Since Covid 19 came and flipped the world on its head, this has become much more common practice, particularly within commercials.
What does this mean? In order to make sure shoots can still go ahead in the case of a positive test from their selected actor, many productions engage a Standby or Backup actor. This means the actor will be paid to keep the shoot days free and be ready to step in to the role, should the chosen lead be unable to do so.
Recently (Summer 2022) a practice has emerged of asking if an actor is available for Standby. It is really important that we establish if the request is an offer or an a/v check. If it is the latter, we should treat it like a pencil, i.e. it in no way means you’ve got the job or that you are obligated to keep the dates open.
What does Equity say?
“We would expect artists on standby to receive their full BSF but this is entirely negotiable. The situation is moving far too quickly for us to agree formal terms for this type of engagement with the employers. However, if I’m asked, I say that most agents seem content with a standby fee. The only issue I would make sure is covered is if they are used, they must get the full BSF and buyout in the normal manner. Of course, if a standby has to attend wardrobe or any other such attendance then should be paid the usual rate for it.”Equity
1. Confirm Fee and Contact Client
- Check the client is happy to be a standby/backup
- Ask the contact for the fee via email. Check that this is a firm offer, not just an availability check. If it is the latter, warn the contact that our client may accept other work for those dates if the offer is not confirmed 24 hours before the shoot date.
- Send response straight to iCan and the client to make sure they are happy with the terms or if they need to negotiate.
2. Add to 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, Pencils.
- Amend the ‘Role’ to the name of the role and the word BACKUP/STANDBY
- If it is a straight offer, i.e., one made with now audition or meeting first, scroll down to
- ‘Offers’ and click the ‘+’ sign and all info manually.
- If it has come straight from a submission, scroll down to ‘Offers’ and click the ‘+’ sign and search for the name of the project by typing it into the Bookings search bar.
- If you are converting a Submission, Self Tape, Meeting or Pencil to an offer, click on the relevant booking, scroll down to ‘Offers’ and press the ‘+’ sign.
- Click Pending if you cannot contact the client or they need time to think.
- Click Refused if they are turning the job down.
- If they are accepting, click Accepted.
- Set Offer Date to the date the offer was received
- Click the red ‘Transfer Offer Into a Job’ button.
- Scroll up to ‘Agency Comments’ and log how you received the offer, who it came from and any responses or conversations you have had regarding it.
- Ensure that any further correspondence regarding the booking is added to ‘Agency Comments’ as they occur.
3. 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.
4. 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.
- If the offer has not been accepted, please write it under the ‘Offers’ Heading, with the date of the engagement first, followed by the client initials and the name of the job.
- If the offer has been accepted, please put it under the ‘Work’ heading with the date of the engagement first, followed by the client initials and the name of the job.