I have a post in the works about how most “legit” (read: stuff that you would actually see on a TV or in a movie theatre) auditions come from relationships (via agents or managers, CD workshops, meeting people in the grocery store, whatever). With that said, one of the basic things any actor needs to know are the different “click and submit” services that people actually use to get auditions.
For the beginners out there, whenever someone does a project they create what’s called “a breakdown” for the project. It lists pertinent info like who is casting it, when it’s shooting, and a “breakdown” of each character they are casting. These are then (sometimes) placed on the websites below and actors can submit themselves to the project (you put your headshots, resume, reel, etc. up on the site) to be considered for an audition. Note that agents use these websites as well, but get access to different (and more) breakdowns than the average joe who signs up.
A clarification for the LA actors: You can speak of “a breakdown” for any project, but when people speak of “the breakdowns” they are generally referring to breakdowns that are sent out ONLY to the various agencies (and people who get them illegally, but that’s a whole other post).
What: This is the primary website people put up breakdowns for projects. Particularly used for film, television, short films, webisodes, and the like.
- Photos: You can post 2 photos for free and swap/replace the free photos as often as you wish for free. Additional photos are $10 each to post and cannot be swapped for free.
- If you subscribe to showfax.com (currently $68/year I believe) you can submit unlimited times on Actors Access
- If you are not a member, then there is a $2 charge per submission
- Video: For a traditional reel the first minute of video you put up is $50. One or more additional clips that are one minute or less are $22/additional minute. There is a video starter special where you can upload up to 5 minutes of video at the same time for a one-time fee of $100. To replace video it is $22/minute replaced. They have other video and audio packages.
Notes: At some point you’re going to need an account here. Agents use the site to submit you for projects (again, using breakdowns that only they can see on the site). It’s also the best way for beginning actors to submit themselves for the various student, non-union, and sometimes bigger projects. There are also auditions posted for actual theatre on here as well. Actors Access is also associated with Breakdown Services and ShowFax, the latter being where you get your sides (script).
LA Casting (Casting Networks)
What: Used primarily used for commercials. If and when you get a commercial agent, they will mostly be using LA Casting to submit you.
Cost: (full details here)
- To sign up on your own it is $14.95/month with a $20 set up fee
- If you pay for 6 months up front the cost comes down to $79.95 ($13.95/month) and there is no set up fee
- If you pay for 12 months up front the cost comes down to $$154.95 ($12.95/month) and there is no set up fee
- Photos are $25/each
- If you upload multiple photos at the same time it is only(!) $15 per photo after one at full price
- You get your first photo free when you first register or switch representation
- It is also an additional $10/photo if you have multiple profiles (if you have multiple agents, for example)
- Video hosting is free on personal accounts and an extra $4.95/month for represented accounts
Notes: If you’re going to do commercials you have to be on here. There are also a number of films, webseries, etc. that end up on the site. It’s pretty friggin’ expensive. And you have to pay every time you switch or add photos. Serves as constant reminder that the entire economy of Los Angeles is built around getting money from actors (not that I’m bitter).
What: Casting Frontier is currently only being used by two (big) commercial casting directors in town, who actually started the website. There are enough auditions that come through the site, that most commercial agents have their clients sign up on the site.
- The basic profile (1 headshot, 1 resume, and 1 digital size card) is free.
- The premium profile (basic profile + up to 5 headshots and a link to your website) is $6/month
- The premium profile plus (premium profile + up to 10 headshots and hosting of your reel) is $10/month
Notes: This site implements a “bar code system.” When you sign up through their site, you get a bar code that you can print off and take to auditions. At the audition they scan the bar code, and now have all of your information (headshot, resume, etc.). Might as well start with their free registration then upgrade if and when you get a commercial agent who asks you to do so.
What: This is generally considered less legitimate than the other sites listed above. I am not aware of any “legit” breakdowns ever being posted on this site. However, there are a lot of student and non-union films and webisodes that might make it worth your money.
Cost: (full details here)
- There is a basic registration you can do for free, and then various packages up to their full $20/month package. Click on the full detail link just above for specifics. I believe there are also discounts to pay up front for longer periods of time.
Notes: I was originally on this site because my agency in Colorado used it. In L.A. I have booked a number of smaller, non-union stuff here the was good experience and reel footage. Read the final thoughts concerning how to decide what sites to sign up for.
In a slightly different category are Backstage, IMDb Pro, and Cragslist. Certainly use good judgment with the latter, but I have spoken with a number of people who said they found some great projects/auditions through Craigslist. Backstage and IMDb Pro have a lot more to them then auditions, but they are a good resource as well, and you have to have an IMDb Pro account to do proper research, and Backstage is a wealth of knowledge.
I will cover this in depth in a future post, but just have realistic expectations about what you’re going to get from these sites. Most of the stuff that is posted for the general public on these sites are not actual tv shows or big budget movies that your family can watch in Montana. However, there are a TON of projects getting posted on these sites every day that may or may not be worth your time.
If and when you do sign up for any of these sites, be sure to have as much information as possible on there. And dear Lord please keep your resume up to date. It is also recommended to have multiple (at least 3) pictures up on your profile so you can use different pictures to submit for different types of roles. Also makes you look a bit more professional. Just don’t go overboard and post any more than say 8 or 10 pictures. And please don’t make the community look bad and post pictures of you half naked on a jet ski or any equivalently awkward photos. If you have a (good) reel, by all means get it up there. Profiles with a reel end up on top of the submission pages that the casting people look at.
The best way to decide whether these are worth your time and money is to track what auditions you get from them. You can do this using PerformerTrack or an excel sheet, or whatever. Just begin to track the auditions you get and then make the judgement if your money could be spent better elsewhere.
Lastly, know that there are a TON of websites out there claiming that they have all kinds of great projects listed there, etc. Please just be wary of people scamming you out of your money. Do some research on any site before you give them your money (i.e. google “company name + scam” and see what comes up). And again, track what auditions you get from the services to see if it’s worth your time.
There’s a lot of info here, so I’ve missed or misrepresented anything please leave a comment!