Actors with Binders (not full of women)


I see them every day: actors on the subway. Sometimes I can spot them because they are wearing a touch too much make up early in the morning. Often, I see them quietly talking to themselves, running lines, and practicing inflections. The dead give away, however, is the binder. When I see someone on the subway with an open binder, I know I’ve spotted an actor. The highlighted lines in the script and intense gesticulation are just further proof that there is an actor in my midst.


Sometimes, I will recognize the actor from the stage or TV, and I try to discreetly get a look inside his/ her process. Other times I will recognize the actor because her headshot has crossed my desk a few times. That’s what happened today. One piece of advice for actors that also applies to life in general: you never know whom you’re standing next to so be nice to everybody. The actress who this morning stepped on my foot (no apology), then flipped her hair in my face (the train wasn’t that crowded), and then finally pushed a clearly pregnant lady will have a difficult time getting seen by me in the future. Maybe it’s petty of me to hold this behavior against her, but the fact is that if I’m going to bring in someone for a job, I want to know that she will be pleasant and positive on set. I know in my gut that I will never be comfortable booking her, and when I don’t trust my gut I usually regret it.


So actor friends, soldier on with your subway script reading. I love to watch you work. Just keep in mind that the person sitting next to you could be a casting director, talent agent, director, or producer so be on your best behavior.


3 thoughts on “Actors with Binders (not full of women)

  1. Daniel Jude Gennis says:

    I love this article because it is so true. Even here in London. I recall when first entering the business as an Extra, I used to know at glance who was going to the same job as myself. No one looks lost so early in the morning in London. Even now I can tell who the extras are. Again no one carries so much luggage so early in London, while looking totally lost. After my years as an actor I still find it hard to distinguish who is an actor on the London Underground as everyone is so guarded. People tend to know what I do because I have no fear of taking out my script and reading it through and this is not just when travelling to studio or location but everywhere. My script is the only reading material once I have been hired for the job. And you mentioned behaviour and how important this is. Not just when on the job but in your everyday life. Like you say you never know who is standing next to you so be nice to everyone. You never know.

    Thanks for a great article.


  2. Tanesha says:

    Conversely, as a playwright/Producer, I Love it when I find myself sitting next to Artistic Directors or Managing Directors of theater companies…I sit and listen to their woes and joys of their trade, silently take notes and include that tidbit in the next correspondence I have with them. IF I am lucky enough to get their name or the company name. Great Article!

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