Directors use pencils 
  • A pencil in no way means you’ve got the job or that you are obligated to keep the dates open 
  • Sometimes a client will ask if they have “First Pencil”, meaning they were the first to pencil the client and therefore have first refusal.
  • Our full ‘Second Pencil Policy’ can be found at the bottom of this article.

If you are pencilled and your availability changes, you need to let the office know ASAP so we can reach out to production with an update. 

What to do 

  1. Log on TagMin 
  2. Contact and confirm with client 
  3. Log in Weekly Journal 

How to do 

  1. TagMin 
  • Go to the client’s TagMin page by searching their name in the client search bar or finding them on the Client tab. 
  • Find any previous records of this job e.g., Self-Tapes, Meetings or Submissions. 
  • If it has come straight from a submission, scroll down to Pencils’ and click the ‘+’ sign and search for the name of the project by typing it into the Bookings search bar or add all the information manually if the Pencil has come about without submission. 
  • Scroll down to the Status section and where it says ‘Pencil’ click the ‘+’ sign. 
  • If the contact referred to it as a ‘Heavy Pencil’, choose this option, if it is just a ‘Pencil’ choose this option.  
  • The Status can be updated at any time to turn this into a Heavy Pencil if they are one of just a few names still being considered or to Release the pencil if the job does not go their way. 
    • Make sure that any updates to the status are also recorded in the Weekly Journal and in the ‘Agency Comments’ section. 
  • Put in the date the pencil was made. 
  • Scroll down to dates and make sure the correct dates have been entered. 
  • If it is a block of dates, on ‘Overall Dates’, select show on calendar. 
  • If the client is being pencilled for specific dates within a block of dates 
    • click on the ‘Dates’ section,  
    • set Scheduled Dates to Show on Calendar, 
    • scroll down and select Schedule and input the specific dates, giving the title as shoot day, travel, wardrobe etc.  
    • On Type select Pencilled. 
    • If you can complete the Where section do. 
    • Make sure the start and end is completed. If you don’t have specific times, pencil a full working day and make notes to that effect later. 
  • This scheduled date should now show in an availability search. 
  • Scroll up to ‘Agency Comments’ and log how you received the pencil, who it came from and any responses or conversations you have had regarding it. 
  • Keep this open when you contact the client. 
  • Once everything is added, this should show on the client’s Calendar.
    • If you click the calendar icon and cannot see the information, make sure you have selected ‘Showing All’. This is an icon that looks like an eye and it lives above the calendar, on the end of a row of red buttons marked ‘Me’, ‘Client’, ‘All’, ‘Filter’ and finally, the ‘eyeball’. If this is not set correctly, it will look like an icon of a folder and will only show jobs and not potential jobs such as pencils and AV Checks.
  1. Tell the client –  
  • Open the Prefs Grid and check client’s contact prefs. 
  • Use their preferences to let them know and follow up with other methods if necessary. 
  • Make sure you are clear on the dates provided in the pencil as they might be different to the original dates on the sub. 
  • On the TagMin pencil at the top of the page select the ‘Email Client’ button, make sure all the specific information is in the body of this email and send it over to the client. 
  • Forward over any emails from production with specific information. 
  • If the client is passing or has queries, make notes to this effect in the Agency Comments section of the Pencil on TagMin. 
  1. Tell the contact –  
  • If the pencil was emailed, email and confirm or explain why the client is no longer available. 
  • If the pencil was a phone call, call back and confirm or explain why the client is no longer available. 
  1. Were there any contracts or is there a negotiation? 
  • If there were contracts attached or fees quoted at this stage, follow our what to do with a contract guide. 
  • If there are dates being discussed that seem different to the original plan and that might affect the fee, this is a good time to forward this on to the contracts and negotiations team for them to help formulate the best response. 
  1. Weekly Journal  
  • Record incoming information (phone call or email from casting director/production company) in relevant section of WJ, starting with date of contact, your initials, the client initials, who the contact is and what it’s about.  
  • Record any outgoing conversation with the contact (phone call or email from casting director/production company) in relevant section of WJ, starting with date of contact, your initials, the client initials, who the contact is and what it’s about. 
  • Record this in the Pencil section of the Weekly Journal, in the following order the pencilled dates, the client’s initials, the name of the job. 

Second Pencil Policy

Should an ACTer be pencilled for a second project on the same shoot days as he/she has been pencilled for something else, the following steps should be adhered to.  

  1. A Casting Director contacts us, pencilling client on a day he/she has already been pencilled for something else.  
  1. Thank Casting Director, call client. 
  1. Discuss with client. If client prefers this pencil, it is up to them to decide to take risk of a) Cancelling first pencil, or b) asking the office to call Casting Director and explain this job is second pencil.  
  1. If the latter option is preferred, the Casting Director needs to be called back and regularly kept in the loop as to the situation. First pencil needs to be chased regularly to see if a confirmation will be offered.  

It is important to remember that the first job that pencils a client is ALWAYS given priority to our ACTer on that day, unless ACTer cancels the pencil.