Actors Access (aka Breakdown Services)

Actors Access is the talent interface for the company Breakdown Services that publishes most of the Union project breakdowns. If the project is a studio film or a network episodic, the breakdowns will appear here. They have been in business the longest (it’s an interesting history). Their main differentiator for actors is that they have a large number of breakdowns that can only be seen by licensed talent agents or managers. That means that you need to have a profile on this site so that your agent and/or manager can submit you on the hidden roles. The breakdowns you can see as an actor are often duplicated on LA Casting but it is worth paying to join Actors Access because there are a good number of projects that aren’t posted in both places. In my opinion the presentation of your reel, resume, and profile looks better on Actors Access so I’d rather submit there on a job if it appears on multiple sites. They send email notifications of new projects that match in batches four times per day. They verify each project that comes in so that projects marked as Union are already registered with the applicable Union. The founder, Gary Marsh, started out as an actor so he sees the business from the actor’s perspective. For example, they charge to post breakdowns for unpaid roles unless it is a student film or a non-profit endeavor and they rarely post reality roles. They have monthly (or so) free meetings with a casting director open to all actors and give advice on how to make your profile better and to hear about casting from a CD’s perspective. It’s worth going to this at least once. For example, I learned that the default sort order that CDs see of actors who submit on a role is from first to last as follows: Profiles with a SlateShot and a Reel, profiles with just a Reel, profiles without a SlateShot or Reel. Of course, CDs may use their own sorting order but they would still see the default sort order the first time they click through to see the candidates who submitted. The subscription process for AA takes a little bit to get one’s head around. There are a number of companies owned by Breakdown Services. Most interesting are Casting About and Showfax. Showfax is the website where you can download sides and sometimes scripts for upcoming projects. You can see ones that you haven’t even been invited to if you want to get something for class but the major shows usually require a code that is sent to actors when they are invited to audition. A profile on Actors Access is free but costs $2.00 per role to submit your profile. Sides on Showfax cost $1 per page unless you subscribe. If you subscribe to Showfax.com for $68/yr then you can submit on unlimited projects and also have access to the sides (up to 20 or so projects per day). If you have an agent or manager they will usually send you the sides for auditions for roles they submitted you on. So you should definitely have an AA profile and then decide if you need to subscribe. I had a brief talk with Gary and he told me that 80-90% of the Los Angeles roles are hidden from actors; they list 500 projects per week in the USA and Canada; and they do almost 100% of the theater roles in NYC.

Actors’ Equity

They have a theatrical audition search on their homepage available to members and non-members alike that shows upcoming auditions by region.

Auditions Free

This site looks like a collection of postings about opportunities for extras in big projects with the occasional mention of speaking roles. Something about the layout of the site and all the advertising makes me wary but if you have any experience with them, let me know. They don’t charge anything to post so ads maybe their source of income.

  • Subscription costs: Free
  • Headshots: N/A
  • Video Hosting: N/A
  • Example Profile Page: N/A
  • Territory: USA

Backstage

Backstage has been around forever as a print magazine. Many actors remember finding jobs, agents, and advice in the weekly publication. They were always strongest for the theater and for the East Coast and this is still true today. Their online content of information and advice for actors is the best of all the sites. The fact that most of the contributors are also softly pushing their own classes, books, or workshops doesn’t detract from the fact that they are offering sound advice for new and experienced actors. For the Los Angeles market I almost never see breakdowns from professional CDs unless they are reposting a breakdown from LA Casting or Actors Access to cast a much wider net for those hard to find characters. That means for the Los Angeles area it will be mostly independent films with producers who aren’t familiar with the other casting sites. They send email notifications for each new matching project as they happen.

Cast Caller

This looks like a new free casting website. Looking at their open project list it seems to be more populated by Canadian castings. The projects look like mostly reality tv and extras but there are also commercials, webisodes, and theatre thrown in there. It says you can sign up for free but doesn’t say what that gives you besides the ability to submit your resume.

  • Subscription costs: Free??
  • Headshots: ??
  • Video Hosting: ??
  • Example Profile Page – unable to find any
  • Territory: Canada and the USA

Cast It Talent

Jason Montgomery suggested this site in the comments section. This website is owned by a company called Cast It Systems which sells a service to manage video submissions. Looking at Cast It Talent, I remember seeing it when I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago. It looks like I even started to create an account but never completed my profile. Looking at the offered roles today, under the “Cast It” roles tab, I see 20 roles for 6 projects in the last 3 months primarily from casting directors Alyssa Weisberg Casting and Syson Grainger Casting (no imdb entry for that but I think it’s Lucinda Syson and Elaine Grainger). I had an agent friend check the agent-only breakdowns on Actors Access and all of the roles but one listed by Alyssa were there. This was a costar role for Workaholics. Of course the difference is directly submitting yourself versus going through an agent/manager. The roles posted by Syson Grainger were for a pilot called River and I couldn’t find them listed elsewhere. Under the “Independent Roles” tab, I see 200 roles for various projects with no hint as to if they are shorts, features, webisodes, industrials, etc. Wait, no if you hover over the partial description on the page you can see the full text of the breakdown and in there it usually says what type of project it is. In the description, sometimes it says where it is casting – so far I’ve seen L.A., Cambridge, St. Louis, or no mention of where. There is an advanced search box but using it, I couldn’t find any of the previously mentioned listings. The website serves up pages for big production’s open calls for unique talent (that perfect kid, or that character with an unusual accent). Here’s a list of their past open calls. They also do monthly showcases where you can upload a video of you doing any 3 minute scene and have it voted upon by a panel of “respected Hollywood professionals”. I don’t think you’d need to subscribe to participate in these open calls. After this review, I think I’ll complete my basic profile and add this to the sites that I subscribe to for submissions.

Casting Calls America

Brian Jagger started this company that seems to want to be a local casting company. They own Sacramento CastingCasting Calls PortlandNew Orleans Casting, and Toni Staniewicz Casting (an agency). They are soon launching Casting Calls Denver and Casting Calls Phoenix. All the sites look identical except for the city name. If you don’t sign in, you can’t see any example profiles. They want $10 to sign up and $5/mo ongoing. I can’t tell if an account on one gets you an account on all of them. The sites have links to facebook pages where new jobs are posted with links back to sites with a little info about the project. Looks like short films, commercials, and extra work. Judging from the I.D.s of newly posted projects, it looks like there are less than 200 projects in the system. Maybe this is a brand new business? 

  • Subscription costs: $10 to sign up, then $5/mo ongoing
  • Headshots: ??
  • Video Hosting: ??
  • Example Profile Page – unable to find any
  • Territory: Sacramento, Portland, New Orleans, Denver, Phoenix

Casting Frontier

My agent requires their people to have an account here. Most commercial casting directors use the Casting Frontier ID in their casting process. From what I understand, they have the best interface for handling the audition videos. That means that while the jobs will be posted to LA Casting and/or Casting Frontier when you audition they will want to look you up in the Casting Frontier database using your ID number or name in order to store your audition under your account. They do have an informative monthly newsletter with useful information and advice. They send email notifications on a role by role basis. This means that for a project you arent interested in you will have to go through 4 or 5 emails for the roles in that projects. They send email notifications for each new matching role as they are added.

  • Subscription costs: Basic profile is Free or $85/yr to have reel and submit
  • Headshots: Free
  • Video Hosting: Free
  • Example Profile Page
  • Territory: USA

Casting Networks

This is the parent company of LA Casting which is one of the top 3 Los Angeles casting sites. They also have local sites for San Francisco, Australia, United Kingdom, France, India, Latin America, and Russia. I don’t have any information about these other sites except that they may be similar to LA Casting which is covered separately. Their blog has some good articles.