Skip to content

Categories:

Billy Da Mota refuted, point by point

One of the driving forces behind AB 1319 and preceding legislation is a casting director, Billy Da Mota. He is as vehemently opposed to paid casting workshops as we are in favor of the actor’s right to choose to attend them. Here’s why we stand in direct and complete opposition to his stance.

I encourage you to read Billy’s website, donotpay.org, and in particular, watch the 20/20 video (if for no other reason, to see that most of the content of that story is aimed at modeling and representation scams), and then read his note and the Archives. It lays out very clearly his thinking when it comes to actors attending paid casting workshops.

In a nutshell, he considers it nothing more and nothing less than evil payola for casting directors, and a paid audition for actors. Period. We couldn’t disagree more.

He acknowledges that there are educational aspects to the workshops, but that CDs, assistants and associates should volunteer their time and do them for free.

Respectfully, we unequivocally assert that Billy Da Mota (nor the State of California, for that matter) has no business dictating to professional, well informed actors what they can and cannot spend their money on, including paid casting workshops.

Here’s his note, with inline commentary:

So-called Casting Director “workshops”
have a long and sordid history in Hollywood.

Although DoNotPay.org is officially no longer in business, we
have created an archive which includes a timeline history to help
you understand the Casting Director Pay-to-Play scheme that
has lined the pockets of unscrupulous casting directors and has
plagued Hollywood for nearly 2 decades.

NOTE: We completely reject Mr. Da Mota’s histrionics throughout this piece, including the notions above that CD’s have been perpetrating a pay-to-play “scheme,” suggesting that CDs in Los Angeles have been engaged in systematic fraud worthy of a RICO prosecution, that anyone’s pockets are being lined – not at $150 a workshop, a pittance in the LA economy, that casting directors are unscrupulous or that actors are victims of this imaginary scheme.

Read the archives…
then come back to this page for savvy advice
on how you can help make a difference.

A Note From Billy DaMota
It’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at the issue in depth, so let’s revisit some of the facts regarding paid Casting Director “workshops”…

Right now, over 200 CDs and their staffs are paid to meet actors in CD workshops. That’s TWO HUNDRED. These casting “professionals” represent almost every network and cable TV show produced – from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Showtime, HBO and more – and are accepting a fee to meet actors to consider them for acting work on the shows they’re currently casting.

NOTE: This is all true, just as a teacher accepts a fee to “meet actors” and teach them acting, said teacher possibly being well connected to agents and managers, or I accept a fee to “meet voiceover students” and teach them voicework, or Mr. Da Mota accepts a fee from productions to use his judgement to decide which actors to bring in and which to reject when he chooses his audition pool. These workshops absolutely are looking for new talent for their shows. And actors willing and able to pay those fees are looking to show those CDs that they are ready for the possibility. NO ONE considers these to be a guarantee of an audition or a job.

So there is no misunderstanding – DoNotPay.org applauds and encourages casting directors who teach – real teachers, providing ongoing classes with a real curriculum or lesson plan. Our efforts have always focused on the one night, single session so-called casting director “workshops” – where as many as 24 actors perform scenes for working casting directors or assistants, often with little or no feedback. These are not classes. This is not education. These are paid showcases. And that’s just not right. In fact, the practice of charging actors for a meeting or reading violates state and local laws.

NOTE: We reject this premise wholesale. I’ve never attended a workshop, now over 200 over the last four years, where there hasn’t been an inordinate amount of feedback, adjustments, taking the performance again, direct conversation between the actor and the casting person about their current skill level, their accomplishment that night, and what they might need to improve, as well as cogent, insightful answers in a setting where all can feel safe, about the way casting works in their particular offices. I want to know details, right from the horse’s mouth. An example: it’s nice to know that if I’m booked on one medical procedural, I probably won’t even be considered for another, or that most CDs prefer not to shake hands with hundreds of actors a day so as not to get sick. I want to know what each of my customers’ wants and needs are so that I can take notes and adjust my performance for them and their project – just as any other salesman would tailor his pitch to individual customers. We strongly reject the notion that these are not classes – they are. This IS an education. And while we accept that the law can be interpreted the way Mr. Da Mota chooses, we remind the reader that this is precisely the kind of ambiguity we seek to change.

Where are all of these casting “professionals” when SAG and AFTRA come calling for help for their members? At a hearing with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement during the workshop debates a few years back, former AFTRA rep Jean Frost said on the record that she had sent out 75 letters to various CDs and their staffs – asking them to donate just one evening of their time to see AFTRA talent in their new showcase program. Out of the seventy-five requests, a single casting director responded, Jean told the room. I have heard similar stories from those who run the SAG casting-related events.

(NOTE: Although he offers no evidence to prove his assertions, we’ll accept that Billy is telling us the truth about SAG’s experience, but we in turn assert that sending a postal letter is hardly the best approach to get a casting director’s attention when they are inundated with headshots, resumes, postcards and more on a daily basis via the mail. Email or the telephone would likely be a more effective means of communication. In addition, SAG- and AFTRA- sponsored workshops would be wonderful for the Guild and Federation members who might be able to attend them, but what about the members who don’t get in, or the far more numerous non-union actors and/or unrepresented actors who, one might conclude, need exposure to casting directors even more than do union actors. We do encourage, as part of our best practices guidelines, that CDs be required to give one evening of their time every 60 days to SAG, AFTRA or non-profit sponsored casting workshops. But…we are also left wondering why Mr. Da Mota is so upset that those CDs are not responding to the offers made and leading those Guild and Federation workshops if, in fact, they are not valuable or educational as he claims above. We ask plainly of Mr. Da Mota to clarify if in fact workshops do indeed have value, enough to complain that they are not led for free, or if in fact they have no educational value. They cannot be both at once.)

Right now, there are a set of state workshop guidelines in effect – guidelines which the workshop industry begged the state to create so that they could stay in business. But most workshop companies haven’t bothered to follow these guidelines, and since they were agreed to years ago, there have been hundreds of violations. That’s right. Believe it or not, workshop companies are still breaking the law. Yet the Labor Commission, which promised to follow up and prosecute all violations has done absolutely nothing to investigate violations or enforce the guidelines.

NOTE: Those guidelines keep changing, and while some are reasonable and effective, some are downright ludicrous. The idea that an actor can no longer give a casting director their headshot and resume (one of the new requirements in AB 1319) is absurd. In no other industry is an individual prevented from providing a potential purchaser of that individual’s products or services, a business card or brochure that details the depth of experience, quality of work and beauty shot of their product. Actors’ headshots are their business cards, and their resumes are their brochures. Far from protecting actors from “unscrupulous” casting directors, AB 1319 is preventing actors from meeting and influencing the very people that could be key to their careers. This smacks of abridgment of an actors’ right to freedom of speech, freedom to congregate, freedom to conduct commerce and freedom to pursue happiness in their personal and professional lives.

Right now, there is a new law on the books, introduced on January 1, 2010 – California law AB1319 – “The Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009″ – which was created to help protect actors from businesses which charge a fee for auditions. Workshops which charge actors such a fee are considered Advance Fee Talent Services, which are now prohibited in the State of California.
UPDATE: As a result of our efforts to bring attention to the issue of paid access, SAG has put in place the Casting Access Project, which provides actors with FREE ACCESS to working casting directors in accordance with Section 47! Click here for more info.

NOTE: This is the very law we seek to alter to allow actors to choose between the free workshops Mr. Da Mota considers acceptable, and the paid workshops that we believe actors should have the right to choose to attend.

But the road to the free opportunities the Casting Access Project provides has been a rocky one. The workshop companies – who hate free competition – have an incredibly powerful lobby and have effectively kept this program from being implemented as fully as possible. In fact, at the state hearings dealing with the pay-for-access workshop issue, then-CSA president and workshop industry patsy Gary Zuckerbrod slammed SAG Section 47. At the same hearings, the attorney representing casting director and CSA Board Member Katy Wallin (Wallin owns a workshop company which paid other casting directors at the same time she served on the CSA Board) vowed to the Labor Board panel to fight on Wallin’s behalf all union efforts to implement Section 47. Wallin went on to serve as the vice president of the CSA – helping to create policy for the only organization representing film and TV CDs in America. Despite these roadblocks, the Screen Actors Guild and the SAG Foundation were able to establish this free and very successful program. Kudos to both organizations and to the casting directors who have graciously given of their time to support CAP!

NOTE: I am familiar with most of the casting workshop companies in town. It is a bald faced lie to claim that have any lobby whatsoever, let alone an “incredibly powerful” one. They are mostly small businesses, run more akin to mom-and-pop family businesses, with none owned by major corporations. There is no lobby, nor organization of any kind to which these companies belong. I’ve watched the email traffic between many of them as they ask very basic questions about what is and what isn’t compliance with AB 1319, and so far, every casting workshop company has settled on slightly difference actions to attempt to become compliant. As far as the CSA is concerned, whatever axe Mr. Da Mota has to grind with them or Mr. Zuckerbrod is moot – the CSA is advising their membership that the law is just fine, and have declined offers to join with befreetochoose.org in our efforts to get the law changed. We further believe that, given the letter sent to casting workshop owners by Mark Lambert, Assistant City Attorney for LA, their members may be at risk for misdemeanor violation of AB 1319 should they conduct workshops incorrectly, and that the CSA should be more concerned about this issue. Finally, it is nonsense to claim that the efforts that led to AB 1319 being signed into law earlier this year resulted in the Casting Access Project – that effort by SAG, which benefits SAG members, but, unfortunately, no one else, has been around for years.

Right now, the CSA continues to support paid workshops by its failure to inform its members of those workshop companies which have consistently violated the state guidelines and whose misleading and false advertising continues to reflect negatively on the entire casting profession.

How successful can the CSA expect to be with their new union when they allow those among their ranks to charge other union members (actors) for access to their offices? And how can the CSA expect casting directors to be recognized for the Academy Award when they represent the only profession in the entertainment industry which has a handful of members who consistently exploit actors and abuse their power to line their pockets?

The CSA can scratch its head, and wonder why every main-title profession, including editors, cinematographers, and even costume designers and makeup artists are considered for the coveted Oscar yet casting directors are left out of the mix. They can be puzzled by the lack of respect casting directors are accorded in the entertainment industry by producers, directors and actors. But all they have to do is look as far as their own members, at the greedy and self-serving behavior exhibited by a small number of them, and the inappropriate manner in which all responsible casting directors are portrayed by the workshop industry.

NOTE: If Mr. Da Mota is attempting to shame the CSA into action, taunt them with the lack of an Academy Award honor for best casting (a process any truthful casting director will tell you is a partnership between the choices presented by CDs and choices made by producers, writers and directors) by berating them for supporting the choice to lead and participate in paid acting workshops, we wonder what other less potent admonitions he may have tossed aside in that quest. Much more importantly, the CSA should promote paid casting workshops, as well as have guidelines for its members to volunteer for union, non union and other educational opportunities in which its members should be required to engage.

That’s basically it. Kinda like a State of the Workshop address. Today, actors have fewer and fewer opportunities and much less access to acting work and are paying more than ever to get their foot in the door. Things will never improve until the workshop companies are taken to task by the state of California for their violations, when the Guild has honored its commitment to its members by making certain Section 47 is fully and faithfully enforced, and when the CSA finally takes the initiative to make certain that all its members behave in a professionally responsible and ethical manner.

NOTE: Although Mr. Da Mota claims “that’s basically it,” it’s not. Far from it.

We assert that as actors, we make up one of the largest economic forces in the Southern California area, and that we are just as much in busines for ourselves, sole proprietors, as any other business. We should be treated the same way – with the same rights to engage in best practices in business as our producing partners, allied crafts and services, manufacturing, service and yes, even political operatives. A fundamental operation of business is to spend time and money to market its goods and services, meeting and educating potential buyers of those goods and services, leaving behind marketing materials and samples to try and convince those buyers to give us a try, to give us an order, to give us shelf space, and to let the consumers of those goods and services have the opportunity to enjoy them.

If we were not actors, but rather plumbing supply salesmen, lawmakers would never try to prevent us from individually, or at conventions or golf outings, meeting the hardware buyers at Home Depot or Lowes, give them our business cards, show them our pipes and wrenches, leave behind catalogs, brochures, even samples of our faucets and drains for real world inspection, get feedback on our line of offerings, maybe even take them out to dinner or or a show or baseball games,. And should those buyers go to the product managers of those companies and encourage them to put our products on the shelves in those stores for consumers to purchase, well, we’ve been successful.

But we ARE actors. Our tools may be different, but successful actors will tell you that our process is essentially the same.

Our jobs? Not plumbing supply salesmen, but rather, acting in television, in film and on stage.
Our products? Not a line of hardware, but our faces, bodies, voices and the ability to make people laugh, cry, feel and think – as actors.
Our conventions? Not hardware conventions, but ActorFest, Showbiz Expo, Act Now, Reel Pros, SSLA, Actors’ Key, AIA, and dozens more.
Our buyer’s assistants? Not Lowes employees, but casting directors, associates and assistants.
Our buyers? Not Home Depot product managers, but producers, show runners, writers and other final casting decision makers
Our marketing materials? Not business cards and brochures, but headshots and resumes and postcards.
Our samples? Not faucets and drains, but auditions. Yes, auditions with material that’s relevant to their current needs: the shows they cast.
Our buyer feedback? Not requests for different colors and finishes, but feedback-driven adjustments to our auditions.
Our dinners and events? Not baseball games, golf outings or $1000 a plate political fundraisers, but casting workshops and tickets to our plays.
Our consumers? Not the people who need to buy a new faucet, but the viewers of TV and film.
Our success? Not huge sales of our plumbing supplies, but our bookings, our ratings by our consumers, and our credits.

Mr. Da Mota, Mr. Lambert and Mr. Krekorian would be hard pressed to disagree with any of that, yet their new law seeks to abridge our rights to engage in that very business process, all in the name of protecting us poor defenseless actors against “unscrupulous” and “scheming” casting directors looking to line their pockets with literally dozens of dollars an hour – with a law that is truly useful in discovering and bringing to justice the true bane of our acting existence, individuals preying on unsuspecting newcomers and parents of children who dream of stardom and take their money by the tens of thousands. Respectfully, Mr. Da Mota’s paternalistic page is shameful and full of distortion, lies and misrepresentation.

We call on Mr. Da Mota, and Mr. Krekorian to join with us, professionals all, and change this law to affirm the right of casting workshop companies, casting directors and actors to congregate and meet, to exchange business material and offer more choice to the production community through discovery of new talent, ready to succeed in show business.

I don’t blame actors for paying for access. It’s nearly impossible to meet a casting director any other way. But if actors don’t want to pay, they must organize – and mount a revolution. They need to create a powerful lobby which can make their voices heard on a large and collective scale. They need to stand up and be counted. They need to take their careers back. They need to demand that the access to those who can hire them be free of charge – and not limited to those who pay for the privilege.

NOTE: We couldn’t agree more.

You can read the rest of Mr. Da Mota’s note at his website. Please do, to be completely informed, and tell us what you think in the comments below.

Posted in Featured.

35 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. BD said

    Thanks for the link to DoNotPay.org and for your notes.

    By the way, you forgot the part where I say:

    “I don’t blame actors for paying for access. It’s nearly impossible to meet a casting director any other way. ”

    Ironically, you and both want the same thing for actors, and that’s opportunities for actors to meet casting directors. My philosophy has always been that casting directors should not be paid for the privilege – and that access should not be a transaction, and that every casting director should consider themselves enriched by the actors they ,meet.

    My intention has never been to tell actors what to do with their money, but more to make those in my profession more accountable to the people who provide them with a livelihood. Actors – whether you agree or not – deserve to be treated with more respect than I believe they have by the casting community. But hey, I’m just one guy.

    bd

  2. Sara said

    And I should be able to get into CAA without a referral from my producer father… This is reality, Mr. Damota, a certain amount of actor’s budgets go to networking. Not really your place to tell anyone how to spend their money, nor is it your place to ask casting directors to give up free time on weekends and evenings to come meet more actors. They could just meet the five big agencies and call it a day. Instead, they come meet us, the ones without the powerful agents. And we, Mr. Damota, are leveling the playing field. We don’t want your help to undo our hard work.

  3. David H. Lawrence XVII said

    You’ll need to read my post more carefully, or at least farther down the page. I most certainly included that line, and the entire paragraph that follows.

    Your intentions towards casting workshops and the casting directors they employ to teach their classes has always been crystal clear. I don’t intend to let you or this law continue to harm my efforts as an actor to meet my customers and show them what I can do…so they can present me to the second level customers they work for that can hire me.

  4. RB said

    But…but…I MET Billy DaMota in a paid casting director workshop. I paid to see him…three times. According to my Rolodex, on 07/21/92; on 10/05/93; and on 10/25/94.

  5. m said

    We, actors, cry and scream that casting won’t see us. Won’t come to plays, improv shows or see stand up…wonder why? Honestly, why would they? Actors pay them money for them to do their job.

    Folks, its not legal. If you work in any other industry in the world and had to pay to meet someone in a hiring position, that person would be fired and that practice would be shut down, yet here we do it and call it “networking”….sad.

    If you as an actor took the money you spent on workshops a month and put it towards real networking or marketing to meet someone, then yes you would garner results. I guarantee it. Yet, you won’t. Instead you pay to meet someone for “class”. Its not class. Its a paid audition. You know it. They know it and if the real bosses in this situation know it (i.e. studio heads, legal affairs, etc), they would shut them down.

    If casting wants to teach so bad, then open a class. Make it a full day, where you actually teach and something you set up on your own accord vs. showing up and doing one off 2 hour “classes”

    Proud to say I have never done 1 workshop in my life and am a working actor.

  6. M said

    Sara – see notes below

    “And I should be able to get into CAA without a referral from my producer father… This is reality,”
    Not really, but why you THINK you deserve that is interesting. I am a marketing exec and I am great at my job, so I should be (as I read in your tone) ENTITLED to be at the best firm in my business? No. Its called hard work, relationship building and time. You want to do it overnight because you think you deserve it?

    You say “Mr. Damota, a certain amount of actor’s budgets go to networking.”
    Networking? Interesting definition. Sorta like calling prostitution “dating”. Well, we are having sex and spending time, so its the same thing right? Oh wait, I am paying that person to see me….oops not networking.

    You say
    “Not really your place to tell anyone how to spend their money, nor is it your place to ask casting directors to give up free time on weekends and evenings to come meet more actors”
    It his opinion and just that, however, the law also supports this. casting directors are great people and can do what they want with their time, but when it comes down to charging people to do their job, then yes it is time for someone to step in. You say “FREE TIME” actually not free time. They are being paid.

    you say
    “They could just meet the five big agencies and call it a day. Instead, they come meet us, the ones without the powerful agents. ”
    Yep, they could. Or we could make them do their job by seeing us while they are being paid to do vs. doing workshops where “teaching” is at a minimum. They will see you if you are warranted to be seen. Trust me. I have sat in enough offices and watch CD’s go through pics and resumes looking for new faces. I am guessing that will change since we are all willing to go and dump money for them to do what they are supposed to do during the day.

    You say
    “And we, Mr. Damota, are leveling the playing field. We don’t want your help to undo our hard work.”
    Leveling the playing field? How? explain that please. You are giving all the power to the people who don’t even sign your checks. that isn’t leveling the playing field. That is tilting it in their favor…..big time.

  7. David H. Lawrence XVII said

    Would you mind telling us what you mean by “real networking and marketing” with examples? I may be mistaken, but I’m sure that actors for whom success matters, are willing to explore (and probably already are) any “real networking and marketing” avenue to gain access to their customers.

  8. Terra said

    And I have asked Billy DaMota for a general when I mailed him my headshot. Never a call. So, he is full of contradictions and disgruntled.

    I do want scams to go away and protect the newbies and less informed from these scams. But, as is stated in this post, I HAVE to be able to meet with, advertise to, create a relationship with, and understand how business works with casting directors. If I do not have that access, I am dead in the water unless I am 20 years old and graduating from Harvard Drama School with a UTA agent.

    This law overreaches and should be immediately modified.

    Even if I did a play, would CD’s come? TV CD’s would not — most of the time — they are just too busy and need to see more than 6 people for their time. Film CD’s — maybe — but it also depends on their time available and if they find the play interesting. Would they be allowed to take my headshot under this law? Stupid, stupid if they could not — what other business would not allow that?! And I’m not going to even get into the fact that most of L.A. theater is bad — and overcoming that with CD’s is tough.

    When I go to the workshops, I can control my performance and presentation. I know who I am meeting. I know who will see me. I can make a personal connection. I can learn the specifics of that CD’s office, what is happening with casting that they do, do’s and don’ts they think are important, and answer audition questions (education enough!). If I get tips on my acting (which usually happens!), that’s a bonus. If I get a confirmation that my acting is good, then I know I’m on the right track and shouldn’t rock the boat. If I experience a new character to my toolbox and exercise my acting abilities that day, then it’s just like paying for yoga class — all benefits! A workout!

    Additionally, with nearly all casting moving online, the access to submitting has been severely curtailed. If you don’t have a good agent, there’s no chance at being considered for TV work unless you’ve been seen in a workshop or in theater because they don’t accept on-site submissions anymore. The same is often for film. And I’m not even getting into the complexity of how you get a hold of the breakdowns to even find out what is being cast out there!

    So, all this has to stop. It is a ridiculous over reach of the law and should be modified.

  9. m said

    By real networking and marketing I mean letters, emails, phone calls, internships, etc….take time to meet the people. Oh, but they don’t return my call or call me after I request it in one letter. Damn, ok then I will do workshops.

    Read any business book on marketing and/or networking. No where does it say to pay for service. No where.

    If actors took time and were willing to understand the long term approach to a career and building a relationship,then they understand that it doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. Something most don’t want to.

    Paying someone to meet you in sorta like prositution….

  10. M said

    Terra – you have “asked Billy DaMota for a general when I mailed him my headshot. Never a call. So, he is full of contradictions and disgruntled.”

    How many times? How many letters? How many phone calls? You want something bad enough do it more than once. If that logic were true, Pepsi would put an ad on TV and then just go out and buy customers since that one ad didn’t work. Its about time. I can say that when I moved here, I called Billy and we had a general in a coffee shop in Glendale.

    Same goes for 4 other cd’s.

    Terra, you say -
    “I HAVE to be able to meet with, advertise to, create a relationship with, and understand how business works with casting directors. If I do not have that access, I am dead in the water unless I am 20 years old and graduating from Harvard Drama School with a UTA agent.”

    Saying you HAVE to tells me you feel entitled because you took an acting class and a picture. No do don’t HAVE to do anything, nor do they. Access? If we made them do their job and not pay them to do it, then maybe you would get access. Never done 1 workshop and can say I have met plenty. May have taken a few years, but now I have that relationship. If you think paying someone money is going to create a relationship that is laughable. Terra, lets say I just moved here and wanted to be an Agent. Well, how would you get a job? Would you pay an agent to meet you to hire you? Or would you cal, mail resumes, network at events? That is your opinion you are dead in the water. You confuse networking with paying. WHen you pay me to see you….you are now not networking, but BUYING me. Sorta like prostitution. Sure they love you when you are there, but you ain’t marrying her or vice versa.

    “This law overreaches and should be immediately modified.”
    Overreaches? How? Telling CD’s that they can’t be paid by actors to do the job they are paid by studios/networks/production companies already?

    “Even if I did a play, would CD’s come? TV CD’s would not — most of the time — they are just too busy and need to see more than 6 people for their time. Film CD’s — maybe — but it also depends on their time available and if they find the play interesting. Would they be allowed to take my headshot under this law? Stupid, stupid if they could not — what other business would not allow that?! And I’m not going to even get into the fact that most of L.A. theater is bad — and overcoming that with CD’s is tough.”

    Why would they come now? You are paying them a few hundred bucks a few times a week to NOT come. Maybe that time would be replaced with them DOING THEIR JOB!!!!! THeir job is to meet and read actors. To see talent. Find it. Get the best talent on the show, that is what they are paid to do. Not take money from you and others to do their job. When they go to a play, they are not paid to do so. They are admitted free to see talent and, if right for it, follow up. That is why headshots can be allowed there vs. in a paid enviroment.

    “When I go to the workshops, I can control my performance and presentation. I know who I am meeting. I know who will see me. I can make a personal connection. I can learn the specifics of that CD’s office, what is happening with casting that they do, do’s and don’ts they think are important, and answer audition questions (education enough!). If I get tips on my acting (which usually happens!), that’s a bonus. If I get a confirmation that my acting is good, then I know I’m on the right track and shouldn’t rock the boat. If I experience a new character to my toolbox and exercise my acting abilities that day, then it’s just like paying for yoga class — all benefits! A workout!”

    You can control your performance? How? By getting 15 minutes or so to prepare something that, if you were auditioning for you might have at least one night, sometimes 2 to prepare? You say you can make a personal connection? How? Explain that. I get to read with you for money. We might have 5 minutes of alone time, but you are PAYING for that time, they are meeting you on their own accord, you are PAYING them to meet you and see you. Again, all great if they actually taught a class that was more than a glorified audition with minimal feedback. When you go to yoga are you expecting a job afterward? Tell me please HONESTLY, that you are going to workshops to learn and get a workout? Please tell me that you are not there to try and get hired. Think of hiring situations…..would you pay to interview for a job if it weren’t acting? Would you?

    You say “Additionally, with nearly all casting moving online, the access to submitting has been severely curtailed. If you don’t have a good agent, there’s no chance at being considered for TV work unless you’ve been seen in a workshop or in theater because they don’t accept on-site submissions anymore. The same is often for film. And I’m not even getting into the complexity of how you get a hold of the breakdowns to even find out what is being cast out there!”

    How do you get an agent? Get work. Build relationships. Get credits. I had my first 3 credits with NO AGENT. That is right. No agent. So explain that? Breakdowns aren’t hard to get. Not even a little bit.

    “So, all this has to stop. It is a ridiculous over reach of the law and should be modified.”
    Yes, people should stop paying CD’s to do a job they already paid for by a studio/network and/or production company.

  11. David H. Lawrence XVII said

    M,

    You certainly seem exercised about this, and it doesn’t seem like a casting workshop has been responsible for tragedy in your life.

    I’m interested in why you think CDs should be working outside normal (for them) hours to do this. Almost all of your statements include “we shouldn’t pay them to do a job they are already paid for” or words to that effect. I disagree with that statement on several levels, not the least of which are slavery laws. That may sound extreme, but we as union actors are paid time and a half, double time and more when we work more than 8 hours. What makes you think that casting directors are slaves that should be working on our behalf for 10 or 12 hours a day for no pay? I understand that we all need to network, and that more than one attempt at networking is important, and I also understand that you have no possible idea how much I work at non-workshop networking, and how much that networking nets me in actual paid acting jobs. I also completely disagree with you that there is little actual education taking place in workshops. It seems to me that the natural education we get from listening to the CD relate how she works, what she looks for, what mistakes she sees being made, what makes her gravitate towards an actor (or away), and all of the enormous teachable moments when you and other actors work…for me, those are invaluable.

    It also sounds like you’ve (proudly) never been to an casting workshop, paid or otherwise. Please disabuse me of that notion if that’s not the case – but if it is, then you really don’t know what level of education occurs, do you? What connections are made?

    Also – did your general with Billy include an audition? If not, how did Billy know whether or not you had the chops to bring you in for an audition? Or are you of the opinion that the audition, in the casting directors’ offices, are the only place such an event should occur? That that’s where the “can he or she do it” process should start? If so, we disagree on far more.

  12. M said

    a few very broad assumptions. Very broad. I have sat down with many CD’s whom I consider friends to chat about workshops and they 100%, word for word have told me not to do them. They are not there for anything other than making money.

    I have asked, educated myself from those who have done to garner an opinion based on multiple (i.e more than 20 conversations with actors and casting who do them).

    The argument you make is lackluster. Slavery? Really? Its not that they can’t go out and work post work hours or even, god…teach a class. But they aren’t teaching a class that they set up. They are paid to come in and audition actors. If you get education from that, great, but to call it a class is laughable. Its for money. Period.

    If it wasn’t on the line of illegal/unethical there would be no uproar at all, right? I mean if it wasn’t such a big deal, why the uproar and laws to regulate. If a casting director wants to do their job (casting) and then post hours organize and teach a class on their own accord, that is great. They are 100% free to do that, but to go into a situation where an outside organization is paying them to appear and do their job is not a class. its a PAID audition. I am obviously not going to change your mind either, but when you look in the mirror, understand you paying them to be seen and audition. Payola at its finest.

    The studios are paying them to find actors. You shouldn’t have to. They wanna teach, great. Teach. You wanna make money taking actors money to “audition” not ok. If they are so OK why then do studio’s who directly hire CD’s not allow them to do workshops? I have check and asked CD’s and without question, they are contractually not allowed to do workshops when employed by the studio. Wonder why? I guess its slavery?

    Glad the city is stepping in.

  13. Terra said

    M –

    In reality, I do think there is a great deal of truth in what you say that if you do good theater and do your own marketing/publicity on the side to bring in industry folks for that theater performance, then it is a far better opportunity to solidify your talent and your name with CD’s than workshops … if they come; and this is the great IF.

    The truth also is that since most CD’s portion very little (to no) time to going to L.A. theater, then most actors cannot rely on theater to showcase their talent when they are building their career. It is not enough to differentiate yourself and learn enough about this town’s biz side by only doing theater. You also have the additional barrier in that many Los Angeles CD’s (I know this from going to workshops), don’t think that just because you do well in theater than it automatically makes you a good film and TV actor. Only about 5-10% of Los Angeles CD’s prefer theater actors, usually because they came from New York, were a theater actor themselves, or just have a personal opinion about it.

    That said, I do believe that once you have a name for yourself and are regularly going out on auditions and are sizably in the guest-star-and-above actor, you should probably not be going to workshops and instead focus on supplementing the reinforcement of your brand (you) that happens in the audition with theater if you are not regularly getting TV and film work. Or, if not theater then working on indie film or short films. All of which you can use as a marketing tool to have an excuse to e-mail or postcard the CD’s you have in your database. To go to workshops at this stage in your career would be taking a step down (though, I do know a number of working actors who would disagree with me on this, simply because since the writer’s strike the market has become more competitive). You want to build the brand, not devalue it. So, I think that we probably would be loosely on the same page here, even with the disagreement about workshops in general.

    Now, I think that we do need to get out of the politics of what we are all talking about and state the obvious. Are we asking for an outright ban of showcasing and workshops? Or what are we asking for? What are we really arguing about? Are we just angry that CD’s don’t go to theater as much because of workshops? Because, if showcasing and workshops are not going to be banned but simply more regulated, then everything will remain the status quo. And what I have stated in my posts will also remain part of the casting culture in Los Angeles. Which means that an actor, especially in the building stages of a career, will likely need to utilize a combination of workshops, theater, short films, indie films, and potentially showcases as ways to market to casting directors, agents, and managers to get your representation team and to demonstrate your talent so that you are a desirable product for CD’s.

  14. JJ said

    I have friends who don’t do workshops because they feel like they’re just “paid auditions.” Hey, that’s fine. To each his own. Just like any product, you squeeze what you want out of it. M, you state “If you get education from that, great, but to call it a class is laughable. Its for money. Period.” Yeah? So? Personally, I learn something from each CD workshop I’ve taken and I’m a much better actor and auditoner now than I ever was prior. Why? Because constantly getting up in front of CDs on a regular basis and doing cold reads and then redirects on the fly has made me stronger and more confident. Plus, you learn the likes and dislikes of certain offices. All valuable stuff. Plus, I booked three Co-stars from workshops last year alone, not to mention several other auditions… many more than my actor friends who don’t do workshops. I can name a ton of actors who got their first TV or film credit from a workshop. Paid jobs! So, yeah… CDs are paid to be there and I have to pay to attend… the return on my investment is well worth it. Some actors may not have gotten as many auditions or bookings, well, that’s the nature of this extremely fickle business.

    You don’t want to do workshops… I have no problem with that. Don’t do them! But, don’t tell me what’s right or wrong about workshops. I go to plenty and could write a book on them. And, PLEASE, don’t lecture me that I’m not doing a good job of marketing myself, or I’m not persistent enough, if I can’t get into some of these offices WITHOUT workshops, because I market my tail off and get little results outside of the folks I meet in workshops.

    These new laws aren’t to protect the actor… it’s more designed to hurt us.

  15. JENNY said

    M, you say “a few very broad assumptions. Very broad. I have sat down with many CD’s whom I consider friends to chat about workshops and they 100%, word for word have told me not to do them. They are not there for anything other than making money. ”

    So, those CDs CHOOSE NOT to do workshops. That is fine.

    However, I know NUMEROUS actors and actresses with and without agents that have gotten auditions AND booked both TV and/or film from workhops. I, myself, have been called in 7 times for auditions and even booked a job. I do not have a theatrical agent. If it wasn’t for workshops, I wouldn’t have gotten those auditions NOR booked the role. So, leave it to the actor and the casting director…if he she wants to attend a workshop, so be it. If they choose not to, SO BE IT.

  16. JENNY said

    M, you say “a few very broad assumptions. Very broad. I have sat down with many CD’s whom I consider friends to chat about workshops and they 100%, word for word have told me not to do them. They are not there for anything other than making money. ”

    So, those CDs CHOOSE NOT to do workshops. That is fine.

    However, I know NUMEROUS actors and actresses with and without agents that have gotten auditions AND booked both TV and/or film from workhops. I, myself, have been called in 7 times for auditions and even booked a job. I do not have a theatrical agent. If it wasn’t for workshops, I wouldn’t have gotten those auditions NOR booked the role. So, leave it to the actor and the casting director…if he she wants to attend a workshop, so be it. If they choose not to, SO BE IT.

  17. AlexK said

    Terra makes a great point. What are we arguing about here? This law is not banning workshops. It is simply regulating them. You can still pay to attend these workshops. No one is stopping you.

    But like any other business, there must be regulations. If these workshops are truly educational, than they should be held accountable for providing just that.

    No one is talking about the rights that the actor is losing here. Besides the CD not being able to leave with our headshot, how else is this law hurting us? I can live with that loss if the rest of this law is going to keep these workshop companies in check.

    Stop arguing about whether or not casting workshops are ethical or legal. Stick to the point of this website. What is the point really? Everyone keeps talking about this law hurting the actor, but no one is actually saying HOW.

    I’d love to see a list of reasons why actors should be afraid of this law. Sounds more like workshops companies trying to scare actors into helping them fight a law that is supposed to protect us. Why don’t they focus more on providing us with decent workshops and less on trying to get the law changed?
    And believe me, there are companies out there that provide great workshops. It’s the unethical ones that are running for their lives.

  18. turkey said

    Folks, it’s a paid audition. I have been to several and there is very little teaching value. Up and down in a hot minute and at most you get a very basic redirect on a scene from a disinterested CD. Im’ not saying don’t do them, just know that the value to the actor is access. Period. The ability to start a relationship and follow up with a CD who you would never get to meet so easily otherwise. They are a necessary evil to actors needing co-stars on their resume or seeking to target a specific show. People do get called in for auditions straight from the workshops but it is RARE. Actors, just be honest with yourself about what you are paying for.

    It sucks to pay to be seen or to meet people, but it’s a tool in the toolbox for actors. And in theory, if they have four hours a week to see 20 people put up a crappy scene in a workshop, CD’s should have four hours a week to see 10 people actually act in a play. But that wouldn’t pay…

    Or, how about the CD’s actually see fewer folks at workshops and give them sides the day before and some REAL engaged attention and feedback on their cold reading skills. Then it would be worth it. This is NOT what happens at workshops.

  19. David H. Lawrence XVII said

    To be clear, Alex, this site was created by an actor, not any casting workshop. I’ve watched three casting workshops go out of business rather than try to figure out the law, and all of the places I go for workshops have been scrambling to try and make sense, and to try to comply, with the new law. I’ve watched them each implement slightly different efforts to be in compliance, and I want things to be clearer. The interpretation of this law has varied from Mark Lambert’s chilling interpretation all the way to the cavalier interpretation by some parties about how this law won’t ever be able to be enforced so there’s no need to do anything. I want that changed. I’m not getting paid to do this, by the way. I’m not sure where you got the idea that workshop companies were doing this site, but it’s just me. And hopefully, other actors who might want to step up and make their thoughts known.

  20. S said

    To be fair, David, don’t you have some affiliation with Signature Studios? I like them. In fact, they are whom I go to when I want to do a workshop.

    But to pretend you are not affiliated is not accurate. You may not make money when they make money, but I believe you count them as personal friends. That is an affiliation.

  21. David H. Lawrence XVII said

    Oh, it’s far worse than that. :-) I regularly take workshops at Signature Studios, Actors’ Key, Reel Pros and Act Now, and teach classes in voiceover at all four of those places as well as separate regular VO classes on Sundays at Actors’ Key, from whom I rent my space for the evening. I do not own a workshop company, nor does any workshop company support this website monetarily (i’m sure they’re appreciative, but that’s where it ends). Alex needed correction on his assumption that this site was borne of workshop companies. It is not.

    I am working on a page for this site called Transparency, where I will be listing all of my affiliations and workshop-based bookings so that you know exactly what my motivations are.

  22. AlexK said

    David, I should have been more clear. I appreciate your efforts, believe me. It is great that you are getting this information out to everyone. However, in your last statement you made it sound like your aim is to simply educate both sides about the ramifications of the law. But I think you are doing more than that. You’e trying to get the law changed and are clearly against it. I just want to understand why. You haven’t really made that clear. Why is this law so bad? It’s not taking away our chose to use these workshops, so what’s the argument here?

    If I were teaching at these workshops too, I would also be fighting for them, nonetheless. But I would also ask myself, what am I really fighting for here? You can still teach your workshops there my friend. And honestly, your workshops (although I’ve never attended but have heard) are probably the closest thing to what is educational. So bravo to you.

  23. Terra said

    And you all should know that David is a very successful working actor as well. “Heroes” anyone!?! So, it’s not like David doesn’t know what he’s talking about here in marketing himself and getting work. He is amazing in workshops — the showcasing that he does there is a great example of an actor who is in full control of his acting tools to demonstrate his talent and reinforce his relationship with the CD.

    So, I think after reading all of the postings here … that beyond some modification of the latest law so that it doesn’t over reach (like not being able to give your headshot to the CD in a workshop — come on! that’s my biz card!) it’s simply a matter of opinion as to where people get their biggest bang for your buck and time.

    There are obviously going to be theatre people who can never be convinced of workshops. And visa versa.

    No matter which way you cut it, you’re spending money and time to advertise yourself if you want to be in TV and film. Whether it be through workshops, postcards, theatre, etc. It’s all an expense.

    So long as there is no scam or fraud going on, then why get so worked up here?! Why carry an ax around about workshops?

  24. David H. Lawrence XVII said

    You are absolutely correct – I am looking to change the law. Some of the ways it’s being interpreted by law enforcement (please read the letter by Mark Lambert) is egregious and confusing – every workshop company is doing things differently to try to comply) are scary and potentially dangerous. The law provides a slippery slope for interference in my business, and it also leads to violations that are not enforced. Please be patient – I didn’t want to launch this site prematurely, but my hand was played for me. I want to consult with government relations and labor relations lawyers and put a proposal in front of several of the players that have helped write this law to get some things clarified.

  25. Terra said

    A CD is rarely going to teach me acting. If he/she were going to do that, the workshop would be entitled a “Casting Director’s Acting Class.” But, that is not what it is. Rather, it is a “Casting Director Workshop.” Why would this distinction be important?

    A workshop, by definition at dictionary.com —
    “a seminar, discussion group, or the like, that emphasizes exchange of ideas and the demonstration and application of techniques, skills, etc.: a theater workshop; opera workshop.”

    According to this definition, this is exactly what happens in the workshop. It is more like a discussion group and the demonstration of skills/talent. There is education in that process, but it is more about casting and all things related to the audition process — sometimes more, sometimes less, always unique, never the same. There is always a demonstration of skills/talent. All the dozens of workshops I have been to have met this workshop requirement — even if the workshop veers more into showcase territory.

    What would be illegal about exchanging your biz card (resume/headshot) in a seminar or discussion group? Or in a demonstration of your talent as part of your marketing materials? Nothing.

    And to be clear, just because the CD is answering questions and offers very little advice after that, it doesn’t mean you didn’t learn something. Trade education is often simply about answering your questions so you can see how something is done.

    Are workshops auditions? Again, dictionary.com –
    “1. a trial hearing given to a singer, actor, or other performer to test suitability for employment, professional training or competition, etc. 2. a reading or other simplified rendering of a theatrical work, performed before a potential backer, producer, etc.”

    According to this definition, I would have to say that workshops do this. BUT, without context you would be confused. The distinction would be contextual in that to be an actual audition you would be competing for an actual role and an actual project.

    Instead, what happens in workshops falls into the category of demonstrating, pre-reading, and showcasing — the giving of evidence that we have talent, can interpret scripts, are interesting to watch, can be adjusted, and are pleasant to be around. We are putting on display a representation of what the CD might see in an audition room if we are ever called in to deliver the real goods. THIS is the relationship building that is unique to the acting world. And, if I’m doing a workshop where I get to go into the room alone with a reader or partner and the CD instead of in front of a group, the relationship portion is only enhanced by the fact that I also usually get talk time with the CD to develop the business relationship — it is PR time that my budget is paying for.

    Granted, workshops are obviously not the only tool given to the actor to create credibility, trust, interest, and a relationship. But they can be very effective.

    I’m reminded of Chamber of Commerce morning mixers that happen every weekday morning throughout the U.S. where business people pay to meet, have breakfast together, exchange business cards and ideas, and essentially advertise their services to each other through likability, personality, sharpness of thought, and a verbal explanation of goods/services to offer. There is also usually someone who sponsors the event and gets to give a little talk. Are they buying their way into contacts and relationships and demonstrating credibility and competency? Yes. And the organizing group makes a chunk of change on the side for putting it together.

  26. S said

    Thank you for clarifying, David. And for not taking my point as criticism.

    David, your video refuting Membership First’s odd stance against AFTRA, was something i was really cheering you on for.

    But on this issue, I believe differently.

    I have been cast from workshops. That certainly makes me one of the lucky ones. Know who the unlucky ones are? The ones who can’t afford to be doing workshops. They are missing out on opportunities to be seen by CDs who can cast them.

    They are not being called into the office to read for roles. CDs are calling in actors who have PAID to attend these workshops for the small parts and one liners.

    CDs miss the opportunity to get to know actors, but they feel justified in the fact that they are still meeting a good number through the workshops.

    Actors who don’t have the money to spend are put at a severe disadvantage.

    It is not how this business or any business should run. It’s already hard enough.

  27. David H. Lawrence XVII said

    So is the inequity that exists between people that can afford paid casting workshops and those who can’t? You realize you’re actually making a socialist argument, right? That same argument would hold true for headshots, websites, the better, higher priced acting schools, video or voice demo reels. The ability to afford a better option to market yourself is always going to be a discriminator, and the fact that you and I can afford casting workshops and others can’t isn’t relevant at all. Someone will always be able to spend more than you or I. And someone very smart about this business once told me that having money to spend on your career makes all the difference – people who can’t spend money are their career are always going to be “put at a severe disadvantage.” What’s the solution? Do what I did, and, what I’m pretty sure you did – go earn the money to spend on your career. Work harder. Be more ambitious. Get better headshots. Join The Actors’ Network. Get a reliable car. Get a great demo reel. Go to casting workshops. Pay your union initiation. Intern at an agents office, and at a casting office – knowing that you can spend the time doing that for free, because you have your other time covered with making the money you need for your career. No actor need feel guilty about having that advantage – rather, they should be proud that they are managing their career effective, more effectively than others.

    And let’s be clear – workshop attendees are hardly the first place CDs look for potential audition participants. CDs, first and foremost, are going to the list of actors you see all the time on television (but don’t necessarily know their names), the go-to actors they’ve worked with forever, absolutely love and can trust will knock the part out of ball park, then through Breakdown Express for actors they may or may not know, culling down their lists of actors to call in, and then, if the people they meet in casting workshops also come to mind, then they might get called in, just as you and I have. And it’s not always for small parts. I’ve booked top of show and recurring guest stars from workshops more often than co-stars and under-5s, but that’s just me – YMMV.

    I understand you believe differently, and even if I haven’t persuaded you otherwise, I appreciate your comments and participation in the conversation, and would love to hear more.

  28. M said

    simple question – would you pay for a job interview with an HR director in any other industry and call it networking?

    Yes, people get jobs from them. Of course.

    I would challenge every actor out there who does them to do a solid cost analysis on these things

    Do the math on whether you are even close to operating on a profit. If you call it marketing, then do the math. If Nike “Marketed” or “promoted” themselves and found that to be losing money, they wouldn’t do it. Yet, actors do.

    Just a question to consider.

  29. David H. Lawrence XVII said

    I have done the math, and I’m way ahead. Others may not be, or may be further ahead than I.

    But cost vs. income is just one metric – I’ve been called in more than once by the people that I’ve met in some cases, and booked more than once by people I’ve only seen once (and some I’ve never seen, as casting workshops aren’t the only way I meet casting personnel). The value on the education that I’ve received on how to audition is enormous and somewhat incalculable – and the connections I’ve made with other actors has also led to bookings and referrals. There are so many benefits that just aren’t a part of the cost analysis you asked about.

  30. Reghan Alexander said

    Hear! Hear! Thank you, David!! For giving so many of us a voice (& being so well spoken with it!)
    My rights ARE being infringed on. It is a slippery slope!
    I do not appreciate being forbidden to give someone I’ve met my business card (headshot).
    What’s next?
    Are they going to dictate what can & can’t be done in my acting classes? Funny, I’ve been auditing new acting classes lately and each and everyone of them has asked me to bring my headshot with me (& have kept it!)
    It is the tool that we use specific to our business! It IS our business card & brochure! I wonder what would happen in other industries if lawmakers tried to dictate such restrictions.
    There are hundreds of us (at least) standing behind you, thinking the exact same things that you are saying! Let me know when there is more that I can do to help.
    Thank you so much for your efforts & time!

    DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE – the pursuit of happiness

    Men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,-’life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;’ and to ‘secure,’ not grant or create, these rights, governments are instituted. That property which a man has honestly acquired he retains full control of, subject to these limitations: First, that he shall not use it to his neighbor’s injury, and that does not mean that he must use it for his neighbor’s benefit… BUDD v. PEOPLE OF STATE OF NEW YORK, 143 U.S. 517 (1892)

    Among these unalienable rights, as proclaimed in that great document, is the right of men to pursue their happiness, by which is meant the right to pursue any lawful business or vocation, in any manner not inconsistent with the equal rights of others, which may increase their prosperity or develop their faculties, so as to give to them their highest enjoyment. The common business and callings of life, the ordinary trades and pursuits, which are innocuous in themselves, and have been followed in all communities from time immemorial, must therefore be free in this country to all alike upon the same conditions. The right to pursue them, without let or hinderance, except that which is applied to all persons of the same age, sex, and condition, is a distinguishing privilege of citizens of the United States, and an essential element of that freedom which they claim as their birthright. It has been well said that ‘the property which every man has in his own labor, as it is the original foundation of all other property, so it is the most sacred an inviolable. The patrimony of the poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his own hands, and to hinder his employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he thinks proper, without injury to his neighbor, is a plain violation of this most sacred property. It is a manifest encroachment upon the just liberty both of the workman and of those who might be disposed to employ him. . . The right to follow any of the common occupations of life is an inalienable right, it was formulated as such under the phrase ‘pursuit of happiness’ in the declaration of independence, which commenced with the fundamental proposition that ‘all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ This right is a large ingredient in the civil liberty of the citizen. To deny it to all but a few favored individuals, by investing the latter with a monopoly, is to invade one of the fundamental privileges of the citizen, contrary not only to common right, but, as I think, to the express words of the constitution. It is what no legislature has a right to do; and no contract to that end can be binding on subsequent legislatures. . . BUTCHERS’ UNION CO. v. CRESCENT CITY CO., 111 U.S. 746 (1884)

    “Burlamaqui (Politic c. #, . 15) defines natural liberty as “the right which nature gives to all mankind of disposing of their persons and property after the manner they may judge most consonant to their happiness, on condition of their acting within the limits of the law of nature, and so as not to interfere with an equal exercise of the same rights by other men;” and therefore it has been justly said, that “absolute rights of individuals may be resolved into the right of personal security–the right of personal liberty–and the right to acquire and enjoy property. These rights have been justly considered and frequently declared by the people of this country to be natural, inherent, and unalienable.” Potter’s Dwarris, ch. 13, p. 429.

  31. m said

    Reghan – you said the right word – CLASS. If you are going to a networking event you sure would have a business card or someway to find you. True. But simple question. Would you pay the HR director at a company money directly for them to interview you after hours, in the hopes that they might want to interview you during the day sometime in the future? That my friend is payola. Plain and simple.

    If you would, I am going to lean on you being dishonest. if you walked into any job and they said, yeah, interviews are 40 bucks, but it doesn’t gurantee that you will get seen by our boss, would you do it and call it networking? That is the issue here. not teaching classes, having your headshot, etc….

    Its about the legality of this…..

  32. S said

    Can’t believe you just said I made a ‘Socialist’ remark in an attempt to slam me. Sure you’re not MF? This isn’t Bill O’Reilly in disguise?

    Totally inappropriate and not part of the debate about Workshops at all.

    I understand your explanation of how and why you feel actors should be able to afford workshops. But it is not the blanket truth.

    In my case, for example (and this is just one example), my mother is gravely ill and at a hospital out of the country where her insurance is not accepted. So in order to keep her in the only place that will treat her, the entire family is chipping in for her medical and living expenses so she can survive. So that means I don’t have extra money for a workshop.

    Should that leave me out of the loop as far as casting goes? And let’s not kid ourselves. Smaller casting OFTEN happens directly from the workshops and workshop files.

    I took a five year break from acting and worked in NETWORK TV CASTING. I attended workshops as a casting professional. I know these facts first hand.

    As an actor, paying casting directors for a general meeting sucks-it big time. And Casting Directors do less regular generals than they used to, because now they are getting paid for it. It has gotten out of control.

    Many actors feel FORCED to do them to stay competitive.

    It’s a joke. Maybe that’s ‘socialist’ thinking. Maybe it’s ‘martian’ or maybe it’s ‘Battle Star Gallactian’ .

    Call it what you will, but thems the facts.

  33. Reghan Alexander said

    Who are you to decide that I get more out of a class than a workshop? What I choose to do with my money is none of your business.

  34. David H. Lawrence XVII said

    It wasn’t a slam at all – it was a caution – to intimate that the playing field should always be leveled by a governing body, is the very essence of socialism. Bill O’Reilly is at the opposite end of the spectrum from socialism, I would suspect, and I am at the opposite end of the merger spectrum from Membership First.

    I didn’t say they should be able to afford workshops. I said that if they can, they should have the freedom to choose exactly how and where they spend their money. Many factors, including family medical emergencies, play into our economic status. So does laziness and “playing” at being a professional actor. I’m not saying you have to be wealthy to be an actor, I’m saying that if you have money, you can do more and better things to promote your career, including a better computer, nicer marketing materials, and, if you choose to, the attendance of paid casting workshops.

    Generals, free workshops, conventions, paid workshops, seminars at TAN – all part of the meet and greet and perform process. Actors feel forced to do a lot of things: plastic surgery, faith healing, consulting with acting “gurus” as well. Workshops aren’t for everyone, and they don’t work for everyone. But I believe that everyone should have the right to try them.

  35. Michael D said

    I cannot stand this guy. He throws half of his peers under the bus, as well as being a hypocrite. He doesn’t believe actors should pay to audition, and yet his castings have shown up on Actors Access as well as Now Casting. Both sites which require actors to pay to submit. He’s also casted projects where background talent has had to pay to register with the casting company that will allow background actors to work that movie. Hypocrite.
    He blocks and removes actors if they feel any different. Like a 5 year old. His career has amounted to a pile of C list films. I told my agent to not submit me for his projects. Any industry member who tries to take the ‘so-called’ high road, when they know damn well of all the inside handshakes daily, they can take a hike. Don’t waste your time with this gu.

Some HTML is OK

(required)

(required, but never shared)

or, reply to this post via trackback.