These days, the popular and slightly terrifying website Craigslist is one of the few ways for new actresses and actors that don’t have agents to get a job for free. Other sites usually involve some sort of upfront fee in order to gain access to casting calls and the like, but Craigslist is a place where broke actors can find smaller casting directors that are looking for talent to work on set. HOWEVER, it is a very hit and miss sort of place to find gigs, so I’m going to list a few tips and warnings here for any actors who want to use this site:

1. For actresses especially, make sure to respect your own comfort level. If an ad says ‘must be comfortable with nudity’ then you’d better be okay with it, otherwise you’re going to have a very irritated director on your hands. Also, even if you are okay with some nudity, you still need to be incredibly cautious, because an acting job that is asking for nude talent may not be as tasteful as you may be thinking, if you know what I mean.

Also, if the ad doesn’t explicitly┬ásay ‘no nudity’, then you absolutely need to ask, because I learned the hard way that sometimes these people will get you to come all the way to set only to surprise you with the fact that you’re supposed to be topless in the shot. So the lesson of the story is: ALWAYS CLARIFY. You have the right to know what you’re getting into, and you also have the right to say no. I was supposed to get that part, but I was not comfortable with what they were asking for, and so I drove home with a slightly heavy heart but with my self-respect intact.

2. Most likely, you’re going to get one e-mail back for every 50 that you send out. Now don’t get too down on yourself after reading that, because a lot of ads on Craigslist are scams or for pay services, and the very few that aren’t usually have a very short amount of time to find talent, so it’s going to be a first come first serve sort of thing. With so much junk to sort through and with each director having their own specific image in mind for who they want for what roles, it’s not going to be an overnight thing, so you just have to keep sending out e-mails and be patient. Most of all, be persistent, because the only one who can achieve this dream is you, and it’s not going to be easy.

3. Make sure to have an up to date resume and a marketable headshot. Directors don’t have time to squint their eyes and try and see you through a blurry shot, or figure out what size you are because you thought using the myspace angle would make you look thinner. They want to see a straight-on, honest view of your features and your shape (try to have both a headshot and a full body shot on hand, as many directors will act for both.) Along that same vein, do not, for any reason, put false jobs on your resume. Someone will find out, and you’ll be in big trouble. Just be truthful, in both your images and your resume. What directors want is honest, raw talent; they aren’t always looking for the most experienced or polished person. Have trust in your brand.

4. We’ve all seen the movies and the headlines, so if you do manage to book a job on Craigslist, always, always be cautious about who you’re meeting and where. You don’t want to get yourself into some sort of casting couch or otherwise dangerous situation, so always make sure that you’re going to be meeting the director in a public place where you can get out if things get uncomfortable. Other suggestions: talk to them on the phone before you go, and google their name to see if there are any credits on imdb or the like. Ask if you can bring a friend to the first meeting, so that way you won’t be alone. In short, be smart. Don’t get so excited about booking a job that you lose your life over it. Not everyone in this world is honest, especially in the entertainment business.

Check back tomorrow to read 4 more of my Craigslist: Tips and Warnings

Welcome Back… Here’s my final four Hollywood Tips when using Craigslist.org

5. Make sure you read the complete ad before submitting your information. Most of the time, there are a lot of specifics, such as what race they’re looking for, height, weight, eye color, etc. You don’t want to waste your time or the director’s by e-mailing when you don’t fit the bill, so respect both yourself and your recipients by reading through all of the information before acting on it. It may be a little boring sometimes, but it’ll save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

6. If you book a gig, make sure to write down the details in the ad, especially the shooting date and the pay that they specified, if there is one. You don’t want to show up and work expecting to get 150 dollars for the day only to have them try to tell you that you read it wrong and you’re only getting 50. If possible, bring a copy of the ad with you as evidence. I know that it seems like a bit much, but like I said, not everyone is honest, and people will try to save money in any way they can in this business.

7. Ask questions if you have one. Your opinion matters too, no matter who tells you that actors are supposed to be mindless puppets who just do whatever their directors want. Now, don’t go being a diva or anything, but if something is puzzling or worrying to you, then remember that it’s okay to ask questions in your initial e-mail or in any further exchanges. They won’t bite (usually, anyway.)

8. Do not lie about your availability. If they ask you to shoot on a date in which you have already committed to something or someone else, then be truthful about it, because if you show up late, it’s going to look really bad. A lot of the times shoot dates are set in stone, and it’s true that you may be dropped from the job as a result, but it’s better to skip out on it than to show up late, trust me. You will find some people who are more flexible, though, so again, remember to always ask. If you’re not free that day, then maybe they can switch it. There’s nothing to lose by asking.

So those are a few tips & warnings about Craigslist. It’s definitely a far from perfect way to get work, but it can sometimes be successful, so if you want to try it, then go for it. It can be a good way for starting actors and actresses to gain exposure and be one more step closer to getting an agent.

Hope you enjoyed!

Brooke –

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