OP-ED: What actors unions need to do about pay-to-submit sites like Casting Networks and Actor’s Access.

OP-ED: What actors unions need to do about pay-to-submit sites like Casting Networks and Actor’s Access.

February 3, 2024 Off By Katie Harden

WE LIVE TO TRY AND BE PERFECT IN FRONT OF CASTING DIRECTORS

Casting Networks, Actor’s Access…paying for everything under the sun.

It’s a pretty long list of gripes in the entertainment industry. The minute you walk into the audition room you are judged. Too skinny, fat, pale. Not ethnic enough. Too ethnic.

You look like the casting director’s ex. The list of things goes on and when you leave, it’s out of your control. And let’s face it, spending your life trying to impress ANOTHER NORMAL PERSON JUST LIKE YOU is pretty ridiculous. After working your ass off, you pray for a callback and groan or just say a generic thank you, so much!– when you’re not asked to come back to dance later in the day.

Or if it’s television and film, you read on camera, do your slate, and get out of there. And then if you’re lucky, you’re pinned…and then you wait and wait and finally give up and go to the next one. Or, you constantly check BackStage’s AuditionUpdate for clues and hints or you just sit there and gripe too.

JUST BEING A DAMN HUMAN.

So, aside from trying to live up to the casting director’s expectations, AND have them not just count you as another number, they don’t even TELL YOU what the hell they want!

I once had my rep deal with someone who said that he was looking for something NOT in the breakdown. Can you imagine this nonsense? That people get paid to do this to actors? We’re normal people. Broke people. Living paycheck to paycheck, in what world do you think we can afford to submit to places?

If you’re part of the union–then you know we’ve had strikes, we’ve had so many issues over the years. Now it’s time to do away with these pay-to-play sites. And honestly, doing self-tapes and weird Ecocasts for the odd job can be counted as playing.

 

RELATED: PR ETIQUETTE: SINK OR SWIM.

 

ACTING IS PLAYING, WITHOUT THE FUN.

A fabulous human by the name of Anna runs Put Me On Self-Tape who recently made a rant on the popular social network site and got a lot of people’s attention. Why? Because it’s true.

I gripe every day about my Casting Networks bill (and let’s be honest, I might just pause it again as I’m broke as hell, like every other actor waiting for their residuals in pennies.)

I also pay about 70 a year for Actors Access, which one-minute video has gone up a whopping 40 dollars from their old just as overpriced, 20 something.

Yes, we have survival normal jobs, but … do we need to invest in these profiting sites that make millions? They’re not changing their prices anytime soon if anything–it’s gone up.

FAKE FEATURES AND USELESS CUSTOMER SERVICE.

There is a feature that you can pay twelve dollars if you can get under a minute–but it never works. Even under a minute or a full minute, you’re still forking over 40 bucks. And that’s ridiculous.

On top of that, I pay 25.00 a month for BackStage. I also have to pay for my New York Metro North, a taxi because I don’t want to ruin my audition hair and dress and run around getting lost on my way!

And quite frankly, that’s just stupid to pay all of that for these damn casting sites. Can we please fix this or get rid of them?

ONE COMPANY OWNS MOST OF THEM.

A company called Talent Systems owns the UK branch “Spotlight”, Casting Networks, and a few others. According to the UK, TS tried to push a tier-paying plan for Spotlight and no one was having it. So I guess they get it for free. But here we are paying more than one hundred dollars a month or something a year just to be seen or have virtual callbacks or get appointments.

Sure, it’s easier for the CDs and it’s always nice to have your rep quickly submit you or self-submit. But for the love of God, why are we paying for this crap? Join in the fun on Put Me on Self Tape’s Instagram and check out their programs and helpful tips.

I guarantee you’ll be both enlightened and satisfied with the parody videos and honest discussions. You’ll see me in the comments griping about AA and Casting Networks like everyone else!

 

UNIONS. GOVERNMENT. HELP.

So, government officials or unions, it’s time to stand up for the arts! Shouting it through a bullhorn. Okay?

Casting Networks
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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