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February 13, 2001

Ah, the good ol' days...

When I was out here in 1993, I worked with an actor's showcase group each week. I had a partner with whom I'd prepared a scene, rehearsed a scene, dare I say - nearly perfected a scene, and we, for $10 each week, put up our scene for a CD.

We, and five other couples, did our scenes after hearing a 15-20 minute lecture from the CD on their likes, dislikes, advice, etc. After our scenes, we sat, one-on-one, with the CD for feedback on our scenes, our headshots, our resum├ęs. We had a "general".

I look back at the list of CDs I met with, back then, and they are (and were, even then) big time CDs, full-on CDs, not assistants, not associates.

Now, I have no idea whether my $10 per week went into the pocket of the CD or paid for the coffee and snacks we all enjoyed--or even for the rental of the space. I just know that it was *totally* worth it for me--and exactly why I thought, when I returned to LA in 1999, "Hey, the price may have gone up, but I remember these things being a wonderful experience."

Wrongola!

What goes on now is completely different. Bottom line, it's a paid audition. It's not a workshop, it's not an opportunity to learn how to audition. It's a cold read for $35-$50, with no conversation with the CD (oh, I'm sorry, I mean the CD's assistant).

So, I tried it when I returned to LA and, having determined it was no longer the same animal, I stopped.

That being said, I've talked with many CDs who require that their associates NOT join CSA specifically so that they can continue to do these workshops, as a representative of their office. Do they bring actors in? CDs say they do.

Did I prefer the way I first met Billy DaMota to the way I more recently met the assistant to an associate to a CSA member? You betcha.

What does any of this mean? Who knows? But I agree that the current occurance of paid-to-play showcases will only cease when we, as actors, stop paying for these things. If we make it so that LA theatre is the only way CDs can scout actors, they will show up, no matter how small the black box theatre may be. But why bother doing that, when they can show up at a classroom, collect their stipend, and say they've been out scouting?

Feeling mighty sassy...

Posted by bonnie at February 13, 2001 10:30 PM