Posted in Casting
Answer: After an audition, you may get a phone call from your agent with the news that the casting office has “put a pin in you.” What this means is… (continued in David’s answer below)
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Answer: After an audition, you may get a phone call from your agent with the news that the casting office has “put a pin in you.” What this means is that the casting office has recommended you as a potential hire to the production team. This does not mean you’ve booked the job, just that you’re a finalist.
Being pinned should be considered an acting victory. You don’t have any control over what the final decision is, so take the time to celebrate getting this far in the process. What happens from here is entirely up to the producers, the studio, the network and the availability of the other actors that are also pinned.
Yes, there are other actors in the mix at this point, all pinned like you are. Think of it as a virtual array of headshots, “pinned” to an imaginary corkboard. Hence, the term “pinned.”
The equivalent phrase, most often used by commercial casting directors, is “being put on avail,” or being asked to keep a date open for a potential booking. Being pinned is similar in a couple of ways.
First, you’re not the only actor that’s pinned. The very reason they pin you (instead of just going ahead and offering you the role) is that the production team has a few choices in mind but want to make sure you’re available. This doesn’t mean you’re their first choice for the part, but you might be.
Second, you can’t let this distract you from other auditions or work. Being pinned is not a booking, so you can’t assume you can’t audition for other parts, or work other jobs while you’re waiting to hear if you get the job. Just go about your business, and let casting and the production office do their jobs.
And be sure to let the casting office know if your availability changes. If for some reason you can’t do the gig, you need to help casting make their eventual decision without you. Don’t make them do unnecessary work, only to find you’re out.
Pinning, as opposed to booking, can happen for any number of reasons, but a likely scenario is that production is not decided on ethnicity or body type for your role. The balance of the cast needs to meet network standards for diversity and creative standards for comedy and drama in an episode or film. This doesn’t mean that if they eventually pass on you that you weren’t the best actor in the audition room, just that you weren’t the right actor for this particular job.
It also very well may be that the show has an offer out to a name actor whose representatives haven’t yet responded to that offer, or they haven’t been able to close the booking for that name actor. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pinned, only to be released, and then later seen the episode on the air with a celebrity in the role. Again, this doesn’t mean you aren’t great at your audition, just that a bigger name got the call. Someday, you’ll be that bigger name.
It’s important to relax and not get too crazy when you get a pin put in you. It’s the perfect time to practice restraint – don’t bug your agent or manager, and do not call casting to see if there’s “any updates.” Just let the process happen.
And remember, this is an indication that you’ve booked the room. It means that both casting and production see something in you, and that you might just get the part. You’ve gotten past every other auditioning actor to get that pin in you – be proud. And be ready to report to set should the pinning become a booking.
What’s your answer to this acting question? Let me know in the comments below.
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Just got my first pin and really appreciate finding your answer here. Happy to have “booked the office”!
A thorough answer in terms of definition…and also: very sound and grounded advice regarding the mental and emotional attitude that one should have in this experience. thanks!
How long does it usually take from getting “pinned” to getting an official answer whether you’ve booked it or not?
There is no set time, but a day or two is not uncommon. It could be a lot longer, though, and it could be as short as a few hours as the writers/producers make their casting choices.
Remember – it’s times like these when you don’t try to pin down a rule, since there is none; you just let the process work and don’t add anxiety where none needs to exist. Just go about your business, and let the chips fall where they may.
this was THE go-to for the 411 on being pinned! got my first pin yesterday, and i appreciate the info!!!
I got “pinned” last Thursday for a guest star role on a network episodic..
I’m trying to let it all go and show restraint – it is quite difficult, but I know it’s the right thing to do..
I did “book the room”..and that is important for future opportunities..
^ Exactly what he said except my pin is for an upcoming Netflix series. It’s been a few days now and I’m doing my absolute best to not think about it or let it eat me up. It’s possibly my least favorite part about this business. Fingers continue to stay crossed though!
This is VERY helpful, as I just got “pinned” today–I think: My agent asked me to confirm my availability and “pin the [shoot] dates.” Is that the same as getting a pin in me? It seems so, but just wanted to make sure your all your information and good advice applied to me.
You’re exactly right – you’ve been pinned! Congratulations!
When you get pinned but don’t get it, do they always release you? Or just sometimes as a courtesy? I’m pinned for a show but the episode is scheduled to have already started shooting this week, I assume I’m released but don’t know for sure.
Don’t assume anything. Although it’s likely they released you (and your agent would know or could call and find out definitively), you don’t know whether the shoot has been rearranged, delayed, cancelled or that the part still even exists. They’ll call you if you got the part. Leave room open in case something slipped through the crack, but yes, they usually call to tell you you’ve been released.
Just got my first pin on Monday for a guest star on a sit-com. My 2nd pin this year but I haven’t booked the role yet. I was so bummed however I wish I would have read this article days ago. This article was so helpful to being in the right mental attitude. Before I have to admit that I was bitter and pissed but now I’m cool. Great article! Thank you and now I need my glasses:)
Thank you! Glad to help!
I received a call checking my availability on specific dates but they didn’t mention or say anything about being “pinned”. A week later I got a message confirming me for the BG role on a different date. Then they were upset that I wasn’t available. This was from a Casting company that in the past had booked me on a shoot and then I never heard back from them with the details for the shoot. Are flaky practices like this common with BG Casting? Any advice on what to do in situations like this? Thank for the great article.
Pins aren’t usually mentioned for anything but principal work. BG casting offices don’t tend to get that involved or granular with the process of booking PG performers.
I started out as an actor and then made the switch to casting about 17 years ago, working mostly in Television and Theatre in NY.
“Pinning” is a bunch of nonsense. Producers can’t handle rejection from actors so they make agents and casting directors have to do then extra work of keeping real time availability of actors who they might want the option to hire.
To be clear, sure, individually, if you are an actor, fine, yes, getting “pinned” is a sign of further potential interest and that is always better than no further potential interest.
Collectively, however, it is bad for actors, agents and casting directors because now we have to do all this extra work because the producers take too long to decide and/or can’t handle the rejection when it goes the other way on occasion.
In fact, I have seen it happen so many times that producers were leaning toward one actor but when another actor suddenly was going to be unavailable they wanted that actor instead (FOMO?) that now if I think an actor is really deserving – and also the most “right” for the part – I will encourage their reps to say they are being offered another job and need an answer. This has resulted in that actor getting an immediate offer more often than not.
At the end of the day, if they really want you they will offer and not “pin.” “Pinning” is mostly when offers are out to name/star talent, or with roles that are particularly dependent upon how other larger roles get cast.
And I have talked to more than one casting colleague who, although we all hate having to do it, are considering making it standard practice but only because producers blame us when they tell us to make an actor the offer and we have to tell them the actor is no longer available, even though the producers waited until the last possible moment to make the offer.
Glad I found this post. I was really bummed out about a pin I received for a very popular show. I wasn’t available for 4 of the 12 shooting dates. When told I was pinned my agent explained to me that Pin meant that I was the first choice and would be offered the role if I was available for all 12 of the outside dates. We then discovered the shoot day would occur on one of the 4 days that I would not be available. While still in pin status and operating on the information that I was the first choice if available all 12 days, I went about the task of changing my travel plans, until it was clear that doing so would not be financially feasible, in addition to screwing up travel plans for others in my party. So I had to pass on what I thought was a sure thing. Now from reading this post, I feel a little better that it might not have been such a sure thing after all, and that I could have changed my plans and still not have booked it. Glad to know I booked the room though, as it was a tough office to get into. Hoping they call me back in real soon.
Thanks for clearing this up, I’ve been pinned before, and I just got pinned this morning with a call from my agent. It’s gratifying and reassuring to know you booked the room!
Solid info and advice as always David! Thank you! Could you explain the difference between being “pinned” for a tv show and being ion “first refusal”? I think they are the same but not sure! Thanks!
Here’s what the union has to say about “first refusal”:
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