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Protecting Yourself as an Actor


At Casting Networks, we believe every actor has the right to a safe and equitable workplace, including audition spaces and on set. This is why we review projects created by independent casting directors before they are available to talent on our Casting Billboard platform. Should a project throw up certain red flags, that project warrants further scrutiny. These red flags may include sexual situations, nudity, “salacious” material, extreme violence, adult situations involving minors and projects that sound “too good to be true.” Here is some advice on protecting yourself when it comes to submitting through any casting website.

Red Flags:

Requests for money: This applies to absolutely any situation under the sun. If they are asking you for money to be involved in a project, report them to us at reportabuse@castingnetworks.com and their project will be removed.

Accepting payment before starting the project: Scammers want to give you a check to cash before you’ve even done the job. Often, they will instruct you to deposit the check into your account, then give them a few hundred dollars back in the context of paying for an aspect of production, such as costumes, makeup, craft services, etc. DO NOT DO THIS. This is a form of check fraud known as “check kiting.”

Requests for your social security number (SSN): The only time you need to give your full social security number is when you’ve booked the job and you’re filling out employment/tax paperwork. A possible exception to this is if you’re on avail for a project and they need to do a background check on you, in which case, you should use your best judgment.

Too much information is provided: Scammers tend to provide too much information. They will tell you in detail about the project, the full details of where this project will be shown, about their company and everything they do, how much the pay is with too much explanation, etc.

Misspelled words and bad grammar: If an email has misspellings, bad English and incorrect use of words, it might be a scam.

Misleading connections: If you receive an email that says the project is for a major brand or they are a well-known production company, that is a red flag. Dreamworks or Target do not cast their own projects. They hire professional casting companies. You should search the web to find a connection between the person reaching out to you and the company they claim to be working with. Chances are, you won’t find the email address or phone number they contacted you through connected to their website.

Wanting to hire you without an audition: Some real projects will cast talent from a photo submission, but a scammer will always be ready to book you for a job without any prior contact.

Address requests: Scammers will often imply that you’ve been hired, but ask you to send them some additional info first, including your home address. A real project wouldn’t usually need your full home address upfront.

Wire transfers: Scammers will often come up with a variety of excuses for why you need to wire them money. They’ll even offer to pay you extra in exchange for wiring some money back to them. Unknown to you, the money you wire will be picked up by the scammers’ associates using a different name, likely in a different country, and then they’ll disappear with the money. Never wire any stranger money, ever.

No Casting Notices: If someone you’ve never heard of before emails or texts you out of the blue offering to cast you in a project, ask them what site their project was posted on and what it was called. If they don’t have a casting notice that they can link back to for more details, then you should be suspicious! On Casting Networks, casting directors don’t have access to see your email address. So the first time they contact you, their message will be sent through our system. This means you will receive an alert in your account, along with an email with the same message showing Casting Networks’ information.

Tips to avoid scams:

Research the company: Google the company or ask them for their company’s website. Once you have the site, go to http://whois.domaintools.com/ and plug in their website in the search field. The search will tell you how many days the website has been active. If it’s less than a year, be cautious. If it’s less than a month, it’s probably a scam. (Yes, scammers are creating websites to pose as production companies.)

Self-Tapes/Photos: If someone asks you for risqué photos or videos, don’t do it. Nude or almost nude photos, or sexually simulated videos are not something anyone should be asking for. You do not want those photos or videos being used for other purposes. Report this person to our Report Abuse department at reportabuse@castingnetworks.com.

Bring a friend: This is a good precautionary move for all auditions where there’s even a hint of a question in your mind as to your safety. Just bring a friend along.

Use Google & Google Maps: Look at Google Maps street view before you go to a place. This is an instance where you actually want to judge a book by its cover. If it doesn’t seem legit to you, like it’s in a warehouse or some other strange building, don’t go. Auditions should really only be happening in a respectable building, with equally respectable buildings surrounding it, and not in the middle of nowhere, some person’s house, or a hotel room.

Trust your gut: If anything jumps out as being weird or unsafe, or something feels less than great about an audition or shoot, don’t go. Or, if you’re already there but it doesn’t feel right, get out of there. If you’re on a Union audition or shoot and you feel anyone is being asked to work under unsafe circumstances, even if it isn’t you and even if you’re not a member yet, contact SAG-AFTRA’s Safety Hotline at (855) SAG-AFTRA.

Nudity: Any project that involves a sexual situation or nudity is required by us to give a description of what that will entail on set and they’re expected to adhere to those parameters once you arrive. If you’re asked to take your clothes off in the audition, leave immediately and report it to us at reportabuse@castingnetworks.com. If anyone touches you in an inappropriate manner, leave immediately and report it to us and your city attorney’s office to press charges. That’s not just inappropriate, it’s illegal. When you get to set, if they suddenly ask you to do anything more or anything different from what was initially described, don’t do it. Leave and report it to us. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re on the hook for it just because you submitted to something involving nudity or sex. Don’t send photos of yourself scantily clad or nude. They don’t need that to cast you and it’s wrong of them to ask for it.

If you have any questions about a project you see on our site or a questionable communication you’ve received from someone related to a project on our site, please email reportabuse@castingnetworks.com and we’ll look into it with you.

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The Tortured Artist Trope: How to Inform Your Work Safely and Honestly
How to Not Compromise the Commercial Acting Industry
4 Common Casting Call Mistakes for Project Creators To Avoid
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The Dangers of Self-Deprecation: Be Your Best Advocate From the Inside Out