I keep track of Casting Sites that are available for actors and having come across a number of scam websites, I’ve read the laws regulating their interaction with Californian actors and want to share what I’ve found in relation to the recent news about casting director workshops. Just a heads up, I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the casting director workshop system in Los Angeles where actors are paying to be taught or coached by people who make casting decisions. These businesses are regulated in California by the The Krekorian Act under “Fee-Related Talent Services” and are overseen by the Department of Industrial Relations.
Fee-Related Talent Services aren’t just workshops. The covered businesses include “talent counseling services”, “talent listing services”, or “talent training services” which means all paid acting coaches, all services that offer acting job listings for a fee, all services that host actor profiles for a fee, and all services that offer listings of agents, casting directors, or auditions for a fee.
Any owner, officer, or employee of these services who “willfully violates any provision of this chapter” is subject to a misdemeanor charge and imprisonment of up to a year, a fine up to $10,000, or restitution to the artist. Damages awarded an injured artist must be more than three times the amount paid to the talent service.
All of these Fee-Related Talent Services are supposed to have a $50,000 bond to protect actors from abuse. A quick check of the list of Talent Services with bonds shows only 121 active Talent Services bonds. There has got to be more than 121 businesses in California that offer Fee Related Talent Services! Included on the list are businesses like Breakdown Services (aka Actor’s Access) and Casting Networks (aka L.A. Casting). Not on the list (or at least not listed under their public names) are businesses ranging from Cazt to IMDb which are Californian businesses that offer regulated talent services for a fee. Teachers like Anthony P. Meindl have a bond while other teachers do not*. Many many teachers, workshop companies, audition sources, and actor profile websites should be bonded but are not. The question remains if out-of-state Fee Related Talent Services should have to hold a bond if they sell regulated services to Californian actors. If so, then there is a vast number of unbonded companies offering Fee-Related Talent Services to Californian actors.
Look, I’d love to have my $150.00 IMDbPro annual fees returned to me threefold since they are operating without a bond but I’d have to sue them and really I’d rather focus on acting. I’d just be happy if the Labor Commissioner did her job and sent them (and all the unbonded companies) a letter asking them to comply, made sure they do, and went after the ones who didn’t. I guess it all starts with filing a complaint with the Department of Industrial Relations – who’s with me?
* As of this writing, the bond spreadsheet was last updated in September 2015 so Cazt, IMDb and others not found in the spreadsheet may, in fact, now be bonded (thanks to Billy DaMota for pointing this out).
** I originally stated that Dallas Travers did not have a bond because I didn’t see it listed on her website. I reached out to her and she is bonded under the name Sage Creative, Inc which shows as active since 2012. She also has the full text of the Krekorian Act on her website.