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On Casting Workshops

Hey there!

I have some very strong opinions about whether or not you should take casting workshops.

And they run counter to much of what you’ll read.

Recently, on a LinkedIn actor list I’m a member of, someone asked about them.

Here’s what I wrote.

I’m more than happy to be what appears to be the lone voice in favor of casting workshops. I’ve never considered them pay-for-play, and I’m not a stupid actor who is being hornswoggled by predatory casting directors out to steal my hard earned money.

On the contrary – it’s exactly what you’re supposed to do when you’re an entrepreneur:

Get to know your customer.

Find out what their needs are.

Fill those needs.

And it probably costs more to do this in other businesses than it does in the performance business.

In any other business, you’d do whatever it took to get on the radar of your potential customers – dinners, golf, lunches, gifts, whatever. I’m always amazed that actors, especially righteously indignant ones, play the “I’m an ARTIST! I shall never part with any of my hard earned dollars to meet my potential employer’s gatekeepers!”

Good for you.

I’ll take my way any day.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars marketing myself to my clients. That includes actorsaccess.com, Breakdown Services, Now Casting, headshots, resumes, MOO cards, my efforts on social media, speeches, volunteering, interning, drop offs, and yes, casting workshops. And I think my track record speaks volumes.

Do what you want, but know that you have a choice – you can hope that the phone will ring, or you can pick it up and use it yourself.

I’m so pro-casting workshops and their benefit to the ready-to-book but unrepresented actor, that I created a website about it. I make no money on this website; I do it because I’m so passionate about the fact that you should be able to choose how to spend your money without politicians telling you how:

http://befreetochoose.org

To be clear, don’t take casting workshops if you’re not ready to step on set the very next day.

I’m not kidding.

You should be good at your craft, and you should talk to fellow actors and stay away from casting director workshops helmed by the bad apples. But the things you learn in those workshops (as well as what you learn NOT to do) is invaluable. Plus, you are in front of the very people you need to know as customers, and if you’re not represented by an agent or a manager, this is a great opportunity to show that you’re ready.

Drop me an email at davidlawrence@gmail.com if you want my current recommendations on which casting workshops I prefer and why.

Hope this helps.

David

6 Responses to On Casting Workshops

  1. Carol Herman March 2, 2015 at 7:19 am #

    David—tonight my episode of Better Call Saul airs; easily the most important gig I’ve had, so it’s a good time to take a few seconds to thank you for this article. I am SO in favor of CD workshops, for all the reasons you put forth. And I realize I never would have gotten aforementioned gig if it hadn’t been for meeting a CD associate at one of them–more than once. As we both know, Karl is excellent at getting his people out, but we also know he he keeps careful track of who you see! And he welcomes e-mails from me that start “last night I saw…” I also know I can also tweak him when something shows up on the breaks and a casting name leaps out at me as someone I’ve seen. When folks ask me; “do you ever get work from going to these things?” I practically scream “YES!!” So if you’ve slogged through all this, it’s just my usual, long winded way of saying THANKS!!

    Carol

    • Trevor March 2, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

      Congrats Carol!

  2. Dufflyn Lammers March 2, 2015 at 8:32 am #

    Thank you David for your bold words. Your track record is evidence enough that casting workshops are a valuable tool for an actor who is ready to work. I appreciate all you do to help your fellows!

  3. Janet Hoskins March 2, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    I totally agree with you. My first two costar roles came from casting directors I met in workshops. In one case, everybody I saw at the audition were members of that workshop.

    Like everything else, you should choose your workshop carefully. If they offer an opporutnity to audit before joining, take it. You can assess the way the workshop is run, and see the level of work done at each session.

    At the very least, you are practicing your craft. And if you need to improve your cold reading skills, here’s your chance. Nowadays, you may only get 2 hours notice for an audition-no time to prepare.

  4. Gina Manegio March 2, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    As always: Thank you, David. Your advice is always so well-articulated and helpful.

    Best,
    Gina

  5. Trevor March 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    Fantastic. A huge AMEN from this corner!

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