Actors' Union Warns Actors About Casting Workshop "Scams"

SAG-AFTRA warns actors about casting workshop "scams"

Casting workshops that charge actors to be seen by casting directors are considered a "scam," according to the SAG-AFTRA, and may be against the California law that bans producers, directors, and even casting directors from taking money from aspiring actors. This news comes only a day after the Los Angeles City Attorney's office revealed that they were launching an investigation into the casting workshop scheme. According to Deadline, the actors union says that members who pay to be seen by casting directors, might be in violation of guild rules or even state law. “There are certainly many legit companies that offer a chance to meet and read for casting agents and directors in a classroom setting,” the guild says on its website. “But be aware that if any fee is charged for these sessions, your participation may be in violation of SAG-AFTRA Rule 11 or California labor laws.” According to SAG rules: “It shall be deemed conduct unbecoming a member for any member of the union, directly or indirectly, to give or offer to give any money, gift, gratuity or other thing of value to an employer, or prospective employer, to any officer, agent, representative or employee of such employer or prospective employer, or to any employment or casting agency representing an employer, or prospective employer, or to any of their officers, agents, representatives or employees as an inducement to secure employment.” The guild asks members to contact them if they are asked to "pay a fee or give any form of compensation to audition for a casting director, producer, agent, manager, or anyone else that has any input into the hiring process. … This includes workshop-style situations where a casting director watches your scene or monologue, offers no meaningful critique or feedback, and is presented as someone looking for actors for ‘current and upcoming projects.’ This becomes a paid audition, which is against SAG-AFTRA rules.” The California Labor Code prohibits employers or potential employers from demanding payment for employment opportunities, and the union explains that their members should report the violations to the state Labor Commissioner's office. “The more people that stand up and protest these practices, the more likely it is that action will be taken,” the union says. This all started after The Hollywood Reporter investigated in to pay-to-play acting workshops. According to the report, these “acting classes” are linked to nearly every broadcast show. And many new actors are paying $1,500 a year on two or three workshop classes a month in hopes of landing a day-player role that pays only a little over $600 for one day’s worth of work. In fact, casting director Dea Vise argues that “Half the people that are on network television today paid for their job interview — the one-liner roles.” But, it’s important to highlight the fact that exchanging money for the possibility of getting a job is illegal thanks to The Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009, which outlaws workshops and casting directors from charging or attempting to charge an artist for an audition or employment opportunity. However, since the law was passed seven years ago, there have been no prosecutions. Via Deadline Related: What do you think? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.

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