Sunday, December 16, 2012

Using Craigslist to Find Acting Work, A Do or Don't?


I've noticed there is a bit of controversy about actors using Craigslist to find auditions and gigs. For as long as I have been auditioning in NYC I have used Craigslist to look for acting work. It always surprises me when I hear from instructors that actors should NEVER use Craigslist and I am especially surprised when I hear from actors themselves that they will never use this site to look for opportunities. If you are union, I completely get it (although I have seen a few indie SAG projects listed). But I've heard this from non union actors. Many actors feel that there are absolutely no legit acting jobs posted on Craigslist. That the auditions listed are scams, or no budget projects where you will be treated horribly and get you nowhere.

Well, I am here to speak in favor of using Craigslist to find acting work. It IS true that in order to get to the good jobs you have to sift through the many, many, many ads for porn and the such, but there are a few legit jobs listed in the midst of the trash. I promise. If you find even one diamond in the rough even once in a while you never what kind of career boost it could lead to.

My case in point:

1)The summer before last I applied to an ad (on Craigslist) calling for actors for a indie horror film being shot in Long Island. Well, I sent my reel and got cast for a small speaking role without even having to audition. It was a great dramatic role. That film had a premiere at TriBeCa Film Center in SoHo and opened to sold out showings in a few theaters around the country. The film played in Europe, got some great reviews, and is now available to purchase on DVD through Best Buy, Amazon, and other sites. I actually received a starring credit in the opening of the film and on many of the posters which were posted in several public places. That film is "Purification" by Joe Ciminera. Working in that film led to me acting in Joe's next two films and I'm hoping to continue working in his future film endeavors. While working with Joe, I met James Terriaca who is writing/directing an epic indie zombie movie called "Apex Rising." Well Jim (James) decided to give me a chance with a part in his film and my character has become one of the more major characters in the film. I was definitely not expecting that. I have made several other valuable connections while working in these films.

2) A few months ago, I booked a role in an episode of the true crime docudrama "True Crime with Aphrodite Jones" through Craigslist. Yes, Craigslist. Apparently it was also listed on Actors Access (which i do use) but I saw it on Craigslist. I was cast as a detective in the upcoming season's finale episode. This was a speaking/ improv role (although I know on these shows you sometimes don't really hear the dialogue, depends on which one it is) and it was paid. The show plays on Discovery ID.

3) I did a paid promo for an apt finding website.

Those are only a few opportunities but they were great ones and I found them all through Craigslist. There have been others as well.

Of course, you eventually learn which ads to ignore. Here is my quick guide to the Craigslist land of false promises:

1) Any ad that states you are auditioning for a principle role in film starring A-list celebrities. These are listed by scam agencies. A legit agent or known casting director only has access to these breakdowns and they aren't gonna advertise on Craigslist. If you are ready for those types of opportunities then the best thing you can do is attend CD/agent showcases.

2)Any ads calling for actors for a National Commercial for a known product where you will get paid a lot of money. Same thing as above.

You have to use your own judgment for the following but I tend to stay away:

3) An ad that says something like "actors needed, paid job" and lists no further details. Someone who is professional will list a few things about the job. Maybe what types they are specifically looking for, the characters, location/days, intention for finished product, info about the director/ crew etc, or maybe even links to their past work. It doesn't have to list ALL those things but at least something to give you the feeling that this may be a good production for you to work in.

4) An ad that doesn't even look professional at all. Meaning words are misspelled and there is no thought placed into the writing. If a headline reads "Need actros for flim" I wouldn't even open the link for obvious reasons. A quality production team who wants quality actors will make it known through their ad that they take pride in their work.

5) This one really bothers me- when it is stated that although you won't receive any compensation (this not only means money, it can mean transportation costs, food, exposure, IMDB credit, copy of the film for reel) whatsoever for your work, and although the crew/director has no prior experience, the shoot will be "tons of fun!" Well, of course acting and filmmaking are fun, but when fun is the ONLY thing promised I just envision a couple of teens shooting stuff with an iPhone. I'm sure this isn't usually the case, but it makes me feel as if this person has no intention of using this production to further their filmmaking career and that they won't even be using quality equipment. That being said, you may want to apply to an ad like this if you have never acted a bit in your life, and maybe don't even have a headshot yet, and you are literally just getting started. THEN maybe this could be a good opportunity for you.

The bottom line is use discernment but don't count out Craigslist completely. I have even seen a couple of reputable teachers advertise specials and showcases on this sight. And only use it as a supplement to Actors Access, NYCastings, Mandy, showcases, etc.

So, should you use Craigslist to search for legit acting jobs? Yes. Should you use caution and listen to your instincts before applying to a notice? Definitely yes. Remember, as aspiring actors (or artists of any kind) we should be constantly looking for every single possible opportunity to perform, share our art, network, and further our careers.

This is my opinion. Please feel free to post your opinions, comments, thoughts, or personal experiences about finding acting or any artistic work through Craigslist. Thanks! And thanks for reading. I look forward to your thoughts.

20 comments:

  1. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! search all craigslist cities

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    1. Hey Calvin!! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I'm glad you found it helpful and enjoyed it!

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  2. Thanks a lot tiffany for this very informative article, it has really helped me. Its really nice to know some people still take their time to help others, very kind!:-)

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    1. Thank YOU for all of your support. It's much appreciated!

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  3. hello tiffany, i have just stumbled upon this blog trying to figure out if i should go to an audition or not for a craigslist ad that i got emailed about, people have attempted to scam me twice off craigslist so i am skeptical.. it is for what i believe to be an Extra. iv become so skeptical that i don't believe that the person emailing me is the actual person, because they have imdb credit for a huge upcoming movie in casting for extras and it seems to good to be true.. am i too skeptical or are my instincts correct? thank you for this blog! really helped!

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    1. Casting actors and extras for a upcoming future film shooting in New York and Los Angeles.

      Looking for men and women ages 18-65 open ethnicity. Casting is also looking for trained actors to work as stunts and stand ins.

      SAG-AFTRA/NONUNION to play female, ages 8-13, JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PLAYER

      Email the following: your name, your phone number, union status (SAG-AFTRA or NonUnion), 2-3 current photos, resume, your height, weight, and clothing sizes.



      this was the ad!..if you could help at all that would be great!

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    2. Hey Lucas!

      Thanks so much for reading and for your question! To me, the ad seems legit and I've seen many companies look for extras via Craigslist. I would go ahead and contact them. However, if you are under 18, make sure your parents are comfortable with it first. You did the right thing by looking for the company on IMDB. Try to do a little more research as well on the person who emailed you. As long as they aren't asking for money and you feel safe with the instructions/locations they give you, it should be okay. Just take it a step at a time and continue to listen to your gut. I wish you the best!

      Tiffany

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    3. Just want to clarify by "more research" I meant to Google the person and see if there is anything about them or the company aside from IMDB. Also see if their company has any reviews by other actors.

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    4. thank you! i couldn't find any more information on the email sender besides her imdv! but the location for the audition is at Ripley Grier Studios which i have seen people do use for auditions, so i figured i might as well go and sit down to listen what they have to offer! thank you again!

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    5. Awesome! Ripely Grier is one of the nicest studios in NYC. I would have made the decision to go too. Best wishes!

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  5. I went to Ripley's today auditioned. First time. Guy called me back to meet again tomorrow at uptown location bring clothes. Need headshots. Scam or not !! I'm never acted professional but lived a crazy life ... Maybe him saying i have natural confident acting skills great for first timee is serious????

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    1. Hey there Joe, I was there today as well and exactly the same things happened to me! Like exactly! I was only slightly unsure about it all (despite it all being convincing enough) but unsure enough to look into it online and now that I've read your post, it's made me even more wary. I mean, it makes sense that I (we) need decent headshots but, (and maybe Tiffany can help with this?!?) is it normal to be referred to someone like this and have to do it right away? i.e.- the very next day. I know with other scams, they always make you decide things right away, so you're under pressure. Joe, did he put you on hold for a minute while he "went to check the deadline"? And then came back with tomorrow at 5? I'm just wondering because they might have the same kinds of tricks... Tiffany, if we suggested going to someone else to get headshots, what do you thin a reasonable response from this guy should be?
      Hope you can help with our worries!!!

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    3. So he was saying that you needed headshots right away and telling you where to go? By tomorrow? Okay, now I understand. It sounds like a scam in that case. A similar thing happened to me when I first moved here.

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    4. Aww I was afraid you'd say that! Yeah, he said he has a job that I'd be a perfect fit for but I need to have the headshots sorted. Then he said let me just go and check my deadline... And came back with tomorrow at 5pm. Actually, that was one thing that struck me as odd. The ad said "background extras needed for sci-fi / adventure film" but at the audition he didn't mention that once and said they were casting for a bunch of upcoming features. Also something about a few being for Universal. Nothing specific at all, which I thought was weird...
      Anyway, thanks so much for your thoughts Tiffany. It can be incredibly tricky out there for people starting out to even know what's normal. I'd be interested to know what steps Joe takes tomorrow!!

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    5. You're welcome!! Yeah, that doesn't sound right at all. I thank you and Joe both for writing in and hopefully more people will read these comments. It's definitely tricky, and I would say most people have been taken by a scammer at least once when starting out, according to my experience at least. Keep at it though! I wish you all the best with your acting.

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    6. Well it almost seems inevitable starting out I guess. At least you learn what to look for! Thanks again.

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  6. Hey Joe!! Thanks for writing in! Well, a couple questions to ask yourself: 1- is he asking for money from you? If yes, then probably a scam. 2- Do you feel the location and commute is safe? Are you comfortable going there? 3- Google this person and see what they have done and check out their IMDb and social media sites. 4- Did they give enough details about the project so you can tell it's legit and professional? And 5- Trust your instincts. Some filmmakers are just getting started like you and may not have credits yet either and they need new actors to collaborate with. The most important thing is that you feel safe and comfortable enough for a second meeting. And yes, it's definitely possible that you are a naturally confident actor! I wish you all the best and I hoped that helped!

    Tiffany

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  7. Great blog you've got here. It's packed full of lots of information!
    Acting casting calls
    jobs for photographers

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