Actors casting/breakdown websites and services: Which ones?

There are a number of websites out there all vying for the attention and money of actors. They promise jobs and money in your pocket if only you pay their monthly/yearly fee. There are MANY to choose from but in my experience only a few that are worth the time and expense.

Here’s my list of favorites. Hope it helps.

Actors Access

This site is my favorite. I’ve been invited to many auditions and have even booked legitimate work through them.

PRO’s:

– It is the ONLY casting site that is directly connected to the legal casting breakdowns that agents and casting directors receive on a daily basis. It is still practically impossible to get into these auditions without an agent or relationship with the casting director, but every now and then you can slip in.

– It is good for on-camera auditions in general. Student films, short/feature indies, and commercials.

– It is free to register and has an option where you can pay per submission. Its generally about $2 a submission (the price of a stamped headshot/resume) OR you can sign up for their premium package which is about $70/year and includes unlimited submissions in addition to their showfax account which allows you to download sides and such.

– There is a pretty clear cyber trail behind each casting. While it doesn’t guarantee that you wont end up on a job with a creep or a douchebag who just wants to meet women (don’t get me sarted..) it is a pretty safe community.

– Thanks to their detailed personal profile they will send you work tailored to your type. You’ll receive an email everyday with the perfect breakdowns for you. You still have to go through them with a fine-tooth comb before submitting, but it makes it simple and enjoyable process.

CON’s:

– They haven’t caught onto how ridiculously easy it is to upload video and audio these days. If you want your reel on their site you have to go through an inordinate amount of hoops and it costs an outrageous $50 for the first minute. And you have to go to them to upload it. Get with the program AA!!

– Lack of legit theater auditions.

– You can’t post that many photo’s

I’d recommend starting with the pay-by-submission option and graduate to the premium account when you’re sure you’ll use it daily (that takes the average cost per submission down to pennies)


NY Castings

This is a free site.

It has a general wash of auditions, I believe anyone can post a job (please correct me if I’m wrong) and you get bombarded with emails that may or may not have any relevance for you. Overall, I like this site, but it is high maintenance.

PRO’s:

– Free!

– Lots of prime-time TV extra/small-role casting breakdowns. I once booked a small role on Flight of the Conchords (I didn’t do it – that’s another story!!)

– Huge selection of job opportunities

– You can post video, audio, loads of photos for free on your profile.

– Postings as they come into the site

– End-of-day recap for all postings.

CON’s:

– As above. I have an account here, but I get completely overwhelmed with emails from them and frequently just delete them rather than sift through each breakdown to see if there might be a good role for me.

– Very little feedback/response from submissions. That might be me and how I’m doing it, but I’ve had way more success with Backstage or Actors Access..

If you’re OK with getting billions of emails a day, then this is a pretty good website to start out with.

Backstage

I’ve been a fan of Backstage for the entire time that I have been acting in this city. And when they finally sorted out there online presence I was thrilled. While it is again very expensive, the amount of theater (broadway, off-bdwy, off-off bdwy) castings they post is incomparable.

Much like the paper version it is full of helpful insights and postings for the professional and novice alike.

PRO’s:

– Full-on local and regional theater casting breakdowns. The only site I know of with such a diverse theater breakdown.

– Daily updates (which beats the paper version..)

– Great profile page where you can upload many pix, videos, audio, etc.

– Connected to Call Sheet (Used to be Ross Reports??) for extra $$

CON’s:

– $135/year for just Backstage.com alone. That’s not much when you look at it month-to-month, but they don’t even tailor their emails to you like ActorsAccess so you have to do ALOT of work to sift through the crap o find something that works for you. Now, that’s exactly like it is with the paper, but for an online service, I’d like to see them make it much more user-friendly. Although, they may be the only newspaper in the world who have managed to make the switch from paper to cyber relatively pain-free thanks to this. So..

– Bulk emails with MASSES of info (kinda covered in the previous paragraph..) which clutter up your inbox. Not fun!

I’d have to encourage you to pay for this one, although, if I’m honest, in over two years I’ve only received two or three auditions. Again, it could be how I’m submitting myself, but its a big nut to swallow when you consider how much I spend on other sites..

Voice 123

Purely for the voiceover artist.

I have struggled with this website.

I like it in principal. You don’t have to pay for registration and they will usually give you a free trial of their premium subscription for a month or so, but their free set-up is basically pointless. All you see is that there are jobs for you but you’re not allowed to submit to them. And their premium subscription is $295/year!!

PRO’s:

– All kinds of jobs for the non-union voice actor.

– Tailor-made email alerts for your specific voice/style based on your profile

– Upload LOADS of different vo reels/demos.

– Audition for a job from home and upload the job to their website.

– Paypal payment option.

CON’s:

– Practically no work for union actors. If there is a posting that says the client will work with a union person, the actor is usually left to deal with the red tape of it. Which in my experience is practically impossible.

– I was given the premium package for free for a whopping 3 months and it still wasn’t enough time for me to navigate the site. And any job I may have booked fell-through due to the overcomplicated booking/payment process.

– You can be informed a job that is perfect for you but are not allowed to apply for it. Even with a premium subscription. I’m not sure I understand what the reason for this is. It’s just frustrating.

While I am still open to this website and have a hunch that once tapped and navigated well it could be a gold-mine, I am now trapped in a hamster-wheel of things to do to make it work for me. Might be a little too much work (and money!!) for very little pay-off. Please let me know if you’ve had a different experience. Could be I am just showing my cyber-age on this one..

Voices.com

I have to be honest here. I like the sound of this one as I found it thanks to the book Voice For Hire, but I still have to figure out how to use it to my advantage. I’m not sure how much work get’s through here as I’ve only received 3 inquiries since the beginning of the year. Pretty slim pickin’s. And one of the packages they offer, the Platinum package, costs $1995/year!! I don’t know about you, but I want to know who actually spends that much money on a casting breakdown service. Even their ultra basic package is $199/year which if you include how much all the previous sites charge it can set an actor back almost $1000/year just to have the privilege to submit ones self to an audition..

PRO’s:

– People/producers/clients can listen to your reel without you having a paid account

– Upload many demo’s

– Easy for CD’s and such to find you thanks to their very specific personal profile pages.

CON’s:

– Like Voice123 the free service is practically useless as there is no way to submit to a job listing – even if the producer has contacted you personally through the site after listening to your demo.

– Very few castings

– Relatively unknown

– No email updates so I forget about it all the time.

My experience is pretty limited with these guys, so I’ll be sure to update more as I go along. But it comes highly recommended by other vo artists, which is something you can’t ignore. I’d suggest trying it out and setting up a profile at the very least.

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About The NYC Actor

Angela Dee is a professional actress working in Film, Theatre, TV, Commercials and Voiceovers. She currently lives in New York. www.angeladee.com

3 Responses to “Actors casting/breakdown websites and services: Which ones?”

  1. >Thanks Claire!Helpful info. I just signed up with Casting About (that's the new Ross Reports, right?). I'm interested in seeing how it works as it looks odd at first sight..Angela

  2. >Hey Angela – Thanks for jumping in to this! It is such an ongoing miasma to sort out that barely existed even a few years ago…In LA, ActorsAccess actually has a lot of the best theater auds. Also, I hear castingabout.com is starting up in NY. You can't submit via them, but they have the most up-to-date info for who is casting what. And I've found nowcasting.com a great place for low-cost hosting of video/photos/resume…Clairewww.brainsofminerva.com

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