Don’t Forget To Sign Out

Hey, there!

I got a check in the mail today from an ad agency. For $34.54. It wasn’t a residual. It was a penalty payment.

All because a casting session was running behind. Why?

This is of particular importance to union voice talent – and is another reason why you should be striving to get your SAG-AFTRA card.

When you go to an audition, if you’re made to wait any longer than 60 minutes, you’re due a small penalty payment for that waiting time. $37 gross, in this case, which isn’t a lot, but certainly is a nice surprise. I plan on taking someone special out for a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free celebration with this little windfall.

However you spend your payment, remember that the only way you’ll get it is if you do one last thing when leaving the audition:

Sign out.

Yes. On the SAG-AFTRA sign-in sheet, you probably are used to signing in with your name, union member number, agency, time called and time actually in, your initials, which call it is, your age range and race.

But once finished with their audition, most people bolt for the door.

Don’t. Take a moment and sign out with the time you’re finished. There’s a column for it, just to the right of Actual Time of Arrival.

Don’t think that the casting director will be pissed off for you doing so – if they are running late, it’s usually the production team’s fault, and it’s up to production to pay you, not the CD. And the CD’s not going to blacklist you for exercising one of the protections that union membership affords you.

So, before you leave, note the time and sign out.

And yes, this applies to both on-camera and on-mic auditions.

What’s your process when you audition? Do you fill everything out? Did you know the penalties are paid by the production team, not the casting director? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Hope this helps.



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  1. it’s my understanding – based on confirmation from several cd friends – that on the first audition, the cd pays, though on subsequent ones the production company does. i’ve been reticent to sign out on first audi’s because of this, though heck yeah i do on second ones (and i sign IN on thirds, even though i’ve been asked not to…. don’t get me started)

    does this only pertain to the on-camera world? is this old info? or am i just backwards?

    1. It’s not new info to me, and it should pertain to all auditions, not just VO or on-camera – but now you have me wanting to confirm it yet again with SAG-AFTRA. Which I will do on Monday.


    2. “on the first audition, the cd pays, on subsequent ones the production company does” is my understanding too. I do sign out and have received checks for $37. I think it helps protect us all from them abusing our time (intentionally or not). It keeps them on their toes. (Remember the days of non-union cattle calls and waiting for hours! So happy to be SAG for the last xx years!) Once I had a cd (who I adore) call my agent and request that they call me and get permission to sign me out earlier because he/she was the one who was going to have to pay and he/she wasn’t making that much on that job.

  2. I’ve been told the same as Kara, so I’ve been careful (though I’ve almost never been kept overtime on a first call, come to think of it). I’d be curious to find out the real scoop!
    I must say I do LOVE those little bonus checks. $37.00 is $37.00!

  3. I always sign out, but recently (in the last year or two) I’ve had CDs glare at me for doing it if they’ve been running late. Sometimes they’ve already taken the sign in sheet away. And it’s also intimidating to be the only initials in the column, which I usually am. Other actors are definitely not doing this.

    Have you had CDs give you angry or exasperated looks, and if so, how do you handle it?

  4. Hey, David,

    It has always surprised me that L.A. actors don’t sign out at auditions; my San Francisco agents were adamant that we sign out. I’ve received several of those $37 checks over the years (and one for considerably more due to an overt situation with racial overtones).

    Yes, I’m usually the only one on the page who bothers to sign out, here in L.A., but it’s one of those perks our unions fought for: that if our time is wasted, for whatever reason or from whoever’s fault, we will be paid for it. We are, after all, worth it.

  5. Great bit of information that more than perked up my ears. It definitely pays (in more than just words) to follow directions and protocol. I will be signing on both sides of those columns effective immediately. It could lead to an extra bag of goodies from Trader Joes!

  6. Hear Hear! YES! I have been PREACHING this for years. So glad you brought this topic up. I have always signed in and out on all auditions. I have also received $$ for my time spent sitting and waiting. Once I got lucky where the wait was 3 hours. Boom!