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View Full Version : Charging actors to audition? Is this a common practice?



lhmaloney
08-17-2008, 12:01 PM
I am gearing up for my first independent feature. Recently we have got alot of promotion for our open auditions and we are expecting possibly over 300 people to audition. Some of my producers suggested that do to the magnitude of auditions we would experience that day, that we charge people I guess a fee to audition, to cover the new expenses we are about to experience for the audition. Before you guess its not alot, they're suggesting a price under $10 dollars. I do not agree with this, primarily because I have never heard of anyone do this except for under shady pretenses, so does anyone have any experience or thoughts on people charging for auditions.

Zak Forsman
08-17-2008, 12:06 PM
don't do it.

sean90291
08-17-2008, 12:11 PM
Please don't do it. Actors already do so much for you by simply showing up to an audition, with very little chance of getting the role (because only one person is cast for the part, and everyone else just showed up out of a passion to continue their art). Do NOT exploit that generosity. As a filmmaker, you're an artist. You should respect the time another artist donates to you by coming to the audition. Charging actors is not something a legitimate film would ever do. In fact it's downright sleazy. If anything, we filmmakers should pay the actors for showing up. I wish I could. I really do.

aalleexx
08-17-2008, 12:59 PM
charging to audition is an automatic red flag at least in my book, its like paying to get interviewed for a new job, it just does not happen

deedive
08-17-2008, 01:00 PM
charging is taking advantage, and is just plain wrong. If u have to, do less auditions to save money.

CRProductions
08-17-2008, 01:17 PM
yea it's a job interview...you ever paid to go to a job interview..not to mention, no one with ANY talent/experience would show up to your audition and your project would probably suck ass lol

Ted Spencer
08-17-2008, 03:09 PM
Ditto to all the above. And it seriously calls into question the experience and/or integrity of your "producers". Actors already "pay" to audition by taking time away from their other activities, paying for transportation to and from, etc. Charging them a fee would be a great way to smack them right in the face for their generosity, and ensure that the best of them will definitely not show up.

So don't do it.

And you should take a long, hard look at your producers. Unless they themselves are making massive contributions, especially in cash, I'd probably fire them and find others who know what the heck they're doing.

sean90291
08-17-2008, 03:14 PM
And you should take long, hard look at your producers. Unless they themselves are making massive contributions, especially in cash, I'd probably fire them and find others who know what the heck they're doing.

True that!

lhmaloney
08-17-2008, 03:24 PM
Thank you all for re assuring my initial thoughts. As I said I already believed this because for me its all about perception. To me you look like you're strapped for cash, which we're not, when u charge people an admission basically. Like I said I never heard of this, but morally it seemed wrong, I thought maybe some of my producers knew more than me. But how could they i'm a film director. :Drogar-Dum(DBG)::Drogar-Dum(DBG)::Drogar-Dum(DBG)::dankk2::dankk2:

ConspiracyPenguin
08-17-2008, 03:34 PM
No, no, no, no, no. From the one person that gets the role, they would be paying for that but from the other 299 people that's a Goddamn donation! Don't do it. You will push actors away and possibly miss the perfect one.

Capt Quirk
08-17-2008, 04:08 PM
If the general concensus is Not to charge them to audition, I guess you probably shouldn't charge them to get cast and act either? It could be the start of a new way to finance the movie. "How bad do you want the role? What is it worth to you?"

aalleexx
08-17-2008, 04:10 PM
yep agreed, I would take a second look at my producers if I were in your shoes, charging them is a slap in the face, I admire actors, and they do enough by showing up and giving you performance plus I always try to pay for their transportation to the audition and once they are there I want to make them feel as good as posible, refreshments, food whatever
shows character from the producing side plus if you want to make a career and stay in this business well eventually word is gonna go around that there are some "producers charging for auditions"
bottom line is that charging them is not showing character it's showing your a$$

J.R. Hudson
08-17-2008, 04:16 PM
This is like a company charging you money to have your script submitted.

Oh wait.

Tom Marshall
08-17-2008, 04:17 PM
If the general concensus is Not to charge them to audition, I guess you probably shouldn't charge them to get cast and act either? It could be the start of a new way to finance the movie. "How bad do you want the role? What is it worth to you?"

I can see it now...

Hey, congratulations! You got the part! That'll be 100 dollars. Let me give you my Paypal ID.

ConspiracyPenguin
08-17-2008, 04:32 PM
This is like a company charging you money to have your script submitted.

Oh wait.

Hehehe :grin:


But seriously, this is a slippery slope.

tasialabastro
08-17-2008, 08:06 PM
Like everyone has mentioned, don't charge. Plenty of solid reasons not to.

Cryogenic Filmworks
08-17-2008, 08:18 PM
This isn't a Mexican production is it? I worked on three of them here in D/FW and they will bring in a name actor or two from Mexico (they are name to the Mexican audiance) then they charge the locals to be in the movie with these name actors.

CandyKisses
08-17-2008, 08:30 PM
Definately not a good idea. Actors are already taking time out of their schedule to audition with no guarantee of a part. Many of them already have full time jobs and miss work to come audition for you.

lhmaloney
08-17-2008, 08:45 PM
This isn't a Mexican production is it? I worked on three of them here in D/FW and they will bring in a name actor or two from Mexico (they are name to the Mexican audiance) then they charge the locals to be in the movie with these name actors.

This is the basic thought process around it, because this music is guaranteed to be distributed. On top of that, we're going to pay the actors, so I guess these "producers" are thinking it's like a job application fee. WTF. I don't know and the fact about firing them, basically they're private investors who know nothing about the intricacies of a movie, they basically funded, wanted their name out it, i'm not going to argue with them for that title for that funding. However thinking like this, is why they need to do they're part, make and invest money, and I do my part, create and live dreams.:dankk2:

Tom Marshall
08-17-2008, 11:33 PM
Definately not a good idea. Actors are already taking time out of their schedule to audition with no guarantee of a part. Many of them already have full time jobs and miss work to come audition for you.

Not only that, but serious actors spend a LOT of money at it. Headshots, different classes, workshops, etc. all cost money. The last thing we need is to spend money just to audition.

Capt Quirk
08-18-2008, 04:25 AM
It is a job like anything else. People take time to go to interviews, because they want a job and they like to eat. People spend money on clothes to look nice for the job, actors spend money on head shots, mechanics spend money on tools (And lots of it!).

Michele Seidman
08-18-2008, 07:47 AM
Charging actors to audition is not even legal in most states.

Casting directors get paid by the production to screen actors and that is how they make their money.

If anyone is charging actors to read for a film in 9 out of 10 cases (if not 10 out of 10), it is a scam.

hdimages.ca
08-18-2008, 08:15 AM
if you could shoot it and burn a dvd of each actor 1min,then give them the copy. your could charge $15 or so . and your actors will not feel so (raped) when they leave. might even get 600 to turn out.

Tom Marshall
08-18-2008, 09:01 AM
I wouldn't pay 15 bucks for a 1 minute video of myself auditioning...

Capt Quirk
08-18-2008, 09:07 AM
To walk into an audition, and get charged $15 for a 1 minute DVD, I don't see anyone that would be interested. Not a potential casting director, not an actor. But I do see that as having some potential, if it were done properly, but not at an audition.

Tom Marshall
08-18-2008, 09:40 AM
To walk into an audition, and get charged $15 for a 1 minute DVD, I don't see anyone that would be interested. Not a potential casting director, not an actor. But I do see that as having some potential, if it were done properly, but not at an audition.

Yeah, looks who's talking, Mr. "questionable" casting guy. I've heard some stories about you, buddy... what was the deal with the girl and the cucumber anyway??

hdimages.ca
08-18-2008, 09:58 AM
the point is you must give them something for the $$$.start up actors don,t have any footage of themselves .a casting call like this would be mostly wannaby actors with no tape or dvd of them self . it is not that they even want it ,most real actors would not even go to the gig that does,t have a casting person. the new world of electronic casting when actors pay the $40 to do some lines ,and submits it to the casting person. the casting person then organizes the clips on a web site . the directors scan the the clips on the internet from anywhere, and pics his actor.

Tom Marshall
08-18-2008, 10:03 AM
the point is you must give them something for the $$$.start up actors don,t have any footage of themselves .a casting call like this would be mostly wannaby actors with no tape or dvd of them self . it is not that they even want it ,most real actors would not even go to the gig that does,t have a casting person. the new world of electronic casting when actors pay the $40 to do some lines ,and submits it to the casting person. the casting person then organizes the clips on a web site . the directors scan the the clips on the internet from anywhere, and pics his actor.

Just because an actor doesn't have any footage of themselves doesn't make them a "wannaby" actor. It simply means that they're most likely just getting started and in fact have every intention of being a professional. They just haven't had enough acting roles so that they can put a reel together.

As far as electronic casting, it doesn't really work that way. The whole point is to have an actor come in so that the casting person can get a feel for who they are and see what kind of vibe the person gives off.

Ted Spencer
08-18-2008, 10:04 AM
if you could shoot it and burn a dvd of each actor 1min,then give them the copy. your could charge $15 or so . and your actors will not feel so (raped) when they leave. might even get 600 to turn out.

Sorry to put it just like this, but the above is complete rubbish.

hdimages.ca
08-18-2008, 10:37 AM
as for electronic casting ... that is how it is done in vancouver when the director in in la. the casting persons job is to narrow the field so directors don,t have to ( get a feel for who they are) from 300 actors. maybe just the top 4 picks. i know this because my buddy is a casting agent here. i have been asked to shoot actors doing lines all the time . but not worth the $40 that it pays. i guess no reason to do this in hollywood. . would actor newbe be a better term for new actor to discribe some one starting out.

Tom Marshall
08-18-2008, 10:44 AM
Oh, if they're narrowing down the actors for an audition, then that's fine. They can get a general look of the actor and see if they can act. I wouldn't ever make a final decision based on an internet audition. It would only be to weed out the ones who you wouldn't want to see in person for whatever reason.

Yeah, I think wannabe actor means someone who would like to be an actor but isn't willing to put any time or money into it. If the person is out doing auditions and has headshots, then they're definitely not wannabes. Acting newbie would be a better term.

Capt Quirk
08-18-2008, 11:22 AM
Yeah, looks who's talking, Mr. "questionable" casting guy. I've heard some stories about you, buddy... what was the deal with the girl and the cucumber anyway??That's what the role called for :)

gi-jones
08-18-2008, 12:16 PM
On my last casting session I actually gave everybody I turned down the chance to download a wmv of their audition. I just kind of though that'd be a nice gesture, now that they all turned up and spend their time. Also I'm hoping that it might help some of them, especially those of lesser experience. Also I just like to make friends with as many actors as possible; you never know who might make it big, and then you're gonna wish they were your friend :)

Seriously though, I'm so awed by how many will show up for a non-profit casting call, begging for the damn part. I really hate making the phonecalls to the ones who didn't get it.

Ted Spencer
08-18-2008, 03:14 PM
I really hate making the phonecalls to the ones who didn't get it.

And bless you for doing it.

At about 98% of auditions (at least here in NYC) that courtesy is never extended. Only the chosen get the call. It always seemed to me that it would be a fairly simple thing to do a single, mass, courtesy email to everyone who auditioned and didn't get picked. That way they'd know, and could move on without worrying they'd take another role that might conflict. If you have good reason to believe your audition was particularly well received (like for example, they convincingly told you so, asked about your schedule, etc.), this can be a valid concern.

tasialabastro
08-18-2008, 05:31 PM
That's what the role called for :)

You held that audition too? Wow, small world!

:thumbsup:

Capt Quirk
08-18-2008, 05:33 PM
You held that audition too? Wow, small world!

:thumbsup:Yep, four times now. The funny thing is, I'm not even shooting anything :)

gi-jones
08-19-2008, 12:24 AM
Something else people do. Telling actors they did good when they didn't. Giving them false hopes, only to let them down, or worse yet; never let them hear from you again. The whole "We'll call you" attitude. If people aren't right for the role I tell them, the second I know for sure. I know that this is not the common way (actors tell me). But not doing it, is just kind of cruel, and people just do it to avoid the situation of facing a person you just dissapointed. Admittedly it can be tough, but avoiding the confrontation is just about escaping responsibility. Also telling them right away will save you some of those phone calls, that you don't have the time, or the guts, for.

Tom Marshall
08-19-2008, 10:16 AM
What are auditions like in Denmark? Do you have a lot of actors show up for auditions?

gi-jones
08-19-2008, 11:44 AM
From what I hear from you guys it's pretty much the same, but Denmark being a country of 5 million people we obviously don't have as many actors. Even so I'm quite amazed by how many I get when posting a part in a low-budget (see: not payed) project. I saw around 50 girls for a part in my feature last winter, and that was after sorting out the obviously wrong types from headshots.

Even so, very few actors can actually make a living off it in Denmark. Even some of our big names have a hard time making ends meet, and I think most of them really make their money by appearing in commercials every once in a while.

Capt Quirk
08-19-2008, 11:48 AM
Even so I'm quite amazed by how many I get when posting a part in a low-budget (see: not payed) project. I saw around 50 girls for a part in my feature last winter, and that was after sorting out the obviously wrong types from headshots.

Was there a cucumber involved?

gi-jones
08-19-2008, 12:31 PM
:-)

Yeah, the guy in the grocery store was like: "You again?" when I came around to get the second batch of 25 cucumbers. No seriously, you should always go for bananas.

By the way, we did in fact see a lot of guys as well, but for some reason you never get as many male actors for auditions as female.

Capt Quirk
08-19-2008, 01:43 PM
And you're complaining about it? Tsk, tsk.

MikeGunter
08-19-2008, 02:23 PM
I am gearing up for my first independent feature. Recently we have got alot of promotion for our open auditions and we are expecting possibly over 300 people to audition. Some of my producers suggested that do to the magnitude of auditions we would experience that day, that we charge people I guess a fee to audition, to cover the new expenses we are about to experience for the audition. Before you guess its not alot, they're suggesting a price under $10 dollars. I do not agree with this, primarily because I have never heard of anyone do this except for under shady pretenses, so does anyone have any experience or thoughts on people charging for auditions.


I think the word in Spanish is "Goofisimo."

PaPa
08-19-2008, 06:36 PM
Charge actors? This is the stupidest thing of which i have ever heard. I for one would never attend and audition in which i must first pay. Having auditioned for large hollywood features, i have never once paid for any audition, so there isn't anything that is down the ladder that would deserve any kind of cover fee in which to audition. Don't do it, no one will show. At least no one who knows a thing or two about the business.

Michaelknowles
08-26-2008, 06:24 AM
Tell your producers they are out of their minds. You and your producers should narrow the field of the auditions from the actors reels, head shots and resumes which would trim down the amount of auditions you have. These are obviously piss poor producers who don't understand respect and humanity. You sure you want to work with them?

mark_Cray
09-25-2008, 06:55 AM
I will never attend ANY audition where I have to pay for the CHANCE to get a role in the film. I would also make sure every actor and actress I knew stayed far and away from any such "production". it's just that simple. the thought of having to pay for an audition makes me wonder if it's not just a scheme to play on the aspirations of those who want to be in a film and any actor who's been on any kind of a set would or should automatically dismiss this "audition" as such. when you consider that with most low-buget, no budget micro budget films an independent actor will pay for thier own food, gas ( and a lot of times provide thier own wardrobe) it's INSANE to even concieve of making them pay to audition... this particular thead makes my blood boil as an actor so I'll stop now before I go further and say something I regret...lol.

egyptianboxer104
09-25-2008, 10:32 AM
5... maybe 6 would show up out of the 300 if you charged people.

your producers are getting greedy... but they also make a point... 300 people paying 5 bucks each is pretty decent money... to bad it's not an amusement park lol

Jason Miller
09-27-2008, 02:16 PM
no charge up front, send a bill to those you don't cast hahahahahas

"sorry, you weren't good enough to be in my film, enclosed please find a bill for $20.00 US for waisting my time on you, please feel free to pay by cash, or paypal, I'm sorry we do not except checks, thank you, J Miller Producer of the up coming film, (you just got bent over and pumped in the back of a volcewagon)"

Michele Seidman
09-29-2008, 09:24 AM
PK...going to say this once more because I can't get over the fact you are all even still talking about charging actors to audition OR to get the part. and this time just to make sure it is 'heard i will use all capitals...

IT IT ILLEGAL TO CHARGE PEOPLE TO INTERVIEW/AUDITION FOR A JOB UNLESS YOU ARE A LEGAL JOB EMPLOYMENT AGENCY WITH PAID JOBS WAITING.

NOT LEGAL....NOT LEGAL. PERIOD.

if any of you charge actors to read or to hire them i personally hope you get caught because it is against FEDERAL law. enjoy those charges!

sorry to sound harsh but the fact this is still being debated upsets me to no end. it is not just illegal but it is not moral either!

as for charging them to give them a copy of their audition...are ANY of you out there even aware that the best casting directors will not even look at those as 'reels' and toss them out? so if the actor pays for a copy they can't use it for most work that would pay them anyway.

i have worked as a paid actor for over 30 years between stage, film, tv and voice work. i will do a low budget and no budget now and then myself but if any actor i trained told me someone charged them to audition...i would turn the culprit in myself!

Michele

Evan S
09-30-2008, 06:26 PM
I personally charge all my actors upfront 100 dollars to even be in my film.
That way I make lots of moneies!!

JonathanLB
10-01-2008, 04:29 AM
Please don't do it. Actors already do so much for you by simply showing up to an audition, with very little chance of getting the role (because only one person is cast for the part, and everyone else just showed up out of a passion to continue their art). Do NOT exploit that generosity. As a filmmaker, you're an artist. You should respect the time another artist donates to you by coming to the audition. Charging actors is not something a legitimate film would ever do. In fact it's downright sleazy. If anything, we filmmakers should pay the actors for showing up. I wish I could. I really do.

I agree. If it was in the budget it would be nice to pay them something for their gas, at least, but unfortunately it's just not possible to set aside that much money usually to pay tons of people.

But making them pay you?! LOL, no way, it's so awesome they're passionate enough to apply for a job where they know they have little chance of landing it, and often for pay that's just so-so.

JonathanLB
10-01-2008, 04:35 AM
I personally charge all my actors upfront 100 dollars to even be in my film.
That way I make lots of moneies!!

I actually joked about something like this with my business partner, though. I said, "You know, for all of the kids who come down here every year trying to make it in film school or as actors and actresses, I swear, you could put together a professional production and just charge by position. Grips pay $100/day, DP pays $300/day, director pays $500/day, and so forth, and hey they get to add this great thing to their resume / reel, and really what's the difference between that and film school? Film school you get raped, too, $30,000 a year or more often times, and you don't get as many credits as you'd get just doing this." Seriously, that's real film school, you get a bunch of credits to your reel and we just install some supervisory positions to make sure the projects turn out at least fairly good, so they can compete in some film festivals, win some awards, etc. and everyone pads their resumes for cheaper than film school. People are so desperate to show off their skills and build those resumes and learn, they seem to think it's way different at film school than it would be in my system, but in reality, they're deluding themselves. Both ways are pretty much just charging you for the same thing in different ways.

skycron
10-01-2008, 10:18 PM
As far as auditions, in Canada, at least, ACTRA requires that after the second/third audition you have to pay the actor, and I believe AFTRA has a similar policy. It is a very bad idea to try to tangle with ACTRA/AFTRA.

Jolfer
10-10-2008, 02:57 PM
Chargins actors to tryout? That'd be pretty harsh.

13th Judas
10-11-2008, 12:40 AM
funny idea. imagine auditioning for a talent search and be charged only to be ridiculed by simon cowell. that is bloody horrendous :angry:

LazyGMiddleman
10-11-2008, 09:21 PM
illegal