I’m going to beg one last time.
New York casting is a disaster. I understand that actors that were once able to earn a steady income doing commercials no longer can.
The business has changed. We have union, non-union, real people and no way to navigate their careers.
Diversity requests are moving quicker than we can build the talent pool and with so much social media the ages are young and there are too many requests for “ influencers”.
That being said…. In the last 2 months we have done more SAG (and even network) work then we have seen in a long time. I’m one of a handful of NY casting directors that work for a bunch of “A” level directors that rely on experienced SAG actors that are well trained and help them make their work the quality they need to make those spots great.
I think the problem is actors have given up. Union actors want non-union work to go away, but you have no chance when you stop making the audition process a priority.
I get how frustrated everyone is.
I have gotten together with a bunch of talent agents and we have asked the union to help.
They send out letters to their members, but I was told very few members read letters that are sent out.
NY clearly has our slow times, but one thing that has been consistent for the 30+years that I have been doing this is that summer is busy.
Directors want to shoot in NY. They don’t want to travel to the west coast when the weather makes it possible to shoot on the east coast. They fight hard to bring their jobs here but when the casting sessions have only a 50 % turn out, they will lose their argument the next time.
NY has great actors but if they can’t find the level of actors they need they end up in LA. Those jobs aren’t going to go non-union… they will just cast someplace else.
You all know how frustrated the agents are because actors don’t think it matters if they inform their agents of their schedules. It shouldn’t matter if you haven’t had an audition in a month. The agents take the time to sign you and then submit you only to find out “you forgot to book out” or to let them know if you have booked something else or even planned a vacation.
Summer for actors does not mean vacation. Come October when you have no auditions and you call your agents to see what’s going on, the answer will be “where were you in May, June and especially July?” If we are lucky enough to work then July and August will be the best chance. Nothing is waiting.
I have to cast a job July 5th with a callback on the 7th. Yes, Saturday in the summer and right after July 4th.
I have no idea when a holiday (1 day) on a Wednesday has now started on Friday, June 29th. Agents and actors have decided on “summer Fridays”. I have never had a Friday off in the summer. Take fall Fridays. For 4th of July this year union agents have decided to close ½ day Tuesday all the way through Monday July 9th. My clients would push if they could, but jobs book late. Casting never has much turn around time and because of some decision that I believe started with the talent agents- the actors have gotten into a terrible habit. Don’t you want the work when it’s here? The non-union agents never close the way the union agents close. I guess they are hungrier and often we need to dip into that pool because we can’t fill casting sessions.
I pay rent 365 days a year. I have to be available to work all the time.
For the life of me I don’t understand why so many actors take vacation in July along with Fridays off and sometimes not even coming back from wherever they go until Monday night.
I’m begging you to give this one more summer. We need to show advertising agencies and directors that we can give them great casting on July 2,3 5,6,7.
LA has a 6-day work week. When I try and do a casting session on a Saturday in summer, everyone is out of town.
I know actors are frustrated, angry and have given up, but maybe you need to commit the time to see if your commitment will help bring the business back to NY. So far May and June were great months and more than 50% of the work was SAG.
Please, please, take your vacation in the fall.
Please, please stop deciding that Fridays in the summer are not a work day.
And agents, please, please stop closing at the drop of a hat. You are not trying to bring business back. You are giving up. What happened to a great work ethic?
Before giving up please devote this summer to help us all earn a living and restore faith to the business.
If I’m wrong, I’m sorry but without trying… it’s game over.
I’ll ask I more thing…
EVERYONE PLEASE VOTE IN NOVEMBER.
It would be nice to stop being so upset over politics that maybe we can get back to our jobs.
None of this is going to fix itself and giving up something we all need and love without trying will be terrible.
Thank you for listening,
Beth Melsky Casting