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Nov 5, 2020

THE CASTING DIRECTOR WORKSHOP: TO SCAM OR NOT TO SCAM

Actors tend to think Casting Directors hold the keys to their success and in turn will do just about anything to get noticed by one. Welcome to the birth of the casting directing workshop. 


Where there is money to be made, you’ll undoubtedly find people trying to take advantage, even when that means profiting off of an actor's hopes and dreams. 


Let me make myself perfectly clear, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with casting director workshops. In fact these workshops can be very helpful to actors. 


The problem is when the workshops appear to be an acting opportunity or audition and then everything changes. Now it’s a pay to play operation, which obviously has crossed the line.


Over time, the waters became murky. Is this casting director workshop to learn about the casting process, to receive some feedback and pick up some great audition tips?...


...or is this a chance for you as an actor to show off your stuff to a casting director in hopes of getting cast in their current or future projects?


No matter how much we want to believe it’s the first one, an actor can’t help but think this workshop may ultimately lead to landing a job with the casting director. 


To try to put these pay to play workshops to an end, the department of justice stepped in. They set some legal guidelines, which Casting Directors and Workshop owners had to follow to be able to lawfully put on a casting director workshops.


Some of which include:

  1. Defining that classes taught by casting directors or Associates must be for instructional purposes only and not a “paid audition”
  2. The workshops must clearly post that taking part in class is not a guarantee of employment.
  3. Workshop Owners need to post a $50,000 Bond.
  4. A casting director’s current projects must not be advertised with the workshop.
  5. Workshop Sides must be from past projects.
  6. Actor’s Headshots, resumes, reels, etc. cannot be retained by the CD after class.


So how do you protect yourself from falling prey to a pay to play workshop? Start by making sure they are operating legally in the state of California. It’s quick and easy to check if they have a bond, it will be listed with the Department of Industrial Relations Labor Commission.

If you’d like to read all of the workshop guidelines by clicking this link


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