I have yet to see a Casting Call or Recruitment Drive posted on-line that actually sounded legit!
You get plenty of Journos, Copywriters, Editors, Club Trivia Hosts, etc, etc that can all be confirmed very easily with the details provided in the ad itself. Then there is the occasional WANTED: Extras, Actors, Models, Commercial Faces & Promotional Staff type posts claiming all sorts of very impressive sounding details. (There is about 2 or three that make the regular rounds.)
Up until some time back, these very familiar posts all included details like Who was asking, and even provided contact details. Then after a spate of poor publicity, these still very familiar posts started appearing "anonymously," i.e. Without reference to anything that can be researched - Company Name, Contact Name, so forth.
Firstly, ACTING CASTING AGENCIES DO NOT ADVERTISE as a general rule. They don't need to. Most have a limited number of people they can have on their "books" and there are plenty of willing people out there to fill them. Why spend money advertsing when you have a constant stream of people coming in the door without it?
Second, when an on-line add of ANY kind is provided without company details or a contact name, or anything that can be researched, I have to ask what are they hiding? I find it particularly interesting that these adds that are soooo very similar to earlier versions which included these details now suddenly do not. I'll let you consider the reasons why this might be.
Third, these Calls are made with odd recurrence which makes it appear that they are either finding it hard to keep people on their books for more than a month or two (a bad sign in itself), or are simply not interested in actually finding you work, but getting numbers up. The question then begs, why get their numbers up? Well, if they are charging you upfront fees or mandatory expenses to "get on their books" then the more people they get paying, the more money they are making. Who needs to find you guys work when there's someone else willing to pay money for a dream?
A proper agent does not need to recruit, nor do they charge up-front fees like a club membership. Casting Agencies are like a temping, contract or job search agency. They find work for you and take a cut of your earnings as a finders fee. You do not pay anything up-front to these guys, and neither should you for a casting agent. This does not include legitimate additional services provided by the agent, but these should be optional. Things like a Photographer.
I have mentioned all this before and will from time to time repost to remind people of this. Tell your friends or anyone you meet who is also looking for employment as a performer.
Remember, research or the ability to research is your best weapon in avoiding scams and cons. The rule of Email Spam is : When in doubt, throw it out. Very good advice in this case also.
Disclaimer: I do not include Casting Consultants in this evaluation whom may choose to post to public forums such as this one. Indeed I am personally gratified to see posts from one particular Perth Based Consultant whom recently used a large number of local Theatre Australia patrons in the filming of "Cloudstreet."
Musical with a Twist