Okay, so last week, I ended my column on Hedging Your TV Season Bets with this:
Ugh! Do I Hafta? I’m certain that I lost some of you at the very beginning of this piece. Thank you for continuing to skim all the way to this closing paragraph. Believe me, I know this sort of risk management analysis is not every actor’s cup of tea! That said, if you are the type who can embrace this information and work it to your advantage, come episodic casting season, you’ll absolutely thank me for the edge.
Well, I got email thanking me for the “system,” email from folks in awe of the level of geek I’d reached (thank you, thank you), and yes, email with that resounding cry of, “I can’t do it! You can’t make me! It’s too scary!” I gotcha. Really.
The best email I got, though, came from an actor who has turned his “system” into a web-based resource for actors. Now, you know I’m a big fan of sharing your toys and getting free information and doing the heavy lifting of organizing and interpreting all by yourself. But I also know that not everyone will feel comfortable doing all of that. It’s like cooking is, for me. I hate cooking. HATE IT. I burn water. Sure, I could learn to cook. Sure, I could take a class. But I’d always rather pay someone else to cook something for me. It’s just the way I roll.
So, for those of you who’d like to have the info but not do all of the work, it looks to me like CastingAbout.com is a wonderful option! I poked around the site upon the invitation of its creator. This is so much better than the sad little FileMakerPro database of its ilk that I created back in my acting days. I’m in love with the organization of useful information. From what I’ve been able to discern about the accuracy of the data at CastingAbout.com, I’d say it’s totally worth the investment of ten bucks a month. (What’s that, like two lattes?) Unless, of course, you like to get your geek on the old-fashioned way. But believe me, I’d take dinner at Dan Tana’s over attempting to create a home-cooked meal any day!
Thanks for your article and advice on handicapping the shows for the new season. (Your system is great!) Nice to find out there are others out there as “geeky” as I am; people who actually have fun attacking The Business with charts, graphs, and flow charts.
As an actor, I enjoy this kind of research so much I helped start a business that does this kind of work every day. (I hope you don’t mind, but I had to write to tell you about it because we have a research staff whose job is to do the exact work you talked about in the article!)
The company is CastingAbout.com, and in a nutshell, we track every TV show that casts in LA; its production status as of this morning; the casting office address; and the name of every assistant, associate, and CD in that office. We put it all on one easy to use Grid (searchable and sortable) and — best part — actors can check off as many of the names as they want, hit “print” and get instant mailing labels from their own printer.
We update the data every day; so for pilots, for example (most of which are now listed as “wrapped”), the day a pick-up is announced we’ll switch its status to “ordered series,” get on the phone to the production company and find out who’s casting. The day the casting office actually opens, we switch the status to “casting.”
We charge actors $9.95 a month for a subscription. The response has been fantastic; I think most actors feel the same frustrations I felt about finding good information, and hopefully this is helping.
Take a look, and please, write me back if you have any questions or feedback. I’d love to hear what you think.
Thanks very much,
Co-Owner and Principal Partner
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/000387.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.