Pencil Bookings FAQs

What is a pencil?

A pencil is a ‘provisional booking’.  it means your time on particular dates  is ‘promised’ to a client and that they have first refusal. It’s often the step before a booking is confirmed, clients may ask to pencil dates weeks or days before the job is actually scheduled to take place.  Usually pencils are confirmed a short while after they are made. Therefore if another client offers you work that conflicts with the pencilled time, you must give the client who pencilled you, the opportunity to confirm or release you before taking alternative work.

What’s the agency perspective on pencils?

We take pencils seriously and do not pencil people without the client’s knowledge, or ‘just in case’. We do everything in our power to ensure our talent are busy, informed and happy.  This includes managing the communications involved in sourcing, pencilling, negotiating and confirming work.  We are conscious that the security of confirmed work is critical to freelancers and so we procure to develop good relationships with talent and clients.  Our aim is to develop great work opportunities for our talent and certainty for our clients that they can reliably book great quality talent with Blueberry.

What do I do if I get offered an alternative job that overlaps with dates I’m pencilled?

Get in touch straight away, we will chase the client to confirm or release you. Get in touch if you’re approached about a different job with overlapping dates, we’ll chase the client to confirm or release you and if necessary provide a replacement.  Most clients understand the nature of freelancing and in the event they cannot confirm they will not want to stand in the way of you taking confirmed work. If it’s the case that you would rather do the other job, then let us know and we will let the client know, offer a replacement person and manage their expectations to create a smooth transition.

Why do clients pencil before they confirm?

Clients pencil to secure the services of a particular person to work on their project. In some cases the client might need time to finalise details that will affect the final booking – eg other crew members, dates and facilities.  So making a pencil booking reserves the person they’d like to work with, who can then be confirmed once it’s certain all the details are in place.

Is there financial compensation when a client releases a pencil?

No, a pencil is provisional (not contracted) and the client can release it with no financial penalty.  Once a pencil is made we pursue confirmation to secure the work.   We do not support clients confirming at the last minute as this jeopardises the opportunity to secure alternative work should the pencil be released.

What do I do if I’m offered a pencil booking?

Be sure you can take it on and pop it in your diary. In the event a client asks to pencil you for an upcoming project, we will inform you as quickly as possible to ensure the dates work for you and to place the pencil.  You are not obligated to accept this pencil, do say if you’re unsure or if you know in that moment of any pre-existing pencils or bookings that conflict with the dates you’re being pencilled for.

What if I have a personal emergency that affects my pencil or booking?

Please let us know ASAP. Should you have a personal situation arise that will impact on your pencil / booking we will mediate with the client to reach an agreeable solution – whether negotiating a new schedule or replacing you. We treat all information confidentially and will only divulge personal information to the client with your permission.

What if things change and I can no longer do the pencil or booking I’ve been scheduled for?

It is vital that you do not release yourself from a pencil or booking, without giving reasonable notice and explanation. When clients have a freelancer pencilled or confirmed and are let down by a change of availability, it can have serious consequences for; schedules, co-ordination of other crew members, logistics, costs, confidence and reputations. Unless there is a real emergency out of your control, it should be possible to provide some notice. This can be as simple as calling or emailing the office to inform somebody of the change so that we can explain the change to the client and provide a solution if necessary.

What if I’ve been offered the same work with a different agency?

Be transparent! Let us know if you know or think this to be the case.  Usually clients will book on a first agency basis – whoever put the person forward first is the agency who will progress the booking. If ever in any doubt about anything, the best course of action is to speak with you Agent, let them know what’s on your mind and they will work to create a solution.