Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I’d Like To Not Thank The City Attorney.

Statistics say panic attacks most commonly affect two careers: actors and hospital residents, because we have to instantly go from structure to all hell breaking loose.

Doesn’t matter. I love acting. There’s nothing better than being on set and getting to play. It’s why the outgoing message on my voicemail says “I’ll do it.”

Getting to play tends to be a rare occurrence because there are over 200,000 actors in Los Angeles, and up to 3000 actors are submitted by their agents for each role. So how do we get ourselves into casting offices?

 One of the best ways is casting workshops. A chance to perform a scene in front of casting directors (CDs), and show them your skills and personality. (Knowing you’ll behave like a pro on set is very encouraging to CDs.)

Unfortunately, a bit of a scandal has popped up here in LA, as the city attorney got a bug up his ass and is on a mission to shut down workshops. You see, we actors pay to do them, and the city attorney is under the entirely false assumption that this creates a “pay for play” situation. Pay, or no audition for you.

An actor friend of mine had this to say about it:
I don’t think the CDs or workshops (which are privately owned, usually by actors) are doing anything wrong, as actors who attend them understand what they are and are willing to pay for them. But legal things often proceed on optics – how they appear to a third party who knows nothing about how they work. To a third party, a workshop looks like a paid audition. If anything, it’s a paid general. (A “general” is a meeting with a casting director. There’s no audition – just a chance to be memorable so this person you’re seeing for the first time will keep you in mind for a future project. They’re pretty rare nowadays, because they were never as beneficial as workshops. –Matt) A workshop is the only practical way actors get to practice their craft, THEY’RE NOT SCAMS. They are paid interactions with industry professionals which provide both a chance to act and an opportunity to have that acting seen by someone who can help an actor obtain employment.
Hell yeah they are. But the city attorney went nuts a couple weeks ago and surprised ten random CDs by bringing them up on charges, that could result in a $10,000 fine and up to a year in prison. He also charged several workshops themselves, and some of them immediately shut their doors, and just like that, being an actor became that much more challenging.

It’s a crazy witch hunt that massively sucks shit, and I pray it shall pass.

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