We know there are many opportunities out there for actors to get commercial work through online casting services. We also understand that budgets can be tight and hiring a talent through an agent might feel like a possible budget buster, which is generally not the case. We represent and protect the actor while giving them as many solid opportunities as possible. That being said we are always negotiable.
We have been made aware of many casting calls that might seem like good ideas on paper but in reality you are being taken advantage of. Not only can these casting services be unreliable but they leave out legitimate agents and casting directors (The people who strive to help you make a living from the career you have invested in). In various ways these online casting services disguise their low rates, which is another way this market races to the bottom.
Here is an example of something you might see that looks good on paper.
Seeking talent for a commercial shoot. Please include a resume and/or link to your acting reel.
Young Guy: 18 to 30, open to ethnicity. Friendly, smart, conversational. Good comedic timing.
4 to 5 TV commercials to air regionally as well as online. Rate = $900 - $1000 depending. Full buyout.
Everyone wants $900 to $1000, right? Let’s break this down. You are actually making $225 per spot if you shoot 4 TV commercials and $200 per spot if you shoot 5. That is for a regional TV buyout, meaning they own it forever PLUS web use. Not only that but it says nothing about reshoots, extra VO that did not pick up on camera or creating lifts for next year’s campaign. Not booking this through your agent? Who is going to bat for you when you don’t get paid, have overtime or if shots are pulled and put up on a billboard at US Bank Stadium during the Vikings opener? They could possibly sell it to a totally different client like stock photos for penial implants. True story! Did you sign a release? Did you read it!? These are all very important questions to think about.
Remember, exposure has a value. When you agree to work on a project like this you are agreeing to unregulated exposure. This is damaging to your career. Now you are known as the guy wearing butterfly wings on the used car commercial. Who is going to hire you? No one. Another true story.
On the plus side, your rent might be paid for one month…if/when you get paid on time. Working with an agent does not mean that everything is always perfect and that buyers are always honest, but it sure cuts down on the possibilities of things going wrong.
Put that in your back pocket the next time you see a casting online or Craig’s list. Run it by your agent (but don’t expect the agent to do all the vetting and then not want them to represent you).
~Agents at Moore Creative Talent
Links to creditable Casting Directors: