Casting Updates You Should Know
Termination of the Return to Work Agreement
The Return to Work Agreement is the industry’s COVID-19 safety measures for working on sets, negotiated by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the industry’s Unions. As of May 12, 2023, the Return to Work Agreement and its provisions terminated, with certain exceptions. One of these exceptions includes productions that implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for Zone A (including Background Actors) prior to May 12, 2023 being able to continue with the policy for the remainder of production or season.
As a Background Actor, this means that while some productions may cease mandatory vaccination policies for Zone A, others may continue with their mandatory vaccination policy and COVID-19 testing requirements. As always, it’s extremely important to read your casting messages and booking details carefully so you understand the role requirements and what’s expected on set.
Rush calls and replacements
Rush calls are used to make replacements or additions for same-day work. You may be familiar with rush testing, which is used to get someone to pre-employment COVID-19 testing within a time window that same day. With the termination of the Return to Work Agreement, there will be more opportunities for rush calls, which would require you to work that day, sometimes even needing to get to set within an hour.
Depending on call times, replacements can be made throughout the day and night, but are most common overnight and in the early mornings.
When booking rush calls and replacements, Casting Directors will reach out with an availability inquiry or post to the Jobs page. If you don’t check the Jobs page frequently, we recommend checking back often as Casting Directors will likely post rush call and replacement opportunities as they come up.
Whether responding to a message or submitting for a job, it’s extremely important to read all the information given to you completely and be honest about your ability to make it to set by the required time. Some calls may require you to get to set as soon as possible with certain wardrobe or props. If you respond as available and the Casting Director reaches out to offer you the job only to find out you don’t have the necessary wardrobe or you can’t make it in time, that doesn’t help you, the Casting Director, or production.
Depending on the situation, a Casting Director may call you directly with details. Be sure to keep a pen and paper handy to write down all the information given, like project name, role, the name of the person you’re replacing (if applicable), shoot location, wardrobe details, and the name of the Casting Director who booked you.
Reminders about first avail
Los Angeles and New York
If you fit the requirements for a role, a Casting Director may reach out with an availability inquiry asking if you are available for a certain date or date range. If you do respond as available, they may follow up with a first avail offer. First avail is not an offer of work, it means the Casting Director cannot book you right away, often because they are waiting on additional information or requirements from production. Remember, you are not booked until you accept an offer for work and receive details.
If you’re on first avail but get offered a job on a different project for the same date, call your Central Casting office right away to explain the situation to the Casting Director. The first avail project may opt to hire you first.
Also, any time you are on first avail and your availability changes, call Central Casting as soon as possible to let us know. That way our Casting Directors can communicate with production and reach out to additional Background Actors.
Georgia and Louisiana
Often, the first message you’ll receive from a Casting Director is an availability inquiry asking if you are available for a certain date or date range. If you do respond as available, and the Casting Staff is able to use you, they will follow up with a first avail offer. First avail is an offer of work, but you must accept to be considered booked. Remember, you are not booked until you accept an offer for work. Details for the job will come as soon as Casting Directors receive additional information or requirements from production.