Most of the friends I've made in Los Angeles over the past year are actors. Some are more like acquaintances than friends (since they don't know my middle name and I don't know theirs), but I'm still on friendly terms with a lot of actors. When we did Torrid Affaire earlier this year, we used friends.
Let me explain. I met a bunch of great girls last summer when I returned to the theatre, and I didn't want to let our chemistry go to waste. I asked Andrew to direct us in [unnamed & overproduced play that has great roles for women that we didn't get the rights to]. He agreed and cast the show with the best character fits from my cast and a couple other friends. We informed each of them of our intentions, and all my castmates who were invited jumped on board. We did a first reading and found out two weeks later we didn't get the rights. So what to do? Andrew wrote Torrid Affaire with these ladies in mind, writing to the strengths of these actresses. One of our friends and one of my castmates had to drop out of the show due to time conflicts, so we auditioned and recast the roles and we auditioned and cast the male lead from another show we did. It was a great show and we had a lot of fun, and we pulled it off with people we knew. It helps to make friends around here, and it's even better if you make the friendships without thinking about what the other people can do for you.
After the show was over, we discovered we upset some other friends for not inviting them to audition for the show. Now, as I mentioned before, these roles were written with specific people in mind. The two roles we auditioned for weren't the right casting for every friend we had. We had limited time so we invited in the friends we knew would fit in with the current cast and had some of the best natural attributes to serve those specific roles. We didn't set out to piss anyone off, but we managed to.
I did a show last fall that a friend was producing. There was a role (small according to the breakdown, but a role nonetheless) that was suitable for me, so I auditioned. Several days after the audition I found out I was cast. Cool. I didn't expect to be cast just because she was my friend.
I had an audition earlier this year for a play that another friend was producing. There were three roles I could fit, so I submitted and the friend auditioned me. I never got a call or email that said I was cast, so I'm guessing that since the show was planned for March they didn't want to use me for this piece. Cool. I didn't expect to be cast just because she was my friend.
Andrew's writing another play. Yes, I'm cast. Yes, he's writing for me. He also has three other personalities that he's writing for, but we're auditioning for all three of those roles. He's been approached by a few people since Torrid Affaire asking to audition for his next play. So here's the conundrum: Should we audition people who are absolutely not right for the roles just to keep friends from being offended? (The roles are for a son, a mom and a dad, and the son has to be shorter than the dad but look good next to me.) What's the appropriate thing? What's the proper code of conduct?