Advice and Tips for Actors

April 27, 2010

REVIEW: ActorsAccess.com

The second suggestion when you type “Actorsaccess” into Google after ActorsAccess.com is the phrase “Actorsaccess Scam.”  Well, is ActorsAccess.com a scam?

The answer is no.

What is ActorsAccess?  AA (as I like to call it) is the publicly published section of Breakdown Services.  Breakdown Services is the system on which anyone casting a project can accept submissions from managers and agents.  When publishing they are also given the option to post to Actors Access where any actor can go and look at the parts they are casting and submit online.  The yearly cost for unlimited submissions (as of 2010) is $68.  It’s been the same rate for years.  If you want to pay per-submission the cost is $2.

Now, the better question is “why do people think Actors Access is a scam?”  I think there are several reasons:

Pay Per Submission: Many people use this for their first option when signing up for AA and see how quickly the charges add up.  Why would it cost this much for an online submission?  Truth is, it doesn’t really.  Personally I think they’d rather you sign up and have a subscription account (which also grants you access to audition sides).  In the past four months I’ve done a total of 74 submissions and I only submit on non-student film union projects.  If you were just starting out you’d probably double or triple that number of submissions.  Totally worth every penny.

Few “Big Name” Projects: There are many scam casting sites out there that either make up or steal casting information for major shows.  They let actors submit on these projects but no one ever sees the submissions so actors get no response.   Since the vast majority of big name projects are actually cast through Breakdown Services there’s little need to put out a call to the actors at large unless a production company needs something very specific.  I’ve yet to see a major production put out a call for “Beautiful Blond 25-30 Guest Star” roles on Actors Access because they simply don’t need the extra submissions to successfully cast the part.  Is that unfair?  I’ll talk about that in another review.

They Submit Two or Three Times and Get No Calls: Believe it or not, this is the one I hear the most.  Someone in Nebraska wants to be an actor so they sign up figuring they’ll fly in if they ever get a major audition.  They spend six bucks to submit a photo they took with a camera phone and a resume that says, “Tree #3 Elementary School Production of Snow White” for roles they’re not right for and they get pissed because no one calls them in.  What they don’t know is that they were one of 3,000 submissions for that role from Actors Access and there were another 2,000 from agents/mangers who are more likely to have a relationship with the casting director.  I submit on Actors Access all the time (and I have a couple credits and good headsh0ts) but still only get a few calls.  Agents and managers have the same problem, they submit actors all day (it’s their job) but there is so much competition for even a one line role on a Nickelodeon show that they don’t get as many calls as actors think they do.

Both of these boil down to one point:  many people (particularly beginners) have no idea how the industry works.  They expect there to be shortcuts and there aren’t.  You’re unlikely to book a major role from Actors Access that will define your career but you are likely (if your photos are good enough) to get called in for plenty of shorts, web series and low budget films to make the $68 worth it.

Even if you have an agent it’s worth it to check on AA for projects you might want to do for little to no pay and your agent won’t be pursuing.  There’s some quality work on there.

AA also offers add-on services like the ability to upload a demo reel and to record video for you to use in lieu of a demo reel.  I have a demo up (haven’t had them record anything) and the cost wasn’t super cheap but I get to include it on all my submissions (included in the yearly subscription).  It sets me apart from the other submissions and lets me show my work.

And as an added bonus an Actors Access page can stand in for a free acting website if you haven’t put one together yet.

I could probably write a few dozen more glowing things about Actors Access but I won’t.  I’ll simply say it’s one of the few bargains for actors out there and an essential part of building a career.

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