So just to back track here Deadline.com came out with an article last week when actors Ever Carradine, Merrin Dungey and Sprague Grayden slammed an ad by Betty Mae Casting offering paid self-taping services for non-Betty Mae projects. Their comments launched a heated discussion about the wide use of self-tapes, which have replaced the vast majority of in-person auditions over the last three years. Now just for reference Betty Mae Casting has casted huge movies like Bullet Train with Brad Pitt, Machete 1&2, Black Swan, Brooklyn’s Finest, Spy Kids 1-4, Sin City etc
So my question is Why are we blaming casting? The deadline article is utterly ridiculous. So I’m going to give you 5 reasons this is crazy nonsense!
#1st thing is now Casting directors are able to see more people because of self-tapes. As opposed to when we used to go in person there wasn’t enough hours in a day to see tons of people so casting kept the audition list small & tight. With self-tapes casting can now go through hundreds of tapes looking for the perfect actor! All the self-tapes load into Breakdown Services and they can go through them 1 by 1 easily. Just FYI, In the past the self-tapes were actual “TAPES”, VHS, BETA & DVDs now that everything is digital. So I ask my fellow actors… Isn’t that what is actors want… More Opportunities to Audition?
#2, You do NOT need to pay to do a self-tape! Casting has never required payment to audition, never have in the past & still don’t. So I ask Why are you paying $50 when anyone can set up a little audition studio in their closet, bedroom, office or garage. All you need is a bed sheet or curtain backdrop & ring light from Amazon for $40 and your cell phone. Most of your auditions are shot from the chest up cause they want to see your facial reactions. You just need to bring your acting chops & perform. To me anyone paying $50 at a casting office is because they are hoping to be plucked from obscurity by using a famous busy casting house. So then when you don’t get a call back you blame the $50 that you spent. No Casting Director has ever asked me to Spielberg or Scorsese and never asked me to do crazy extreme set ups. See, I think the best thing about self-tapes is that you get submit YOUR BEST AUDITION and delete the crappy ones! If you film a crappy take then guess what, you can just HIT DELETE! That is what is so perfect about self tapes, you get to control your audition. Back in the day when you did in-person auditions if you were having a bad day your risked a crappy audition. If you went to your audition and sucked well there’s no going back your fate was sealed for that job. So quit bitching about being given the opportunity to submit your best stuff!
#3, CASTING IS & HAS ALWAYS BEEN ON THE ACTORS SIDE!! I don’t know how many times I have to say this but casting is rooting for us to be amazing, to be perfect for the role. If they’ve chosen you to audition then that means they believe you have something to offer and they’re praying their intuition is right when we audition & we blow them away! Casting is rooting for us! There are many reasons that are out of your control of why you didn’t get a callback or pinned. It could be that you don’t fit the “Family look” or you don’t come across on film they way they thought you would. For example my daughter is 24 years old but on camera she come across as only 14-16 years old. Or lastly you didn’t do your homework & your acting just sucked. Believe me when I say You definitely can blow a self-tape audition.
#4, Readers….Yes we need readers but do we really need to pay for a reader? No, absolutely NOT. You’re an actor so I know you have other actor friends. I’m fortunate to have my daughter who is also an actor read with me but I also know five other people that would at any given notice, read with me. So just reach out to your actor friends/groups/classes and ask! We as actors can always use the practice. So trading off reading for 1 another for FREE is the perfect scenario.
5th, Lastly, I’ll ask again, why are we blaming casting? That’s what I really don’t understand. Come on people think about it. Do you know that casting directors are one of the most Important people in the industry. Their choices/suggestions can make or break a TV Show or Film. It’s also the most underappreciated jobs in the entertainment industry. They cast an entire film or tv show then everyone forgets about them. How often do you see someone get up and accept an award & thank the casting director for giving them the opportunity…? never! Casting is an important but very tough job. They can go through 50 to over 300 tapes for some roles & believe me when I say casting is watching them all. That’s their job and they take pride in their job and if they didn’t watch then they could miss watching someone who is perfect for the role. So trust me when I say they’re watching those tapes in hopes that YOU’VE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK, YOU’VE READ the SCRIPT & FIGURED OUT THE CHARACTER. They’re also praying you’re perfect for the role so they can tell the Director & Producers all about you.
Let me just add it’s my opinion that the people who paid $50 to a prominent casting office probably did so because they thought it would help their chances or maybe that casting office would pluck them out of obscurity and make them famous….kind of like eating lunch at “The Ivy” in hopes of running into Spielberg or Tom Cruise and getting to stare their next film. The likelihood of that happening is next to None! So don’t bitch and complain when you pay and don’t become famous. There’s also many reasons you DON’T book the job and MOST of those reasons are out of your control. There’s only 1 of those reasons that you didn’t get a callback or the job and that is you were NOT prepared and you sucked (and we’ve all had that happen). So put on your big person panties and do the work, be prepared and kick ASS in your auditions….for FREE!!
So Actors Please Stop Vilifying Casting Directors & Stop complaining about getting self-tape auditions and go for every opportunities handed to you for tv & film roles & stop complaining because you sound ridiculous!