With that said, here’s my understanding of ActorCast and how it works:
ActorCast is the database used by casting directors via the company, Cast It Systems. Casting directors use the Cast It technology to film actor auditions and share these auditions with their production teams. When an actor is at the audition, their information is added into the database, and the artistic team can look at the actor’s record in addition to watching their audition. The people at Cast It decided to open up ActorCast (with both free and pay services) as a way for actors to control the information that the artistic team sees when they are watching an actor’s audition. Having a paid account with ActorCast means that you can upload multiple headshots, a resume, and a reel, and all of these items will be made available to the casting director and producers. They also have a free version that actors can use to try out their services.
Some casting directors (though not all) have used ActorCast as a prospecting tool, much in the same way as casting directors use Actors Access to find unrepresented actors. This is through their “direct submissions/open calls” feature. But, keep in mind that the majority of studio film & network TV roles are still predominantly released through Breakdown Services, so having an account with ActorCast does not mean that you will have access to more of those auditions. What it does mean is that when you get called in for an audition by a casting director who uses Cast It, your database record will be more detailed and robust than someone who doesn’t have an account. It also means that, in those cases where a studio decides to open up their search to non-represented actors, you would be eligible to submit via their system.
My student wanted to know: Will it lead to more paying work? The answer is: That doesn't seem to be the intention of the service. It seems to be more of an information database than a job search tool, though I am sure some people have gotten work solely because of their ActorCast account. I would imagine it's useful for finding work in the same way as IMDB is useful for finding work. Further, she wanted to know: is it as useful for a NY actor as an LA actor (or other markets?) The answer is: Probably not, though that certainly depends on what market you’re in and how many of the casting offices are using this system.
I first learned about Cast It Systems via an article written by the NY Times. In 2009, there was a big debate on the Backstage message boards about the company, and one of its owners got on to clarify a few things. In his words (quoted directly from the message board, grammar and all):
"actorcast is new, but its not a scam. we are very straightforward with what we provide - a place to store/send your packages, where your media is instantly available to the 430+ casting offices worldwide that use cast it, and we are getting more roles available for direct submissions all the time. you will not see a lot of roles available for actors right now because almost all the casting offices using cast it are casting for major studios and they just don’t open roles for direct actor submissions unless it is a search. many more roles are available to agents, but even these roles the casting offices chooses which agencies have access."
The bottom line: As far as I can tell, this company is not a scam and it looks like it could be of some use to actors in cities where the majority of casting directors use the service. I hope this is helpful for all of you wanting further details about companies offering casting opportunities.
For more information about online resources for casting, please check out my blog post on Reputable Casting Webites.
Keep up the good work with your research!
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Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.