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Being on “AVAIL”

By Ched Rickman · April 30, 2010

Here’s a little funfact tidbit about the acting game: sometimes after an audition, or a 2nd or 3rd audition, you get a call from your agent informing you that you are on “avail.” What this means, literally, is “you are available.” What it really means is that the casting people really like you and are probably going to cast you in the gig, so keep the wardrobe fitting dates and shoot dates “avail.” It means you basically have the job, but a few other actors have been put on avail as well, so it’s not really yours quite yet.

Another little funfact: It fucking sucks.

There’s a biiiiiiig difference between being on “strong avail” and being booked, but I have no fucking clue what it is. Being on avail blows because you begin to let your mind wander into places best left unexplored, if not armed with concrete knowledge that that is exactly how things are. You begin to adore the idea of leaving work for a day to shoot a commercial. You begin to think about where your chunk of money is going to go, relative to your wardrobe, or home, or addiction to live baseball. You congratulate yourself, you mention it to friends, you feel good about the path your career is heading down; you jinx yourself.

Because, not always, but sometimes, you get the call the next day or something and find out you have been taken off avail. That job you had dangling off your fingertips? It’s been snatched away and given to some other P.O.S. from the Central Time Zone. Back to reality, buddy.

It’s honestly, and ask around for corroboration, the worst thing to hear from an agent. Because even though it means you’re this close to booking, you haven’t, and the wait to hear certainty one way or the other is agonizing. It is better to not even know you’re on avail, because of the presumptions I mentioned above that cannot be avoided. It’s not even that bad to find out you didn’t book, but that’s because you now know; you can dismiss the reverie you’ve been living in and embrace your appetite for the next audition. But being aware that you’re almost off the chopping block but not yet eats at you and dominates your thought process. It’s not fair. It fucking sucks.

When you book, you open up your mind to the concept of victory, success, acting. When you don’t, everything kind of loses it’s luster a little bit. You’re just an average struggling schmoe again. You feel stupid because you’ve duped yourself into thinking you had it already. You were on avail, after all. It’s like scoring that date to Junior Year Prom and then having her retract two weeks later. But it’s worse, because it fucking matters. You just lost a job you almost had. If you can’t tell by now, this JUST happened to me. And trust me, it fucking sucks.

But what the fuck would I know, I’m just an actor.