how NOT to make it

notes from a working actor

The trials and tribulations
of Mike Vaughn

(this guy)

A funny thing happened on the way to the “I’d like to update my profile” forum.

It went something like this:

“LA Casting.”
“Yeah, hi. I’d like to swap out my OLD pictures, reels, and video clips now that I’ve got more exciting and legitimate work to show.”
“Uh huh, Mr. Vaughn. All you need to do is upload the new pictures and videos…. and I’ll need your credit card number. It’s $5 per new video clip, $25 for the first new photo, and $10 for every photo after that.”
“What? But I’m already paying you an extra $5 a month to ‘host’ my media, I’ve already paid more than $60 to get the photos I already have up, and all I’m wanting to do is SWAP out the old for the new.”
“Well, Mr. Vaughn you’ve already used up the slots for the clips and photos and we charge for the new ones.”
“What if I delete the old photos and clips and just add new ones?”
“We’re happy to delete the old ones, you just need to let our billing office know which ones you want deleted.”
“Then I can put in new ones, right?”
“Yes.  …. for $5 a clip, $25 for the first photo and $10 for every photo after that.”

“….AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! You’re killing me! Just swap them out. Jesus fucking christ! Don’t you people know that I post all the photos I want and even full HD-quality video clips on half a dozen sites for FREE?!?”

(silence on the other end, then…)

“So will that be Mastercard or Visa?”
“That will be my fuck-you card. Starting with the expiration date of TODAY. How’s that sound?”
“You’ll need to send a letter to our billing department to cancel any of our services.”
“Done.”

And that’s exactly what I did.
(btw, the email response says, “You can expect a reply within two business days. Thank you, and have a great day!” Love that… 2 business days, nice.)

I’ve noticed that the exact same stuff is now posted on Actors Access, and Now Casting. And the real jobs aren’t “posted” to actors at all (only Agents and Managers paying a fortune to Breakdown Services are getting the real calls). To top it off, I’ve heard many a producer and director complain about LA Casting on their end – it’s their least favorite.  And let’s be honest, there’s a tremendous amount of gouging going on with all these sites, but none more egregious than LA Casting, who, when I activated my account with media clips, never said anything to the effect of  “once you use up the 5 free clips, that’s it – new and updated clips are extra.” Nothing of the sort, not even in a disclaimer.

There are too many online casting services ready to take an actor’s money, with little-to-no difference between them. So if you’re thinking about loading all those clips and photos to LA Casting, just know that your credit card will be dinged for every little change.

Why casting hasn’t moved over to something that operates like Facebook, YouTube, Tribes, I’ll never know. Is building a low-cost, well-functioning database site *that* difficult? Really?

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29 Responses to “Suck it, LA Casting.”

  1. Wow, thanks, i was just about to open an account with LA Casting. SO thanks for this. My question though is, how is actor’s access? Is there an even legit cite out there for starting actors?

    Kara

  2. Hey Kara.

    Every actor has different needs and experiences with the various casting sites. So I guess it depends on where you’re at as an actor and what kinds of stuff you should be booking.

    Personally, I have done very well with Actor’s Access (and Breakdown Serv.) but my goal was not to book commercial work. I was focused on first, getting good stuff for a reel, then, the theatrical agent. Now that I have good agents, I don’t need the casting sites as much (I’m not doing un-paid stuff anymore).

    My comments about LA Casting is more with my frustrations with the price gauging facing actors. It’s not to say that a particular site won’t (or will) work for you, so you’ll just have to figure out what you need to do and what sites do it best.

    That said… I get best results from: 1. my agents, 2. my contacts, 3. Actor’s Access, 4. Now Casting, and the bottom pile of worthless sites to me would be (in order): LA Casting, Casting Frontier, and the non-existent iActor.

    Good luck Kara.

    MikeV

  3. suck it indeed! same experience here — the pathetic thing is that agents like to have lacasting do all their work for them… and request that we keep our pictures up to date on that site… someone PLEASE give lacasting a run for their money and establish a competitive site that continues enabling agents who are too locked in at this point.

    Cris Capen

  4. Wow you’re a dick. That employee has no control over the prices that were listed in your agreement. It’s a business; they need to make money. Gosh, some people…

    WW

  5. Yes. I’m a dick for standing up to the gouging of wanna-be voice talent. A dick for calling out the untruths, over-promises, and misleading statement this company delivers to those who may not know better, to those who don’t know the industry. Scott, if I’ve saved one person a loss of $350 a year on this scam of a service, then I’m proud to have you call me a dick. I frequently send accurate, honest advice and insight to this industry, and know what I charge? Nada. I’m too busy making my money doing the actual work.

    …but yeah, I’m a dick.
    A dick who sometimes cares about righting wrongs.
    …but yeah, still a dick.

    PS: fuck you. 😉 (pps: the ps is with sarcasm, hope you get the gag)

    MikeV

  6. Oh, and what’s worse than your experience NOW – currently – Summer of 2012 – is that LA Casting/Casting Networks (unlike IMDbPro) won’t let you decide which photos you’d like to upload on your own. Instead, you have to submit the photos TO THEM (but what?, I just paid for a membership?!). Yep, that’s right. They don’t end up approving of half your photos because of photo quality (iPhone, small jpeg) or because it’s too candid. That’s bullshit because you just paid for a service and they’re deciding for you what they do and don’t want posted!! Not to mention, their web site sucks when you’re a paid up member. You can’t even view your own damn page! It keeps on ending up in an error that the page is having difficulties at this time, please come back! LA Casting can “SUCK IT!!!!!!!!” Money-hungry, greedy-ass jerks!!!

    Kayle Jackson

  7. Thanks for posting this, I was just about to sign up for lacasting thinking it was better than 4 years ago and they had fixed these silly unethical issues but I guess not!!!!!!

    erin

  8. I’m currently on hold with LA Casting going on 15 minutes now. Just paid $35 to upload two new pics that my management company requested. I have to call them and waste more time to pay them more money to have the SAME pics added to my commercial agency – another $20 bucks. LA Casting sucks. Terrible customer service, and a total price gauging of actors. Karma will catch up with these clowns.

    Andy

  9. Sorry to hear Andy.
    Kinda why I dumped them and let my agents deal with it on their end.
    I hear one of their tricks is to just do the one free photo per account so when you have 5 photos up, you’ll have 5 free accounts thru your agent (ie: Andy1, Andy2, Andy3, etc.) and the agents will just submit the account with the corresponding headshot option. Seems agents don’t care for the LA Casting system either. Heh.

    MikeV

  10. LA Casting sucks. After everything you say, even if your willing to pay the gauging, it is so poorly designed, you can’t even manage the photos properly like you can with actors access.

    CW

  11. LA Casting in a whole “SUCKS” big time. I am sick and tired of these sites taking your money and not producing decent jobs, LA casting puts up a lot of work that are not credible and not worth an inch of what you pay when they gouge your eye balls out. I had them return my money, seriously, and I told them if they did not the BBB will be hearing from me. It was returned the next day. Actors need legitimate work, and legitimate casting opportunities, not “Non-Paid” …c’mon….screw that. I’m not going to be spending all this money for training just to have some idiot site tell me I can’t be paid not even five bucks for my day. Lots of users in LA, beware. I am in my last run with LA casting only because I was able to get my SAG vouchers from them, other than that keep searching for an agent. These guys are way too expensive and charging unemployed actors waaaay too much.

    Just a Thought

  12. LACASTING SUCKS ASS I BEEN WOTH THESE BASTARDS FOR A YEAR AND ONLY RAN INTO A BNCH OF STUDENT FILMS AND NON PAYING WORK, THEY HAVE SOME COMMERCIALS ON THERE BUT YOU CAN APPLY FROM A MILLION DIFFERENT PROFILES AND GOOD LUCK GETTING A REPLY! LIKE WTF AND THEN THEY CHARGE OUT THE ASS TO LOAD PICTURES FUCK THEM! IM CANCELING MINE AT THE END OF THE MONTH BEFORE I GET CHARGED AGAIN

    jazmin rivera

  13. Thanks for this but I really need advice on how to get a agent I have professional head shots and a resume. I just don’t have any expirence and I am desperate to find any work. I have sung at thousands of places and took several acting classes and years of singing. I’ve even been in plays in my community please help?:)

    Natalie Salemo

  14. Best way is to have samples of your work online (YouTube, etc.) then find agents who don’t have too many other similar types to you, and who are potentially a good fit. Find out how they take submissions and if you can get someone to refer you to that, or other, agent(s) then even better. Good luck.

    MikeV

  15. AMEN. CastingNetworks/LACasting sucks ass. They’re technically incompetent, and steal from customers.

    Being on these sites degrades your credibility, if anything. Don’t vote for their gross disrespect with your money.

    Oscar Goldman

  16. I’m still debating whether i should register on LA casting because like you said I’m trying to add to my reel and i’ve been told that i’m almost guaranteed work. I’ve struggled a bit on AA but i’ve only been submitting for paid work. Maybe getting ahead of myself because i only have acted in 2 short films but will soon be SAG-e. Here’s my question though which i’m sure there is no easy answer to. How does one find a good agent? thx

    P

  17. You’re probably not working in the industry, either. It costs about the same to pay for professional headshots, pay for hard copies and buy ink to print up your resumes and the cost of good paper. All pretty much costing on average about 850 dollars give or take. So, now every union certified agent and casting director uses both L.A. Casting for commercial and Actors Access for theatrical (film and T.V. work) and Showfax is connected to Actors Access for downloading your sides. So, with that said, the exchange of no longer using hard copies costs about the same as it did before the internet. Why are you complaining about paying for a breakdown service for the convenience of film industry professionals, that is used as the only game in town for serious people in the industry? I don’t get it.

    Moron Fifty

  18. Yeah, clearly I’m not working in the industry. imdb.me/mikevaughn

    You’ve changed my mind because you’re right, we shouldn’t complain when things in the past were more expensive and inconvenient. In fact, I’m going to pay AT&T $50 more a month because I used to have to pay for long distance calls. I’m also going to give Apple $12.99 for a song because we used to have to buy full vinyl albums to get that one song we really wanted. Why should we move forward and try to improve things, to bring fairness to light, when we can just be grateful that, well, at least we don’t have to pay for whale blubber to power our street lamps anymore, right?

    MikeV

  19. I really enjoyed reading this. I felt like the only one that feels like the “service” (or lack thereof) was nothing more then a cash cow for it’s owners. Besides the inappropriate costs to actors for uploading pictures, there is no reasonable system for sorting “casting notifications,” whatever that means since we pay to get the notifications that are at the bottom of the barrel. I’m 6ft 2″ which it states on my profile, and I constantly get casting notices for little people. There is no way to sort out the reality TV garbage and the other specificities that could help an actor save the time of deleting 50 nuisance emails that don’t even apply to your actual search. I have called them to make the suggestion to which they reply by saying that “they are working on it,” and I don’t believe them whatsoever. I’m tempted to pay someone to develop a replacement that puts them out of business myself.

    S D

  20. LA Casting is close to criminal. If producers stopped using them, they’d be gone in a day.

    The problem is they are targets Ed agents,mand agents don’t care about spending the nickel-and-dime BS that LA casting charges.

    Andy S

  21. YES! I know this post is from awhile ago but it is absolutely CRAZY what LA Casting charges. First off, why in the hell is it $25 to upload a damn photo?! Second…. Why in the shit is their photo system so not user friendly? They need to copy the way Actors Access or Casting Frontier does things…. $25 a photo that I can’t even change at a later date is absurd.

    ColemanS

  22. Well, their coke habit isn’t going to pay for itself, right?

    MikeV

  23. Thanks Mike! I was just going to upload just for odd jobs, commerical and audience work (not a real talent like you guys)…whew! I will find another way. Keep it up! Hope you are working!

    Karen

  24. Hey Mike,
    What do you recommend to use instead of LA Casting?

    Bliss

  25. Whatever your agent(s) or manager(s) tell you to use. Just use ActorsAccess (thru Showfax.com) and IMDB Pro for your own submissions.
    LA Casting, Now Casting, and Casting Frontier are mostly useless and simply raising extra revenue from us naive actors.

    MikeV

  26. Hey Mike,

    What’s the best way to find a good agent? I am new to all this and want to make sure I am not waisting my hopes and money. How do you feel about Uncut Casting Services LA? The offer Union eligibility as well after a few months. Thank you!

    Lea

  27. Hey Mike,
    What’s the best way to find a good agent? I am new to all this and want to make sure I am not waisting my hopes and money. How do you feel about Uncut Casting Services LA? The offer Union eligibility as well after a few months. Thank you!

    Lea

  28. Best way is a referral from actors on their roster already, casting directors, managers, or others in the biz who deal with that agent. And you have to have the tools that show what you do (clips, demos, reels, website, imdb, etc.). Good luck.

    MikeV

  29. I don’t know anything about Uncut, but looks like a total scam to me. They don’t list the casting directors they work with (red flag), they require a membership asap (red flag), they charge a membership (red flag) and they advertise “make up to $300 a day” (that’s background work rates), and they never bring up actual actor training (big red flag). I wouldn’t do it.

    MikeV

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