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.
(And know that I’m well aware of, and am nauseated by, the current legal challenges that some casting directors are facing in here in LA. It’s insane.)
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.
In addition, the amount of pure learning I’ve received from all of the casting directors I’ve worked with is invaluable. For those that think you get nothing but an opportunity to show your work in these workshops, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Being able to hear how casting offices work, what they expect from the actors that they bring in, what prompts them to bring actors in at all, their process with the shows they work on, their etiquette, ways to look better on camera and so much more are just a few examples of the things that have made a difference in my acting career, and that I’ve learned from CDs in workshops.
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:
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.
Tell me your thoughts about casting workshops in the comments below.
Hope this helps.