The Gift of a Cancelled Booking (or Two)

Missed opportunities, obstacles, and disappointments. Sometimes bad news becomes a blessing that we don’t recognize until a later time.

Recently, I had two on-camera bookings scheduled that I was rather excited about. A political commercial and a training video, both of which would pay fairly well and allow me to work with people whom I greatly respected.

Both were cancelled the day before their scheduled shoots for different reasons. One was an indefinite postponement and the other was a last-minute change in the script that completely eliminated my character.

It happens.

Quite disappointing, as you can imagine, but the cancellations turned out to be …


A Blessing in Disguise

I had cleared my calendar on those dates to accommodate the bookings, because on-camera work can take anywhere from a few short hours to 12+ hours on set. You want to give the client and their project your full attention. It’s a bad idea to try to squeeze something else in on the off chance that the shoot day could end early. Murphy (see an earlier post!) ensures that it’s rarely going to work in your favor.

Then the call came in. A family emergency out of town that required me to leave immediately for an indefinite length of time.

Within seconds, disappointment over the lost bookings transformed into major sighs of relief. Otherwise, I would have to deal with the stress of either:

  1. Telling my agent and the client that I had to cancel my involvement last minute, which could have damaged my reputation with each. Generally, it’s acceptable (though not happily received) to cancel the actor last minute. NOT the other way around. Though to be fair, I’m sure they’d understand the circumstances of an emergency. But neither would forget that this particular talent caused the client delay and extra work or expense to find a replacement.

  2. Doing the job and then flying out immediately afterwards to deal with the emergency. This would not have gone over well with family members, some of whom do not take artistic pursuits seriously or understand that bailing out on bookings in the 11th hour is a major problem. The corporate world is more forgiving. I know, I spent years working in it and the usual response to a family emergency was “Go! Do what you need to do.” And in a family emergency, it’s rather challenging to focus on the job at hand when you’re in emotional turmoil.

What would I have done? Family comes first. It has to, regardless of personal cost. Though if push came to shove, I would see if another close family member could attend the emergency until I could get there, unless it was so serious that I HAD to be there myself ASAP.

But still … thank goodness the choice was taken out of my hands.


No Man (or Woman) is an Island

I’m a private person. I don’t air personal difficulties or grievances publicly. Usually. I do what has to be done and deal with the emotional fallout later afterwards. I’d make a pretty good soldier in that respect.

But as human beings, there are times when we need other people for help and support. In my case, that’s other family members. It’s good to know that they have my back and that I can call on them when needed. I don’t like to burden friends and acquaintances – good people, all of them, willing to supply emotional support – if at all possible. From a humorous perspective, it would just be too exhausting to keep everyone up-to-date as the situation progressed. And I’m not about to post anything online about it.

What DID help sustain me was the fun and camaraderie I had enjoyed at two recent networking events the week prior.


You Don’t Know What You Need Until You Do

The first event was put on by my local business community, the Buckhead Business Association. They host an annual foodie event called Taste of Atlanta, which truthfully was equal parts Swig of Atlanta (my name for it), since it seemed to lean so heavily into sampling adult beverages. Great for some, but I’m petite and make for a cheap date. A little sip goes along way.

Most of the food offered was desserts. Hey, I like sugar as much as the next chocoholic, but again, a little goes a long way. Too bad I didn’t know to eat dinner at home first. Or at least plenty of salads and veggies to assuage the guilt of gorging on too many empty calories. (Yes, there was some other food, but most of it was meat-based and I’m a vegetarian.) It was an upbeat event and I met some great, interesting people and totally enjoyed networking in person once again.

The second event was a weekend-long barbeque hosted by audio engineer extraordinaire “Uncle Roy” Yokelson of Antland Productions, who helped me create and equip my broadcast-qualilty home voiceover studio. This was his 17th annual VO BBQ social event, attended by approximately 150 voice actors and industry professionals throughout the country – and beyond. I saw a few familiar faces, now sprung from their little Zoom boxes into full 3D physical form, and made many, many new friends. Voice over is a wonderful community, full of generous people who treat each other as colleagues, not competition. I went home happy and charged up to take on the day.