This post is for ALL actors, regardless of experience.
Let’s be honest, ten years ago it was 2002 and the internet was not even a teenager. The movie “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan had only come out a few years prior with its dial-up modem sound effects in full force. Not even 10% of the world’s population was online then. Now, the internet is a precocious twenty-something and has all the cool swagger that goes along with that age. The difference is that most twenty year-olds are broke and still pretty naive. But the internet continues to break records with the wealth it can create as well as the ease, speed, and ingenuity of information. One in three people (worldwide) are online now. Every industry has been affected by the internet and the acting industry is no exception. Point is, you had better be plugged in to the electronic resources that are changing this industry or you will be left behind.
So which web tools do you need to be aware of? Several. The industry is still going through growing pains in regard to the electronic tools available so different “door-openers” are using different sites. The message – you should be on all of them. These sites are tools that put actors, agents, and casting directors together without having to leave home. Wait, casting directors can do their job without having to endure in-person pleasantries from kiss-up actors all day? Yes. Yes they can. And they love it. Hence the trend in this direction. But I digress. Here are the sites you need to be on:
800Casting is used by a lot of casting agents in this industry. And it’s no surprise because, in my humble opinion, it’s one of the easiest and most thorough sites for the industry. This website has a lot of benefits about it. You can load a bunch of photos, video reels, and voiceover demos. Of course it has a resume builder program that you input your acting resume on so the resumes are uniform for all the agents that use the software. The site gives you a unique web address for your profile which is perfect for forwarding your portfolio electronically to casting agents and directors who may be asking for your headshot and resume at a distance. It even has a cool mobile app that allows you to shoot video auditions with your phone and send them in electronically. The annual cost for this website is $39.95 (as of this writing). One of the downsides of this site is that it only works if you work it – meaning, there is no automatic submissions of your profile to projects that match your demographic/skills. While casting directors can search 800Casting for types they are looking for, there is no way to ensure you are being seen for roles that you might fit. Nevertheless, 800Casting is a must because of the volume of industry users.
I have a love/hate relationship with ActorsAccess. Like 800Casting, a TON of casting directors and other industry insiders use this platform. The upside is that ActorsAccess is free. Those are the parts I love. Hey, can’t beat that! But you get what you pay for. The navigation of the site is a little clumsy in my opinion and the biggest downfall is that it only allows you to have two free photos. Two! If you want more than two, it’s $10 for every extra photo. Worse than that, you have to choose which ONE you want to send when submitting to a project – casting directors don’t get to see your full profile of pictures, only the one you selected for that submission. Also, the website STILL does not have a way for you to upload videos to your profile. You have to MAIL IN a DVD to the administrators of the site who will upload it for you. Oh and there’s a fee for that -$22 per minute of video. You can also drop it off at their office in either LA or NYC if you want to save on postage. To end on a positive note, if you don’t have an agent submitting for you through ActorsAccess, you can submit on your own! Downside, it’s $2/submission. Because of the vast amount of industry users of ActorsAccess, it is a must for you. And thankfully it is free for the basics. But I really think they should call it nickel&dimeActorsAccess.com.
I saved the best nationwide casting site for last! Now Casting is hands down the easiest, most versatile, productive, national online casting site out there. And best of all, it is totally free! It is my hope that the industry will realize how good this site is and migrate from ActorsAccess to NowCasting, but there I go digressing again. NowCasting lets you upload a complete profile like 800Casting and allows you to change photos as needed. If you want your demo reels or resume clips on there, it’s a $6 monthly fee – not bad. And guess what – you can upload them from your computer [insert razzie at ActorsAccess]! The really cool thing about NowCasting is if you have resume clips on there, the particular credit will have a camera icon next to it and the casting director can simply click whichever credit clip they want to watch. Very cool. They also have their highest level membership that is $13/month which allows you all of the video benefits plus searching of all castings on their system as well as the ability to submit to projects in any market nationwide. Again, this site is used by tons of people in the industry including Tyler Perry’s Studio in Atlanta.
Alright, those are the biggies. So get going and get online if you aren’t already – especially on NowCasting. I will be SHOWCASING one more online casting site you will not want to miss. Not only does it do all of the above, is free to register, but it is the only site that submits you AUTOMATICALLY to projects that fit your demographic/skills. If you want a preview, check out TALENTSOUP.