Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dealing with Craigslist

Tips for dealing with online submissions whether you're looking for cast & crew to work on your film or you're looking for a film to work on. Most of my focus is on Craigslist because it is available everywhere (versus a site that only lists projects in a particular area). However, most of this can be applied to any online submission.

I'm not going to debate the merits of using Craigslist or compare it to other sites. Merely how to effectively use Craigslist.

For those looking for cast & crew:
  • Have contact info other than the Craigslist email. I personally do not have a problem with submitting this way, but it is possible some might be hesitant. You can create an email just for that project.
  • "Need males & females 25-40 for my awesome film" is an ineffective way to get actors. Maybe a been at it six months, desperate for anything actor, but I would simply move on to the next ad. Of course, if it went on to explain that it is for a crowd scene or included a link to a website, that would be different.
  • Have your ad at least give the appearance that you know English. If your casting call is essentially a run on paragraph, it will not instill confidence in your script writing skills.
  • The ad should contain a brief filmmaker bio, a tag line (what the film is about), and a character breakdown. Or a link with this and more detailed information.
  • Be upfront with who you are -without being apologetic- and what cast & crew can expect in payment. Promoting yourself from student filmmaker to top indy filmmaker in the area is the equivalent of an actor promoting his four days of extra work on a TV show to recurring.
  • Don't insult the intelligence of the acting community. Seriously! Don't put things like "Those cast will be required to sign release forms authorizing their image and voice to be used in the film." unless must never have been on a film set before is a requirement to being cast. Also, there is no need to dress up extra roles. Those who believe it would make great reel material would probably submit anyway. And no one is going to think the only thing better would be getting cast as the villain in Iron Man 3.

For those looking for projects to submit to:

  • Craigslist is not the place to submit for $2000/day on the next Tom Cruise film shooting in Bangladesh. Such ads are spam.
  • Casting opportunities for major features are not going to be advertised on Craigslist. At least not legitimate ads.
  • There is no such thing as a nationwide extras casting database. There is no such thing as a nationwide extras casting database. Do NOT pay to be considered for extra work (or even the lead for that matter.)
  • Anyone can advertise on Craigslist so listen to your "spidey-sense". This is especially important now that Craigslist no longer has an "adult" section.
  • The only reason a filmmaker will need your SSN is for tax purposes. Which means he is going to be reporting paying you wages. $20 cash is not a valid reason. Odds are such projects will not be found on Craigslist.
  • Also, do not put your home address. Unless being mailed your copy of the reel, the filmmaker does not need it. Better yet would be a PO Box.

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