Finally some (mostly) good news for commercial actors.
Earlier this year I reported that commercial actors were not only on average working more for less pay because of big-name stars being cast in commercials and changing television viewing habits cutting into commercial actors’ residuals. On top of that, companies have been increasingly relying on so-called “reality” commercials that utilize non-actors to serve as “genuine” spokespeople for their products. In other words, many commercial actors had their fingers crossed for new hope as SAG-AFTRA negotiated a new contract for commercial actors with top advertisers over the last several weeks. Read more
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.
Actors Equity Casting Call
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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Just a few words of wisdom (stolen from a well known marketing campaign) … Just Do It. Put away the excuses. Put away the what-ifs. Put away the “when the weather is nicer and I have more energy.” The time is now. There will never be the perfect time, or the easy time, or the time when all of the pieces will line up exactly the way we want them to. So…
Just Do It.
So, I thought I would help address some of the common excuses we actors tell ourselves so I can help break that cycle:
“It’s too expensive to do a mailing right now.”
I think it is more expensive to let your headshots gather dust on your bookshelf. Someone once asked me how much I spent on headshots, and how many were sitting on my desk. I answered him, and he said, “Wow. That’s an expensive paperweight.” Moral: Waiting costs money too.
“I am too nervous to audition.”
Nerves about auditioning cannot be addressed in class or working at home- they can only be addressed by practicing in the audition room! The good news? Unless you are rude or are TERRIBLE at your audition, you will probably slip under the radar and they won’t notice small flubs or missteps. Moral: Auditioning is the best medicine for nerves.
“I am too busy to market myself.”
There are two versions of this phrase- busy with acting work, or busy with everything else. I’ll address both. Acting Work: Great news! You’re reaching goals and making it happen! But too busy? You cannot afford to lose the momentum you have worked so hard to achieve. Marketing is just as important in good times as in bad. Everything else: If your day job, social life or hobbies get in the way of your acting career, it’s time to take a step back and ask yourself why. If you really want to reach a goal (in this case, being a working actor) you have to find a place for it in your daily life. Moral: There’s no place for “too busy” in this business (busy-ness?)
Casting Director & Agent Labels
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!
Download these PDF/Word mailing labels directly to your computer to quickly and easily send your headshot and resume to agents or casting directors that are currently casting.
Stop wasting time:
- Updating labels
- Finding the casting directors who are currently casting projects
- Making sure addresses are correct
Up to date and accurate!
“Your list is Better than Breakdowns and Now Casting & it’s downloadable. Brilliant!”
James DuMont – Treme, Grey’s Anatomy
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Casting Director Labels - Updated May 4th!
Currently Casting Spreadsheet - Updated May 4th!
Commercial Casting Directors - Updated May 4th!
|Theatrical Agent Labels – Updated May 4th!
Description: The latest theatrical agency labels.
|Commercial Agent Labels – Updated May 4th!
Description: The latest commercial agency labels.
|Voice Over Agent Labels – Updated May 4th!
Description: The latest Voice Over agent labels.
| Casting Director Labels - Updated May4th!
Description: Labels of shows & films that are currently casting. Includes labels and a spreadsheet (click here for an example of the spreadsheet) listing all shows & films with the casting company, CD/CD associate and broadcast network.
|Currently Casting Spreadsheet – Updated May 4th!
Description: This spreadsheet is included in the Casting Director Labels download but now offered as a separate product! This is a list of film & TV projects that are currently casting in New York City. Click here for an example.
|Agent Labels (Commercial & Theatrical) – Updated May 4th!
Description: The latest agent labels.
Important INFO for all Adobe PDF labels: You can easily print these on any Avery 8160 address labels (or for a cheaper option, generic label versions are also available at Staples or Office Depot).
Print them out on a regular sheet of paper first and make sure they line up correctly. If not, in the Adobe PDF file, go to File, Print. Look for Page Scaling and make sure it’s set to: None
The LA Times is reporting the January had the biggest box office ever, hauling in a hefty $1.03 billion dollars.
Industry watchers said the unexpectedly strong January, which pushed action film “Taken” to the top this weekend, suggested that movies were benefiting from the economic downturn by providing a relatively cheap escape from the drumbeat of layoffs, bankruptcies and other bad news.
“Going to the movies is the new vacation,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media by Numbers.
Meanwhile, Advertising Age reports that ABC is about to place more commercials on the shows that it streams on the internet.
ABC.com has been making noise for some time about boosting ad loads to bring the amount of revenue earned from viewers more in line with TV, and started conducting research early in 2008.
What does this mean for actors now that the big studios are raking in all this cash?
That’s because the studio aren’t making any money. Didn’t you hear? They aren’t making money on the internet and aren’t making any money at the box office or through DVD’s.
They’re poor. And we should be also…at least according to the AMPTP.
The Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors meeting in Los Angeles Saturday, October 18, approved a proposed agreement outlining conditions to permit joint bargaining with AFTRA for the Commercials Contracts under the terms of the Phase 1 agreement.
AFTRA has agreed to conduct joint negotiations with SAG for the commercials contract — seven months after AFTRA angrily split off on primetime contract talks.
SAG and AFTRA have given a strong signal they’ll conduct joint negotiations for the commercials contract — six months after AFTRA angrily spilt off on primetime contract talks.