CASTING SITES. WE’RE ALL BROKE DURING THE STRIKE. THE INDUSTRY IS BLEEDING MONEY.
Even before the strike (though it wasn’t as bad.), we are literally called starving actors for a reason. You only make bank if you get that lucky break.
SPEND MONEY WE DON’T HAVE TO MAKE MONEY. SOUNDS ABSURD, RIGHT?
As actors, we are told to invest in our future. The right headshots. The right resume. The right website. Market our careers.
But with sites like Actor’s Access costing a whopping 60 to 75.00 dollars (not including an additional 21 for each minute of a video clip or the five dollars for every ‘slate shot’ and an additional price for more images past the three free ones.), it’s a wonder we can afford anything at all.
The worst thing is, we can gripe about it until the cows come home up and down message boards, websites, magazines–even try to talk to the big corporations and “casting listings”, and in the end? It never matters.
Maybe if there was a massive response to corporations like Backstage, Actor’s Access/Showfax, and CastingNetworks, they would lower their prices or at least take it easy on literal starving artists.
ANNUALLY IS A THING, SO IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE EASIER.
Sure, you can pay monthly, or yearly–but it still comes out to some serious bank. Bills are bills. The majority of headshots in New York are 900 to in the thousands (though, some have gone anywhere from 250 to 500 if you’re lucky.)
Los Angeles has them for a dime a dozen. What happens to the East coasters? Even with representation, the industry is like pulling teeth.
Pay this. Buy that. And you have to come up with gas for your car, train tickets, and sometimes even airfare to get to some of these auditions or even self-report to a gig.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS TO OURSELVES?
But we do all of this because we have to. Because it’s our passion. But I think it’s time these big companies cut actors a break. We’re not made out of money. And our emotional/mental health is usually more than a little off the wall.
Why? Because there is so much pressure. From the moment you walk into a building, you’re judged. Not even just the audition room.
“When you take out your I.D. at the security desk, show them your union card, find the elevators, talk to the audition monitor, and scope out your competition. You’re judged.”
It used to be worse, there used to be a lot more cattiness and attitude, I’m sure it’s still out there—but it’s been more down to earth lately in terms of fellow actors.
You’ll always run into the cliques, however. The ones who know each other or know everyone or have been getting the lead about thirty times in the same theater. You could walk into the audition room and look like the director’s wife, he doesn’t like her.
You could be the babysitter the casting director couldn’t stand. Maybe the pianist doesn’t like your shoes. Impress the casting director, do the thing the girl before you did, don’t do the thing the girl before you did.
So, with all of that pressure–we’re also expected to come up with a fortune just to MARKET ourselves. Slowly, the industry is changing–but can the companies just give us a break?
About the author: Katie Harden is a professionally repped New York-based/bi-coastal musical theater, entertainment journalist, and indie film actress. She is proudly part of the Actor’s Equity Association and frequently interviews colleagues, friends, and celebrities, along with reviewing television and movies. Find her at the bottom of a can of Arizona sweet tea or in the ocean! @KHardenOfficial