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Are you getting emails and text messages daily from websites promising acting work?
If not, you are very lucky. I get more spam from these rip-off artists than African inheritance commission promises and Canadian Pharmacy deals. The emails were bad enough. Now I have to get text messages?
I just got a Facebook Message form a colleague from High School and College asking about the reputation of two companies. I am far from the expert on the subject and there are hundreds of legitimate casting directors and agents that I would not recognize.
I have two perspectives on the subject.
One as performer; Two as Producer/Casting Director from my own projects.
As a performer, I know every teacher I have ever worked with said NEVER pay up front to agents for acting or models. Legit Agents and Casting Directors never ask for money from talent. They are paid on commission or directly by producer of project. I did spend money to list my resume and info for a few months on more than one site. I never got any work that warranted the listing. I did get some promotional work as a result but the ROI was minimal considering all the time I put into the setting up of resumes etc. Many of these sites cost $10-15/month. Great deals on 6-month and annual subscriptions.
AS a producer, casting the Improv show, EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH, and its spin offs, I post notices now in Backstage and Playbill ONLY. I get submissions from amazing professionally trained talent that are really in the know. Or at least as much in the know one can be. But most are studio or college trained with some credits coming in. These are talented individuals that understand the need to audition and audition often to forward their careers. In the early days I would post notices on a number of sites that were free to me. We did get some great talented folks but at each audition there would be one amazing performer amidst twenty wannabes. I always says New York has the best and worst to offer in every area of the arts and culture. We would the most extreme examples.
If you want to be an actor....
Read Backstage weekly and check out the auditions. Even if you do not plan on auditioning, know what is out there.
AUDITION every week. Preferable 2-3 times/week if not currently working/rehearsing a project.
Pick up ROSS REPORTS once a year to have updated list of agents and casting directors. I personally get little out of the articles monthly and listings do not change that much month to month. Over the course of a year however, enough agents and CDs change addresses, companies, open and close.
If you are going to pay for online casting websites, backstage and actors access seem to be the ones to go to. I do neither but know plenty of folks benefiting. Actors Access does get a lot of legit audition notices. Backstage online is an extension of the printed newspaper and updates daily. Most of the other sites are just hijacking listings from those two anyway.
Check out Playbill.com from time to time to see what is up in the professional theater world. They have some interesting articles on new talent going into long running shows etc. As a producer, I love to see Broadway Grosses to keep up with what is really going on in our world.
ALWAYS BE CREATING - Write - Perform - Direct - Paint - Blog - WHATEVER
Keep the talents and the mind in creative mode. Warm up the performance body and voice every day whether you have an audition, performance, rehearsal OR NOTHING to do creatively that day.
I do not really write this blog as a how-to manual for upcoming talent but as a way to force myself to keep thinking about career and moving forward. This is why I produce horrible videos of me singing etc. It keeps me from being idle and lazy.
Another NO-NO I was told - NEVER pay to audition for an agent or casting director. I have met a few now that said the only way they get to meet new talent is through the one-on-one type networking nights where you get to auditions for 1-10 agents or casting directors. Don't waste too much money on these but find the right deal for you and check them out. I am meeting a lot of folks and promoting the Improv Troupe as well as my own talents. FYI - DONT DO WHAT I DID TOO MANY TIMES!!! GO IN PREPARED - I definitely wasted some opportunities not choosing the right scene or not being prepared etc. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!@!!