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By: Brian Gilleece

New Term for ya' Straight out of corporate America.

pencil-whip Verb (idiomatic) To approve a document without actually knowing or reviewing what it is that is being approved. (idiomatic) To complete a form, record, or document without having performed the implied work or without supporting data or evidence.

I hope you can gather from the definition that this form of document approval is not "best practice." It implies a degree of laziness and lack of attention to detail, a lack of interest or caring. This goes on a lot in corporate America, lots of paperwork, lots of BS, lots of filling out paperwork just so some other person in some other department has a job. You know were it should NEVER go on... Acting.


In general, a frustration that MANY agents and managers have with actors is their lack of attention to detail or their perceived lack of effort. Turning in a bad tape - meaning one that lacks specificity or does not follow the instructions, or is going rogue on the character description, or being late to an in person audition - is BAD BAD BAD news and qualifies as "Pencil Whipping" in this world. This behavior is a big big problem. I'm telling you, it will be... operative phrase today... bad, for you.


Jess went over it yesterday, our job requirement as actors is fundamentally to "Entertain." That's really it but, spiderwebbing off that, WHO, must we entertain? The Audience? Yes. Casting? Yes. Producers? Yes. You're Agent? Big Time Yes. Your Manager? Ughh Yup. Sarah Baker Grillo , Bay Dariz & Jess Canty of course like and respect your work... Does that mean you don't need to impress them? do.


You need Fans. NEED.

Real Fans, not on IG. People who can pick up the phone and write emails for you to casting and production and get you the chances you need to make your own path. You need people who genuinely enjoy and believe in your work, think you have high upside and trust you with their name. Have you thought about that? Your representatives have spent years in this business, building their name, making a living, what you are asking of them, is for THEM to let you use their name to get in the door. Example...


Say you are going to a real hip club, line around the block, but you know a guy, let's call him Tony, who is buddies with the bouncer, you walk up to the bouncer...

YOU: Hey Hey my man, I'm buddies with Tony...
BOUNCER: ...Go on in.

Tony is Your Agent. The Bouncer is Casting. You are You. You see what I'm saying?

What you are asking your agent to do, is vouch for you, and let you use their name to get in the club. But what happens if you get inside and F*ck shit up? Knock over the DJ booth, spill a drink on the owner, and drink all the Zima? You think Tony is gonna let you use his name to get in the club again, or any other club he has connections at? You think he may have reservations about continuing that friendship? And beyond that, you think Tony is affected negatively by letting someone he vouched for come in a jack things up? You think he is going to have some explaining to do to try to save face and keep his reputation with his contacts? You're damn right.

This is all the equivalent to pencil whipping a self-tape, phoning in an audition, or showing any kind of lack of interest or priority. It really, really is. This will all get you "off the list."

If you have an agent who has been around the block and has some real clients, their threshold for what they need to see to let you use their name to get in the club is HIGH and what they can't see is anything below that bar. And guess what, like it or not, that is on YOU to earn that trust - through your work, and your behavior.


You need your Agent and your manager to think you are the bee's knees. Connect with them, find ways to engage, find ways to keep them involved in a positive way.

  • Are you writing audition recaps and CC'ing your agents and manager? (framed positively).

  • Do you know when their birthdays are?

  • Do you follow their clients and congratulate them on wins?

  • Do You give your BEST every single audition?

  • Do you find creative ways to check in every few weeks even if nothing is going on?

  • Can they SEE your passion for this business?


I find value in knowing behind the scene's info, so I share it with you because The More You Know...

Feel like you're dragging in these categories? Have you sent out a tape lately that was not your best? Gone on a meeting or audition and couldn't close? Consistently sending in tapes late or asking for reschedules? Been a ghost or lacked communication with your team? Fix it.

Go. Run Faster. Be better.

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