If you rely on ‘audition boards’ and ‘actor-friendly-sites-for-a-fee’ via the Internet for finding the current addresses of talent agencies and/or casting offices you’re wasting valuable time.
If you’re purchasing books on the entertainment industry that claim to have the most up-to-date contact information on agents and/or casting directors just how up-to-date can those entries be when the publish date on the cover page is a year or more past?
Agents, casting and other entertainment professionals are just like actors when it comes to maintaining permanence of brick-n-mortar placement. The cardboard boxes for moving are always close at hand. An address for an agency or casting office that was valid yesterday is often vacant or occupied by another entity tomorrow. Why? Several reasons, two of which include:
1. Real Estate is Expensive
Payouts in entertainment are often cheap to non-existent. Agencies and casting (unless they are cash-rich corporations) routinely move from one office to another in order to survive financially. When rents go up the name plate on the talent reps’ or casting directors’ door comes down and is soon placed upon an entry at a more wallet accommodating abode.
2. Film & TV Casting are Nomadic
There are only a handful of screen casting directors that have a permanent, non-home, office for which they are responsible for the rent. Most film & TV casting directors are freelancers who work from whatever four-walled and worn industrial gray carpeted cubicle the production company provides. Once the production wraps, the casting director picks up their lap-top and toys and moves on. The next tenant (often a civilian based business) is left wondering why they are getting, daily, actor headshots via land-mail.
The lack of consistency for a valid contact address leaves the actor — who is wisely doing land-based mailings — with a problem. How best to keep GPS-like watch with the entertainment nomads? There are only two reasonably assured address accurate outlets for actors. The Call Sheet (formerly known as The Ross Reports) and Actors Access (Breakdown Services) which is the beter of the two..
Both contact information for talent agents and casting directors are released several times, in both print, online, and app versions, throughout the year. Prior to each publication a representative from either publisher of talent agent and casting director registries seek address corrections and staff updates- contacting the agents and casting directors listed on their pages. Actor-friendly web sites, pre-printed mailing label sellers and other ‘resources’ rip this information from these resources and then re-sell at a mark-up to actors. Actors are paying others – often other actors – for ‘used goods’ that are continually flawed. Most of these re-sellers never update and/or make corrections. Like lazy actors who never bother to update their own mailing lists, the re-sellers put to print information gathered once and then re-sell it many times over.
How do I know this? Because my office still receives mail (often on pre-printed labels) to the long ago abandoned addresses.
Re-sellers of agent and casting director addresses aggravate an actor’s quest for correct contact further by often limiting the geography of the talent markets. If an actor wants contact information for agents and casting directors on both coasts they must be purchased separately. The re-sellers also sometimes force the actor to purchase separately contacts for agents and contacts for casting. Actors are paying out lots of money for outdated information.
Whereas with The Call Sheet, the actor gets every franchised agent and casting director across the country. That’s IF an agency, agent or casting office wishes to be listed. Most do as a professional courtesy to the industry.
Keep current your contacts. Avoid re-sellers. It’s your career. Your business. You can either run it like a Fortune 500 company or piddle away like a forgotten mom-n-pop convenience store. You’re the one who is in charge. Do something.
Read advice from legendary talent agents,
plus Hollywood & Broadway actors in Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING: Make It Your Business!
Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.
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