Casting websites have forever changed the production process.

It used to be that the aspiring actor, with their trusty headshot in tow, would make the rounds from one casting office to the next not quite sure what to expect.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, actors now have an abundance of online resources to find legitimate casting opportunities.

Here’s a look at six of the best free casting websites out there.

Actors Access is a casting website built around “The breakdown.”

No, no, not the emotional state after spilling hot coffee on yourself.

Casting Websites-Actors Access-StudioBinder

Actors Access is a premier source for casting breakdowns.

A breakdown is a notice that casting offices release to agents containing important information about the production. 

This includes a synopsis, character descriptions, proposed locations and the principal production staff.

As it so happens, Actors Access is owned by Breakdown Services Inc, one of the premier breakdown distributors in the industry.

Because of this, Actors Access is one of the best casting websites for both actors and casting directors.

Actors Access offers just about every service the actor and casting director could want.

This includes the ability to upload and maintain headshots, resumes, and reels.

And yes, it is free to create an account.

Here’s what it includes:

  • 24/7 access to breakdowns.
  • The ability to upload 2 photos, a resume, and a size card.
  • Slate Shot, which is a seven-second video clip of an actor introducing themselves.

There are no monthly maintenance fees for Actors Access, but keep in mind, any additional profile elements must be purchased.

  • $10 per photo
  • $22 per minute of video
  • $11 per minute of audio
  • $5 for an additional Slate Shot

Actors Access also offers a service called Showfax, which allows members to browse sides for upcoming projects.

Sides are selected lines from a screenplay that an actor will read during an audition.

Members can pay $68 for unlimited access and downloads to these sides.

As far as best free casting websites go, Actors Access is definitely at the top of the list. 

When discussing the best free casting websites, one has to mention Casting Frontier.

Casting Websites-Casting Frontier-StudioBinder

Casting websites like Casting Frontier streamlined the distribution of materials. 

Casting Frontier is often thought of as one the premier innovators of digital casting tools.  

Now back in the old days of Hollywood, acting auditions were grueling for both the casting directors and the actors.

Casting directors were pulling their hair out trying to ship audition materials across the country.

And the actors themselves were burning through money on high-quality headshots.

Then in 2006, Casting Frontier launched iSession, a digital platform that permitted casting directors to upload audition materials to their clients.

The move was revolutionary and helped to make it one of the most revered casting websites for both actors and casting directors.

With Casting Frontier, members can submit to casting calls for commercials, TV shows, feature films as well as print and digital content.

Here’s what the free account includes:

  • 1 headshot
  • An online resume
  • Limited direct casting submissions.

Now, if you want further options, you’ll have to upgrade to a higher membership level. 

Casting Frontier premium plan

$75.99/year (or pay monthly for $12.99/month)

It includes the following:

  • 5 headshots
  • Unlimited headshot changes
  • Unlimited direct casting submissions
  • Link to a website
  • Voice reel
  • Online Resume

casting frontier premium plus plan

$95.99/year (or pay monthly for $17.99/month)

It includes the following:

  • 50 Headshots
  • Unlimited headshot changes
  • Unlimited direct casting submissions
  • Digital video reel
  • Link to a website
  • Voice reel
  • Online Resume

Although the free membership doesn’t include some of the bells and whistles as the premium, it’s still an effective means of getting your materials seen on one of best casting websites in the industry. 

Like Casting Frontier, Casting Networks Inc. began as a software company in 2002 with the objective of streamlining the casting process.

Let’s be honest, the communication, paperwork and talent scouting involved in casting is enough to make anyone cower under a table.

Casting Websites-Casting Networks-StudioBinder

Casting Networks offers customizable multimedia profiles. 

Casting Networks Inc. sought to change all that and became the first system to put the entire casting process online.

With customizable multimedia profiles and access to new jobs posted daily through their Casting Billboard service, this casting website is consistently at the forefront of casting solutions.  

Casting Networks Inc. does offer a free account, but there is a catch.

In order to register for free, you MUST have agency representation.

Without representation, there is a $25 annual fee.

Although not spending money is always preferable, Casting Networks inc. does offer members a lot for $25.

Here’s what the membership includes:

  • A free first photo and unlimited updates to resume and digital size card
  • Profile searchable by Casting Directors and Agents
  • Personalized URL to your online resume 
  • (www.castingnetworks.com/yourname)
  • Access to new Casting Billboard projects daily
  • Access to sides, directories, photographers and acting coaches. 

Even if you don’t have an agent, Casting Networks Inc. is definitely a site to consider when outlining your casting goals. 

One of the joys of going to the theater, besides the performance, is being handed one of those nifty yellow production pamphlets.

Casting Websites-Playbill website-StudioBinder

Casting Websites like Playbill thoroughly vet and update their postings daily.

Of course, you’re probably aware of Playbill and it’s pamphlets, but the company provides so much more to actors.

This casting website is a free resource with daily updates on jobs and acting auditions.

Although the website doesn’t have a submission portal, most of the listings do provide contact information for the production teams.

Plus, Playbill vets their postings thoroughly, so you know that the job you are applying for is legitimate.

Of all the best free casting websites out there, Mandy.com is probably the most known outside the industry. 

Casting Websites-Mandy Website-StudioBinder

Mandy.com provides posts for actors and technicians.

With over 3,500 daily live job postings, the site is a useful resource for casting opportunities.  

The site caters not only to actors and performers, but technicians and those in production services as well.  

Mandy.com also hosts a community forum and noticeboard where actors can ask questions and share tips with one another.

If you’re in the New York City area, NYCastings is a free, worthwhile casting website.

Casting Websites-NYC Website-StudioBinder

Some casting websites like NYCasting offer actor advice columns.

Besides offering the ability to search for jobs, post resumes and casting notices, the site also provides an agency directory, industry news and offers acting classes.

There’s also an advice section where contributors address matters including headshots, actor release forms and breaking down a script.

Registration is free, but to take advantage of some of the sites more in-depth services, you’ll have to become a member at $11.95 a month. 

Be Cautious With Casting Websites

As with many things in the entertainment business, one needs to approach free casting call websites with the same caution they would anything else.

Keep in mind that not all free casting websites have a strong vetting process.

It’s important for actors to be mindful of where and who they are submitting materials to.

Here are some casting website warning signs to watch out for:

Promises of high pay

If you come across a notice that reads, “Earn $500 per day as an extra, no experience required,” chances are the offer is too good to be true.

Promises like these are red flags for casting websites and should be approached with caution.

For example, the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actor's Guild) rate for extras in Los Angeles is $148 per day. And that’s the rate for due-paying members. Non-union jobs often pay much less.

You can find more information about daily acting rates on the SAG-AFTRA website

Promises of stardom

As much as you may not want to hear it, legitimate casting websites do not guarantee fame and fortune.

Now, of course, they want to provide all the helpful resources they can, but also know it’s irresponsible to promise something so uncertain.

Whether they’re free or paid, be aware of this when you’re navigating casting websites.  

Rush casting calls and immediate auditions

Yes, legitimate casting websites and agencies will occasionally cast last minute, but often require an actor to submit a headshot and resume in advance of the actual audition.

Be weary of postings that do not follow this procedure.  

Casting call ads on craigslist

Production companies in major markets use established casting agencies to acquire extras for their shows.

These agencies do not advertise on Craigslist, in classified ads, or through someone handing out fliers on a street corner.

If a posting on Craigslist claims to be representing NBC/UNIVERSAL, for instance, it’s probably not something you should pursue. 

All types, ages and ethnicities wanted

For most roles, a specific look is required.

If a free casting website claims a role would be right for anyone, chances are it’s right for no one.

Make sure that any opportunity you pursue has a clear picture of what you would be auditioning for.

hidden identities

If you see a post that reads, “Wonderful casting company hiring in abandoned, haunted warehouse after 11 pm,” then run away!

Casting Websites-Walking Dead-StudiBinder

Legitimate casting agencies will never hide their identity. The Walking Dead (2017) 

Major market agencies will never hide their identity, or be available in the wee hours of the night. Or hang out in an abandoned warehouse for that matter.

Vague contact information is usually a good test of whether something is a scam or not.

Ultimately, legitimate agencies have legitimate websites.

If you’re uncertain about a casting website, enter their web address into Who Is Hosting This.

By using the service, you’ll be able to see when and by whom the site was created.

If this is a reputable agency, you should have no trouble connecting the people on the website to actual people in the industry.

You can also search for complaints about the company through organizations such as the Better Business Burea

If you’re a SAG-AFTRA member, you can also take advantage of the online casting process. 

Casting Websites-SAG Website-StudioBinder

SAG-AFTRA maintains an enormous database of casting materials. 

SAG-AFTRA provides a service called iActor.

With iActor, SAG-AFTRA makes its approximately 160,000 members available to top casting directors.

It’s no secret that top talent agents and casting directors prefer to use SAG-AFTRA members.

With iActor, industry professionals can easily search through the organization’s immense database of resumes, headshots and other casting media.

iActor tends to be one of the first stops for industry productions, and through SAG-AFTRA membership, individuals gain a significant advantage to non-guild members.  

Because of this, it’s definitely worth your time looking into SAG-AFTRA membership eligibility

Wrapping Up Casting Websites

The convenience of casting websites like Actors Access and Casting Networks has truly revolutionized the way actors and casting directors navigate the production world.

Although there are limitations on some of the free-service memberships offered by these sites, they are excellent starting places to familiarize yourself with the casting process.

Joss Whedon once said, “Casting is storytelling.”

Without casting the story would not exist.

It’s that vital reality that makes casting websites so important to the individual and the arts as a whole.  

But why stop there? Gain insight into the production process by learning how filmakers direct actors.

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