Too many times I’m asked the question:
“Should I pay to join an online audition announcement site?”
No… and yes.
Let’s begin with the ‘No’.
Abundant as cockroaches there are many online sites that promise actors asinine claims that any professional from my side of the table can readily see through.
Claims that unabashedly promise:
“Get audition listings not found anywhere else!”
“Have industry look at you daily!” (We don’t.)
Or the grammatically incorrect heralds like the ones I recently discovered on one such scamming site:
“Get more Casting, auditions resources and Talent Agents
than all other sites combined.”
“Get a call when Casting directors wants you.”
(Did you notice the typos in those last two blandishments? ‘Auditions resources’? ‘Casting directors wants you’?? Hello? Desperate, ghetto grammar check aisle five!)
Most pay-to-get-a-chance-to-play audition information websites often recycle audition notices previously released via legitimate audition outlets like: BackStage.com, Playbill.com and Breakdown Services’ Actors Access.
Who stumbles and falls to fork cash to the phonies? Stage parents, teens and delusional adults.
At present, the only online audition information paid-subscription services I recommend are:
- Breakdown Services’ Actor’s Access (But actors won’t get the coveted Breakdowns for pilots, episodics, major-studio films, Broadway, and the better regional theaters. Why not? Another blog at another time.)
Legitimate, free, online audition sites I recommend are:
- Audition listings on performers’ union web sites
In regard to job listings on performers’ union web site, some unions, like AEA, announce audition listings to the public.
Why these specific site recommendations and not something like the grammar challenged Explore*****t.***? Because I know my recommendations are utilized by most casting directors and legitimate producing entities. As for the myriad of other sites, in which actors must pay for recycled audition announcements, casting doesn’t have the time, patience or care to engage.
You may see a casting notice from my office or another popular casting director on some remote, online, pay-for-audition-info site but I can guarantee you that Paul Russell Casting never submitted a notice to an oddity like the fictitious AuditionsЯ_Us.com. Casting notices are often submitted exclusively to Breakdown Services for agent distribution and then surreptitiously copied and posted to pay-to-play scam sites. Or the pay-to-play sites lift the auditions notices from Playbill.com or Back Stage then ask you to pay for these notices found elsewhere for free or cheaper.
While the prospect of the former — getting illegal Breakdowns via a pay-to-play audition info site — may seem appealing to you remember this; Breakdown Services continually seeks out these websites which steal copy writ material. The sites are shut down. Leaving you, the paying subscriber, at a loss in pocket and culpable to the crime committed.
If you find a free service that recycles audition announcements; fine. But don’t pay for information which can readily be accessed elsewhere either for free or from a reputable, long-time channel of actor information. If you pay for notices such as from Back Stage you’ll do so with the confidence that the information is accurate because the site/publication received the casting notice directly from the people seeking actors. Go to where the industry goes to first and foremost to disseminate information.
Think of casting distributing audition announcements like the following civilian scenario: When you want to broadcast a message to your friends and networks do you utilize the popularity of Facebook or the desert that is MySpace and/or Friendster? If you answered Facebook then you understand what it is to publicize where the majority of your audience exists (which is what casting does). If you answered MySpace or Friendster then you deserve to be taken by the huckster pay-to-play audition information recycling web sites.
An actor doesn’t need to be Johnny Appleseed, spreading seed (i.e. money) to numerous sites for fear that they might just miss that one notice that’ll make them a ‘stahr!’ (Oh, puh-leeze.)
Be smart. Be judicious. And when visiting pay-to-play sites; if there are numerous mistakes in spelling and grammar more than likely there will be a volume of errors in the recycled casting notices.
Avoid pay-to-play recycled-audition-information sites. Be better than YouTooCanBeFamous.com (No, thankfully, that site doesn’t exist… yet.)
– Priority Actors –
What Is A Priority Actor?
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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