Imagine this: You are in your car (or walking to the subway) and you suddenly get a call from a casting director. They are interested in submitting you for an upcoming project, but need to forward your headshot & resume to the director within the next 30 minutes. You’re not at your computer, so you cannot email your materials to them. And you’re nowhere near their office, so you cannot just drop by with a physical copy of your headshot/resume. What can you do?
Or, imagine this: You are networking at an event (like the Tribeca Film Festival) and you have met so many people that you have handed out your last copy of your reel. You run into an agent who has seen you on stage, but comments that he would like to see your film work. He asks if you have a reel to give him. Sadly, you don’t, and it will be at least a week until you can get more duplicates made. What now?
If you are a business-minded actor, you would have a website and neither case would have been a problem! You could simply tell the casting director, “Drop by my website, where you can download a copy of my headshot and resume, both formatted for printing.” And for the agent, you would be able to say, “Here’s my website. Not only do I have my reel posted, but I also have clips from a few of the other projects I have done, including some singing and a few commercials.”
Having a website is one of the most important promotional tools an actor can have, second only to a good headshot. A website allows you to provide interested parties with a more full look at your body of work, your personality, and the way you run your business. And it allows them to do it in their own time, at their pace and leisure, which is vitally important in the larger, more competitive markets. The easier you can make it for a CD/agent to get to know you, the better chance you have of making an impact with them.
One of the things that can get me incensed as a career coach is when casting websites pop up promising to give actors access to stardom. Some sites make it sounds like an actor’s big break is just around the corner, and all they need to do is pay a fee and they’re in! But most actors know that success comes with good training, strong relationship building, and the ability & wherewithal to seize an opportunity when it presents itself (also known as tenacity.) The trouble is, even the smartest actor has heard at least one rags-to-riches story, and the allure of a quick win sometimes overshadows common sense.
So, to combat the many unscrupulous characters baiting actors with empty promises, below you’ll find are 11 of my favorite reputable websites where casting notices can be found.
Any of the others not listed here typically have the same notices that are on the above sites. If you are in LA or NY, I would caution you if paying to use any website other than these listed- it probably wouldn’t be worth the money. Of course, there are exceptions and I am sure a new website will come along and blow away the competition. But as of now, the above sites are the most reputable for those in the major markets.
Please note: not every website has a vetting process, so it is up to the actor to research the casting notice to make sure the project is legitimate. Even for a casting website like Actors Access, which is probably the most professional and popular service, unsavory notices can get listed (especially on public forums like Craigslist.) It is up to the actor to keep themselves safe, so use caution when submitting your materials.
A side note: Any website that claims to have notices for principal roles on TV and studio film projects is probably not being truthful. I notice these sites all the time, saying things like, “Find auditions for Grey’s Anatomy here!” or “Breakdowns for CSI just posted!” … only to find out that they are simply posting the general address for the casting directors (who accept submissions via mail EVERY DAY.)
Occasionally, Actors Access and Backstage will show roles for feature films/TV but these are usually roles that are very hard to cast, like 70 year old Filipino twins. Principal roles for TV and studio features almost exclusively go through Breakdown Services, which are not accessible to actors OR these other casting sites.
As promised: Here are a few casting sites for other parts of the country:
Actors Alliance of San Diego
DailyActor Readers- if you know of casting websites from other cities that are reputable, post the links as a comment so that other actors can benefit from your experience.
Feel free to post any comments/questions you might have – and happy auditioning!
Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and regionally. She is the founder of The Actors’ Enterprise (TAE), a fun and inspiring one-on-one coaching service that provides incredibly affordable business training to actors who want to feel more fulfilled and in control of their careers. With an approach that is hands-on and customized for each person, TAE helps actors set goals, organize their business, and create a plan of action with easy tools that can take them to the next level, no matter where they are starting from. TAE’s focus includes coaching on marketing/career development, business skills, and audition techniques that help actors work SMARTER, not HARDER.
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The Best Places to get your Headshot Printed
This week, I have decided to tackle a very hot topic, which has spurned lots of debate by industry insiders and actors alike: Unsolicited Offers of Fame and Requests for Partnership.
To give you some background on this topic, I am going to start by sharing an email I recently received from a “manager.” (Note: All grammar and spelling has been included, as originally written.)
I was looking on IMDB and noticed you do not have a Talent Manager. As you may know we are doing Talent Management.. A manager is different from an agent but in a way better as I have more fields to get you work. I feel I could be a great assett to you to help you not only get your more acting roles but we are doing something no other Management firm does. We are also going to provide free to our clients our Publicity Services. We are a NON-EXCLUSIVE company so if at anytime you want to end services with us that is ok. I really hope you will give me a chance to further your career and make you more money. If you are interested please let me know and I’ll send you my information packate. – Mike
File this one away into the “If it seems too good to be true, it is” mailbox. Of course, there are warning signs all over the above email that tell the actor that they should stay far away. So, how does an actor gauge the validity of these types of emails, which become numerous as the actor gets more and more well known?
1) Does the manager know the difference between managers and agents? (Do you?)
Agents and managers are very different from one another, primarily because it is illegal for managers to procure work for their clients. Agents are required to be on file with their state as a “licensed employment agent” and managers are not given this clearance. Thus, a manager’s job takes on a different form. Directly from the Talent Manager’s Association website: “A manager, by nature, does not seek employment for a client, but rather council, market and network on their behalf making it easier for the agent to secure employment. A client, manager and agent should function as a team.”
You can see by the email above that the manager is not accurately conveying his role. This should be a very big “red flag” to you.
Here’s video of SAG Liferafts, An Evening With Agents.
The Difficulties of finding an agent.
What to look for in an agent.
What agents are looking for in a client.
It runs a little over 2 hours but the info is great, the agents are truthful and its worth a watch, especially if you’re in the market for an agent. Or your current one stinks.
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These labels will always be the latest, most up-to-date address labels available.
The casting labels are shows and films that are currently in production (or about to be).
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Don’t you hate updating labels? Tracking down casting directors or agents, making sure they’re address is up to date or even driving to the bookstore to buy the actual labels?
Well, look no more. Now you can get up-to-date and accurate labels right here!
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Very differently it turns out.
Bruce Smith, manager and president of Omnipop Talent Group, compares the Rosenberg led SAG to the Bush administration. Hm… I don’t think he’s putting membership first. (Get it? I got a million of ‘em folks!)
I’ve met Tony Martinez, the agent they interviewed in the article, several times in an always futile effort for him to sign me to his agency, GVA. He was always nice and had informative things to say. He even has a great book you all should read, An Agent Tells All.
After reading this article, it makes want want to get back in his office again.
Backstage has all here.
Back Stage: Membership First still has almost 48 percent of the vote. What happens if it regains power? How does the business weather this back-and-forth situation?
Smith: I just keep looking at the Alan Rosenberg–led SAG, and it has such strange echoes of the George Bush administration. They refused to apologize for mistakes, and they seem to have backed themselves into a corner, and they want to pull their membership into a corner with them, as if that will somehow get them out. It will not get them out. The corner they’re in is the corner they’re in… . I feel that with Unite for Strength, there is no turning back [and that the so-called moderate view will prevail]. As small as that majority is, it’s the power of the voters that matters.
Martinez: I think it’s a shame the way this industry has demonized Alan Rosenberg and Doug Allen [SAG's recently fired national executive director]. These two men are the victims of bad timing and a divided membership. Everything they’re holding out for is crucial to the survival of the middle-class actor. Years from now, when we’re stuck in the mother of all strikes, everyone’s going to look back at Rosenberg and Allen in a very different light.
Former assistant Heather Devlin charges in a sexual harassment suit that Todd Shemarya, co-founder of Todd Shemarya Associates (whose roster includes Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew McConaughey), created a hostile working environment by “parading naked” in front of her, forcing her to take dictation as he used the bathroom, and exposing her to computer porn – including a woman with a horse.