The process of actually getting work as an actor is a complicated and harrowing one.
You start off as one of thousands, submitted for a job by your agent and somehow, by some miracle from a photo and CV alone you are chosen to audition.
This is the first achievement, to be seen. Many actors fail to realise that to get even this is a success of sorts, a small win.
Then you audition and hope that your ability and talent wins the day rather than your look or the terrible unimaginative casting brief that acts as a straight jacket. You need to think they they have no idea what they want until they see it. And that 'it' will be you.*
Then comes the recall, the whittling down of the hundreds into a handful, although as they have to pay you for a recall they have got less common and many people, the rich people, use recalls as extensions of the original audition, most demoralising if you feel you're making progress.
If after the initial submission and the audition and the recall they like you then the act of pencilling occurs, dates are checked, availability is confirmed and the job is within touching distance.
This is 'getting pencilled'.
This used to mean you had the job int eh bag bar the shouting, or it was down to you and one other but again, as the climate changes, pencils are being used willy-nilly, to pin down actors and to cover all the bases.
If you're really, really lucky, you'll get the job.
Thousands become just one.
* A funny thing happened to me last week that both knocked and boosted my confidence, I went for a double act audition with my new buddy Martin, we riffed for about 15 minutes and knocked 'em dead, not only were they laughing and we got called amazing but the room full of industry people clapped.
Let me put this into perspective, people never clap at auditions, it is not the done thing but we killed it. Of course, we didn't get the job, our 'look' wasn't right and I don't want anyone to labour under the mis-apprehension that talent always rises to the top in show business. The good will out does not apply to this job.