Open to Everyone
The purpose of an online acting database is to provide information about actors to casting directors and producers. However, lots of acting databases allow anyone to join and post information on the website. One search query brings up a list that includes random citizens who are hoping to be cast in the next action movie or McDonalds commercial. They post pictures of themselves that were taken from consumer still cameras. Some of these pictures include old prom photos or photos of someone sitting on a couch. This is not only unprofessional. It decreases the reliability of the acting database.
If filmmakers want to cast regular people, they will go outside and select someone off of the street. Online acting databases need to monitor the information that is being posted on their websites. The bad thing is that they do not monitor them because they don’t care about who uploads information. The majority of the time, they are making money off of the members or getting advertising revenue. That is an issue that will be addressed later on. The fact that they allow anyone to post makes it hard to find quality talent when using an online acting database.
Models Listed as Actors
Listing models as actors is a very annoying aspect of online acting databases. Models are not actors. Models are paid to market merchandise. Actors are paid to bring a story to life. There is a significant difference in the skills of an actor and those of a model. Many online acting databases allow members to put themselves in multiple categories when they join. This causes a huge problem when searching for someone to star in an upcoming film. Online databases should only allow members to select one profession. That will minimize the ongoing confusion and time spent looking for actors.
I am sure that there are models who want to break into acting. There is nothing wrong with that. The problem arises when search results come back with models that have their comp cards posted and no acting resume. Models who want to land acting roles should have two separate portfolios. Having one profile that doubles for both modeling and acting purposes is not helpful at all. It is unprofessional at best. A film or television casting director cannot measure your acting skills based on the photos from your latest shoot for Vogue magazine.
Models listed in search results
Online acting databases produce search results that last for days. This would not be an issue if the results included nothing but actors. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Online databases include models in their search results. Messy search results cause much confusion and more work for casting directors and producers. Online acting databases market themselves and easy, one-stop shops for finding actors. Including models in the search results make it difficult to locate actors easily and quickly. Online acting databases should have search results that reflect a specific section of the website, for both models and actors.
Some online acting databases require fees to join and search. Depending on the services offered, there is no problem with charging a small fee to list an acting portfolio on the website. However, there are online acting databases that charge around $40 and up to be included in the database. It is ridiculous to charge actors high fees to list on a database when there is money to be made in advertising. Online databases can charge outside companies to advertise their products or services on the website. The heartbreaking thing is that many of these websites do this in addition to charging fees to join.
There are also online acting databases that charge fees to view online portfolios. That is an astronomical irritation for independent filmmakers. No filmmaker in his or her right mind would pay $39.99 for the ability to search for actors. Online acting databases are not a means to an end. They are simply used an additional method of finding actors. Filmmakers are not going to pay for information that can be found for free, anywhere in the universe. Actors can be found in a variety of ways. By charging fees, online acting databases are doing nothing other than placing themselves at the bottom of the list when it comes to casting actors.
Many online acting databases are nothing but a rip off. They are run by scam artists looking to make money off of anyone who is vulnerable enough to send them money to be listed with a group of other acting hopefuls. Actors can bypass online acting databases and market themselves in other ways. Many things can be done to generate more exposure to casting directors. Actors can join Yahoo acting groups to be kept up to date on casting opportunities. They can also make their own website, which they can control themselves. There are tons of companies that offer hosting and easy to use templates for a small charge. Actors can also create a web presence on Myspace or another social networking website. Websites like Myspace offer a chance to post an online portfolio for free.