What if you had to PAY just to interview for your job?
A recent investigation by The Hollywood Reporter highlighted the rampant problem of so-called "Casting Director Workshops," where actors pay a fee (often $50 or more) to perform a scene in front of casting directors that cast major TV shows and films. These sessions are touted as "educational workshops," but it's no secret what they are: pay-to-play auditions that can lead to paid acting roles.
Besides being immoral, the "workshops" are patently illegal under a California state law, The Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act, which became effective in January 2010. The law makes it explicitly illegal to exchange money for the prospect of employment in California. Despite this requirement, more than two dozen companies currently offer pay-to-play "workshops" in Los Angeles, where "instructors" post flimsy disclaimers which caution actors that they are not auditioning for a job - even though it's clear they are.
Despite this rampant practice, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer and the L.A. County Department of Consumer Affairs have thus far neither publicly investigated nor prosecuted a single case against pay-to-play companies. It's time for this to change - and to hold these companies accountable for their actions.
Actors shouldn't have to pay for the chance to work in Hollywood. Producers, networks and studios should provide casting directors with ample resources to cast their projects, instead of sticking struggling actors with the bill.
City Attorney Feuer and Mr. Reyes:
I urge you to begin immediate public investigations and prosecutions of pay-to-play casting scams.
As you know, the Krekorian Act of 2009 explictly bans exchanging money for the prospect of employment in California, yet dozens of pay-to-play casting companies currently engage in this practice by de-facto selling the prospect of employment in the entertainment industry. This practice is both immoral and illegal, and it is within your power - and duty - to stop it.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.