"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dear Struggling Actress

My fellow blogger/actress Anita sent me the following email:

I was wondering of I could ask your opinion on the following casting call:

Auditions for Dance Machine the Movie

Looking for Actors, Dancers and Musicians for Nationwide Casting for Feature Film!

We are holding open casting for the full feature film "DanceMachine!". "Dance Machine" is being produced by Mark R. Harris whose credits, to name a few, include "Crash", "The Black Donnellys," and "Gods and Monsters." Mr. Harris has developed a reputation for being a Hollywood innovator and has decided that instead of having the talent come to Hollywood, he wants Hollywood to come to the talent. "Not only will everyone have a fair and equal opportunity to showcase their talents and possibly land a role in DanceMachine!," says Mark, "but also show the rest of the entertainment community what they can do."

We are looking for:
Dancers & Choreographers
All types, all styles. Includes Dance Machine arcade dancers.
Primary Cast - teenagers. General cast - all ages. Breakdown & Actors sides may be found here.
All types, all styles of music. Performers, Composers, Groups/Bands.
All types, all styles of art. Anime, 3-D, Animation, Pop & Modern Art.

Note: All minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Location: All states, United States

Payment details: Professional Pay

Applications to this casting call require:
* A phone number
* A profile photo
* A profile video

[A list of breakdowns follows.]
You have to go to their website, http://idancemachine.com/, register and then you can access sides, upload your CV, headshots, audition videos etc. It’s free and the only thing that I’m not too happy about is that your audition videos can be seen, rated, and commented on by anyone.

Would you do it, audition I mean? Or would you have earlier in your career? I just don’t know how seriously to take this and how professional and fair it is.

Hi Anita! So here's my take on those types of auditions:

They're NOT auditions. They're a promotional marketing campaign preyed upon actors so that when one actor who uploads all the stuff then has to tell all their friends and family members to vote/comment for them -  that one actor/dancer has told 100 people about it. And of those 100 people, 50 might go see the videos and vote. Which is pretty cost effective.

Their website says "All roles for DanceMachine! will be cast exclusively from talent from our iDanceMachine.com community." but just because a website says that doesn't mean they actually will. It's not smart for a film production to do that! Why would they go through thousands of videos (mostly terrible) when they could offer the role to already established talent like Vanessa Hudgens or Dianna Agron - stars who already have a huge following! THAT helps make a movie money. Unknowns with very little on set (if any) experience do not. And could cost them a ton of money due to their lack of experience and proffesionalism.

I don't for a second buy that these are real auditions. I mean, they could cast their extras in it, but even then, don't you think they'd want to go through an extras casting service filled with actors who KNOW how to do background work and are all in one spot to pull from?

It's a 3D movie. They're putting tons of money into special effects. They will hire professional, established actors and dancers repped by agencies. There's too much money going into it not to.

So, I would say you can do it to do it, but your chances of being called in are probably worse than winning the lottery. I'm not going to do it. I'd rather put the energy into filming a small scene and using it to put on my reel.

I think any actor, when it comes to these types of multi-media platforms to cast a movie needs to be very wary; no one is going to risk millions of dollars on someone who at least doesn't have a high powered agent behind them vouching for their work. Movies aren't made for art. They're made to make money. It's a business. If you're an unknown Struggling Actress, you're not going to help that movie make money. You're a risk. You have to look at it from that point of view.

And good for you, Anita, for doing your homework on it! I'd love to know what you decide on.

[UPDATE! 9/8/2011 Please see Dan Harris' response to this post here]


  1. Hey Lira!
    Thanks for the super quick reply on this! I had a feeling that it would be a waste of time at best. Wishful thinking. It's amazing what people, especially those in such powerful positions, do to prey on actors' hopes and dreams.

  2. I couldn't disagree more!! Firstly, you say professionalism is key and to hire someone like Vanessa Hudgens... well she will have one day never set foot on a movie set, and will have had no experience. Every single person will at some point have their first time on a set. The site is giving people a chance to get onto a set without having a huge resume to back them up, but the skill and capability to star in a film.
    Second of all, there is so much talent on iDM, and I have not seen one audition which is terrible.... their are so many aspiring talents on there and it is lovely to see everyone shine and support each other along the way.
    Also, iDM has and is hosting a live audition tour (which had members of the site cast as hosts, who auditioned with a video audition to host the tour.) The tour allows people to audition in person.
    Personally, I think iDM is a fantastic idea! I am from a small town in the North of England and would never have the opportunity to audition for a huge Hollywood production had I not found this site.... It has given me an opportunity to be in a real film in the US. I would never would have had this chance had it not been for the fantastic idea of video uploads. I have also made great friends on the site.
    I doubt I will be cast, for the talent on the site is overwhelming. But I can leave the site once the film is cast knowing I have learnt something, auditioned for a real film, and hopefully improved my skill in the career I want but find so hard to get into...
    I hope anyone who reads this will be inspired to join us in the iDanceMachine family, and audition for a film you may have not had the chance to.
    I respect your views Lira, however if you were to give the site a chance, you would probably feel the great vibe it gives of.
    I love iDanceMachine!!
    I Dance Machine.... Do You??

  3. LOL. i love the "Anonymous" Shills.


Play nice.