The Pin. The Avail. The Hold.
You’ve auditioned for a spot. You’ve moved on and forgotten about it.
Out of the blue, your agent calls and says, “Congratulations! You’re on avail,” or “Congratulations! They put a pin in you.”
You scratch your head, and you reply, “Thank you – I think?”
What does all that mean?
When a casting person is finalizing the booking of talent, they will almost always cover their bases by checking on the availability of, commonly, the client’s top three choices.
If their number one pick is available, they’ll release the other two prior to the session.
And if their top pick isn’t available, they’ll work their way down the list.
That’s being “on avail,” or “on hold.”
You need to let them know if you actually are available on that date at that time, and you’re not actually booked until they call you back and you hear the words, “You booked it!”
You may or may not hear from them telling you that you are released – it would be nice if that happened all the time, but casting people are busy, busy, busy.
Increasingly, the phrase “put a pin in you” is being used for “on avail” or “on hold.” That phrase comes from the theatrical practice of pinning a headshot to the wall with the producer’s final choices, then going with their best picks for the booking.
Hope this helps.
Its funny you would post this today about being on “avail”. I was going to email you and ask what it really meant. I auditioned on last Weds. at The Voicecaster, where I’ve taken classes, for an infomercial spot. I got a call on Friday evening asking my availability for Tuesday morning. Then yesterday I got a called stating that the client was not ready for Tuesday morning and wanted me to be ” on avail” for Weds. all day. I sat thinking “did I get it?” “is this a call back?” I also emailed my agent Jennifer at Synergy and she told me what it meant and then you post this….. AND I just now got a call releasing me from being on “avail” but hey at least I was considered… whoo hoo!
Thanks for being such a great inspiration to all of us VO folks 🙂
My pleasure – and you did your job. Getting the avail is beyond your control, but impossible unless you’re in the mix of choices for the role. Fantastic!
What’s it mean when they ask if we would relocate?
Without any more details than the word “relocate,” I’d assume they are asking if you’d be willing to move to the city in which they are shooting the project, and live there entirely at your own expense, with no per diem or housing reimbursement from the production. This would usually be for a long term project, like a season’s worth of episodes (or more) of a TV series.
If you have any more details that would clarify your question, please reply.
In the UK, as we audition less and get cast more from our reels (yes, I know, we’re lucky) our system is slightly different. An availability check is when the agency is long listing suggestions for the client, and checks with your agent that you could be around in principle to do the job (you’re not away on tour or some such). A pencil is when you are shortlisted down to maybe two or three voice, but them haven’t made a definite decision about either the voice or perhaps the session time they want to book you for. A heavy pencil means it’s probably your job but again they aren’t booking yet so there is no firm commitment. After all the whole campaign may go away before recording! .
My theatrical agent has given me two other reasons for “a pin in you”- the scene may not end up in the final script or they don’t know the shoot date. The last is very important to the production, since they have to pay you if they book you and have to change the date.
Like you said, it usually means it’s between you and somebody else. It’s a good thing! Enjoy the compliment!
David, On the East Coast – granted, in my limited experience in New York, Philly and Baltimore/DC – “avail” was simply an availability check of an individual for shoot/record day(s). Perhaps it’s dated now, but “first refusal” was the phrase used in those markets that talent in LA understand as “on avail” or “on hold.” That can be confusing for actors new to working both sides of the country. In any event, thanks for clearing that up. As always, great information to have.
It used to be they’d put you “on hold,” but then SAG enforced the time frame in which they can release you without paying you. So the industry simply changed the word from “hold” to “avail,” defeating the purpose of the clause in the contract that let’s you know within a reasonable time frame if you are booked or not.
It’s very individual from agent to agent and client to client, just how many people really get their hopes up for a job with an “avail” or even a call back. You could be one of 2 or as many as 15. Bottom line, you don’t know until they’ve ruled out every possible chink in production or casting preference.
Recently, I was pinned for two auditions. After being released I came to find my automatic CC renewal for SAGAFTRA wasn’t valid due to a new card therefore I wasn’t paid up. I couldn’t help but wonder if this could have been a big reason for me not being picked. I understand as far as commercials casting can get slammed for booking non paid up actors, does the same go for theatrical jobs or is that something they could work out or would just rather not bother? It’s been eating away at me and I can’t find anything related online. I would appreciate a response if anyone has any knowledge of this.
Bryan, have you gotten an answer?
You will not lose a job because you owe SAG dues. But if it is a union job, you will have to pay and be current in order to be able to do the job
Thank you David! That is the exact information I was looking for!