I once had a teacher who was big on following directions. He gave a very lengthy and extensive exam, which would take the entire class period to complete. Because we knew it was going to take every minute, we all started quickly without reading and following the directions. After grueling over the answers and working at a feverish pace, we began one by one getting to the final question, which wasn’t a question at all. It was a statement telling us to look at the top of the test paper. The statement said, “Directions: If you simply put your name on the paper and hand it in, you will receive 100 points for a perfect score.
Needless to say, we all felt pretty stupid for having not followed the directions. We could have saved ourselves a lot of stress. As simple as it seems, more often than not we all forget to follow directions. Do you remember starting to take a test in school and about half way through realizing that you were filling in the answers in the wrong space? You had to start over from the beginning because you did not follow directions. Well in the entertainment business not following directions can have much more severe consequences.
If you are on a job and you don’t fill out the production report properly, you may not receive all of the money that you are due. If you put your address in the wrong place, you may not receive your check at all. If you don’t fill out your tax form, you won’t receive your check. If you don’t list your social security number properly, you may not receive credit for the taxes withheld from your pay. These are all very serious matters that will have a direct impact on your life and career. When you get listed with an agency, you are asked to fill out forms with important contact information.
If you don’t follow the directions, the agency may not be able to contact you when they have a job for you because you didn’t fill the form out properly. We have had a number of people send in a payment along with their headshot and resume to be posted in the StarSearchCasting. com online talent database and they did not read the directions. We weren’t able to put them on until we sent them a listing agreement to fill out. The directions tell you to print out the agreement, complete it and mail it back with the other materials, but because we are all in a hurry, some people don’t read the instructions.
One of the most important reasons to read and understand instructions is because you will probably sign many agreements, disclaimers, and releases in your career. If you don’t take the time to read and understand what it is that you are signing, you could end up in a lot of trouble. You may sign away important rights or sign away most of the money that you will earn or give creative control of your career. If you intend to have a prosperous career, you will need to handle it with care. Take the time to read and follow directions in life and it will make life a lot easier.