Thursday, January 26, 2017
The madness of pilot season for actors
Yes, that one magic time of the year when networks greenlight pilots for the upcoming season. So let the casting begin!
For local Los Angeles residents, this explains why there’s now gridlock on the freeways, constant lines at Starbucks, and no sublets or rental cars are available from El Centro to Pismo Beach.
This is a pressure-packed time for actors. There’s never a guarantee that you’re going to land a pilot… unless you’re Kim Raver.
It gets to the point they’re not just passing each other on Coldwater Canyon; they’re passing themselves.
And those thesps not in the game hope to get in the game. Their agents and managers are frantically on the phone to casting directors, begging them to see their clients. There are lots of actors who fly across the country at their own expense, find housing for two months, and never get a single audition.
On the other hand, the truly lucky actors who are hot now face difficult decisions. They’re offered four separate pilots. Which to take? Which looks like it might go? Which looks like it has good writers at the helm? Which films in Vancouver? Which looks like it has legs? Saying yes to a pilot commits you for several years if it gets picked up. Are you signing up for a trip to the moon or the Hotel California? And you need to make those decisions NOW because they’re moving on in fifteen minutes.
The pilot season is brief. About a month for the first round. Once the pilots start filming the second round begins. That’s because networks routinely fire one or more actors after table readings. And sometimes those fired actors can still latch onto another pilot.
So the most insane game of musical chairs commences. Producers have their own hell, but my heart goes out to these actors. Pilot season can be life changing. It can also be soul-crushing. There’s only so many times the guard at the Galaxy Avenue gate doesn’t have your drive-on before you want to blow your brains out. Or the last parking space in the lot was taken… by Kim Raver.