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.