Friday, February 15, 2019

“On hold,” “On avail,” “Pinned.”

What’s the difference between "On hold," "On avail," and "Pinned"? In reality there is little to no difference between those three phrases. But let’s take a closer look at them.

“On hold” and “pinned” are the same thing. They are used mostly for theatrical projects: films and television shows. The word pinned comes from a time when actors submitted hard copy headshots.

After the auditions, the casting directors would “pin” the headshots of the actors they were interested in up on the wall of the casting office. They might have two or three for each role and it allowed them to study the headshots side by side. For whatever reason, in our digital age, the term is making a comeback. After years of not hearing that phrase, my agent has sent me a number of emails stating that a casting director has pinned me for a role.

Being pinned might mean that it’s between you and one other actor, or maybe two or three others, but usually not more than a total (including you) of four. It’s a good thing – it means you are seriously being considered for the role. But, if you don’t get the role, it can also make you frustrated, knowing that you were so close.

I'm on hold (same as pinned) for a big role right now, and part of me wishes I didn’t know that. It makes me a little nuts every time I get a call or text and it’s not my agent. Last year I did six auditions for different TV shows in a couple of months and I was pinned on four of them. Didn’t get any of the four. But after another one of the auditions during that two month span, my agent simply called to say I'd booked it – no hold or pin.

As for “avail,” it is usually (but not always) used for commercials. It simply means that the casting director is interested in you (along with two or three others) and has called your agent to check that you are available to work on the days of the shoot. Or during the period when the shoot is taking place. They may be shooting for a week, but only need you for a day or two during that week. They may not know the exact day you’ll be working but want to know that you are available during the entire week they are shooting.

None of the terms mean you are booked, or that the producers are obligated to pay you if they don’t use you. The terms simply mean you did good, and are in the running!

As always, if you have a question, drop me a note and I’ll do my best to answer it.



The Actor's Guide To Auditioning


  1. Hello Michael,
    In the same vein of pinnings and holds, what does it mean to be told that you are "on the edit" for a commercial role? I was told this today for a project that requires a flight out of state in a matter of days. The callback was yesterday and whoever books the role will travel (after passing a covid test) in 4 days. Just wondering if "one the edit" is like a way of saying I booked it before they commit to a solid offer.
    Thank you!

  2. Hi. Thank you for your question.
    I have had hundreds of commercial auditions and done principal roles in dozens of commercials AND have never heard this term.

    I also did some research on the term and could find no information.

    If this is a principal role, my best guess is that they are saying you will make the final edit for the commercial. If this is a non-union shoot, then it may be a term that's only used for non-union commercials.

    If you have an agent or manager, you should ask them. If you are talking directly to the casting director, ask them. That's what I would do. Of course you could always do the shoot and if you have the opportunity on set, you could ask the producer. Even with my experience, I never hesitate to ask questions if I don't know what they're talking about.

    Sorry I can't give you a definitive answer. Good luck. And if you find out, write me here and let me know so I can pass it on to any others who need that info.

    Michael D. Nye

  3. Hello Michael, thanks for your reply! It's a SAG-AFTRA network comml, the callback was 2 days ago so I've been on hold/first refusal since then. It flies out next week, so whoever books it should know soon. I asked my agents and was waiting for their answer when I wrote to you. They said I "made the edit" means I was presented to the client in the "final mix",as either a 1st or 2nd choice.

  4. That's great! Best of luck to you on booking it.

  5. When do they take you off of hold or release the hold? The day of or when the person they picked confirms?

  6. They normally release you from the hold when the person they pick confirms.

  7. Audition for cereal commercial by self tape. I was not invited to the Callback but was put on check avail. they had callbacks with other actors?
    Why do you think I was not invited to the Callback but asked to put on check avail. after they held callbacks they did not invite me to?

    1. *They put me on check avail after they held the callbacks. *


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