Bitching Post

It's ok to get it off your chest.

  • Holding Auditions when Role is Cast or Going to be Cast with a Name (aka Vanessa Hudgens in Gigi) 11/20/2014  1:44pm

    I want to preface this post by stating that is is not anti- Vanessa Hudgens,nor is it anti-Gigi. I love the show dearly, and can even understand the producer's inclination to cast a huge TV and movie name (though Gigi is a good enough show that it neither requires a huge name to get butts in seats, nor actually benefits artistically from the distraction of a huge name). Maybe Vanessa Hudgens will be fabulous (and I hope she is - because the role deserves a heartfelt, passionate, and nuanced performer).

    The reason I'm upset is because of the EPAs held for a role that actually doesn't exist... thereby wasting the time, energy, and hope of hardworking stagefolk who never actually had a fair shot anyway. If a role is going to be cast with a huge name, that's OK - but do performers the courtesy of having a call SPECIFICALLY for understudies and replacements.

    I know they have to list a role as "open" until it's officially filled, but can equity please figure out a way to make the listings more honest, specific, and honestly more equitable?


    It's not just big Broadway shows that are guilty of this, the summer stock theatre I worked at this summer (which was an SPT 2) did one worse, they listed some shows as cast and some roles as open, so I thought I would be taken more seriously, only to get there and learn that those roles had all been cast all along as well. It's situTions like these that make me question why I go to EPAs. I openly admit I don't know how, but something has to change!

    NoDirection 11/20/2014  1:53pm

    I completely understand the frustration because it sucks when you're right for something and you know they'll cast a name or when you show up and see that all roles are cast.

    But I'm going to play devil's advocate. It's still an opportunity to audition for people who might call you back in the future and it's with no pressure! You have absolutely nothing to lose. It's a free meet and greet. You never know what can happen, especially when it's for a larger casting office.

    Brady's Mom 11/20/2014  2:03pm

    Picture a world where a theatre or producer says, "Hey Equity, we would rather not hold EPAs for this show because we already know we are going to make offers to twelve people we have worked with before." And then Equity says, "Yeah, that's fine. Thanks for letting us know. You don't have to hold any auditions."

    This is how it used to be. EPAs are a hard-earned right for us. Of course they are not always looking to cast from them, but they are the only way to provide guaranteed access.

    EPAs cost the producers money and time, so there is an incentive for producers to NOT hold them unless an offer is actually already out and accepted.

    Do we want them to tell us if they are PLANNING to make an offer to certain actors (and thus have little interest in the EPA)? Well, that would be nice but it gets into areas of private negotiations and business practices. PLANNING to make offers is a little intangible, but "offer out and accepted so you don't have to hold an EPA" is something real and verifiable.

    We don't have to reinvent the wheel. In the 90s, there was so much less access to casting directors and producers. We are living in boon times when it comes to auditions, and many many actors fought for this access.


    Snarky 11/20/2014  2:08pm

    I agree with you in regards to important casting directors aNd Broadway producers, but for my personal experience with the small theatre, as it turned out to be a horrible experience and had I know that role wasn't open I would never have auditioned.

    NoDirection 11/20/2014  9:49pm

    I have worked for Eric Schaeffer before, and I promise you, he wouldn't have them list the role on the EPA if he didn't need an understudy. Yes, it is already confirmed that Vanessa is doing it, but she has no cover right now.

    womanship 11/22/2014  9:16am

    She absolutely does have a cover, cast from agent appointments.

    J-- 11/23/2014  3:17pm

    It may also come down to Equity themselves. If you want to waive an EPA you have to go through them. The union may be requiring them to hold the auditions.

    nomansland 11/23/2014  3:24pm

    I'm sorry if I was mistaken, J. I heard that the cover wasn't transferring and some swings were moving up, but that may have changed.

    womanship 11/23/2014  7:01pm
  • NAB--classes-- 11/23/2014  2:17pm

    Hey bitchers,

    I'm looking for a great acting intensive/course that is good for musical theatre actors. I'm typically a musical comedy performer, but I want to get more out of my career than laughs and the occasional prat fall. So I'm looking for something to help me focus on the real moments between the songs. Am I making sense?

    Sue D'Onimm

    I found RSO and Lindsay Mendez's class Actor Therapy extremely useful! Completely regutted my rep book. A lot of guests come in to help you - broadway actors, CDs, agents. Each student got 15 minutes to work on material, whether that means singing through 32 bar cuts to see which one fits best for your voice, or to work acting beats or talk about a song or work each phrase. It's a bit expensive, but I found it very worth it. Definitely the best class I've taken since I got out of college a year and a half ago.

    jaylady 11/23/2014  3:19pm

    If you already have some songs in mind, the Access Musical Theatre class that Arnold Mungioli does is great for working on the acting of a song. He really helps find the strongest choices and intention. Thurs nights, $5

    bwaybound 11/23/2014  5:23pm
  • StrawHats 11/22/2014  7:50pm

    Just wondering what the opinion is with StrawHats. Good or bad experiences, booked anything from it, etc? I'm thinking of applying, but I wanted to get the lowdown first. Thanks!


    I think it's a scam. Paying nearly $100 to audition for 2 minutes is not right, even if it is for a lot of theaters at once. I thought they were rushed and disorganized.

    I did it a few years ago. Lots of super eager kids still in school. Most places needed people who could dance, so if that's not your strong suit, I especially wouldn't do it.

    Many of those theaters have their own separate calls. I think it's better to pick a few to go after rather than spend a crazy amount of money to hit them all at once.

    LangdonAlger 11/23/2014  10:39am

    umm its definitely not a scam. you pay in order to audition for 40 theatres at once rather than seek out their individual calls (not all of them have them.) That said, it's really designed for people still in school or just out as most of the jobs offered are VERY entry level.

    dopplegang 11/23/2014  11:02am

    Strawhats are great if you are young collegiate actor or beginning actor looking for your first professional gig.*
    But if you are a regularly auditioning actor, I think they are a waste of time.

    *By "professional gig" I only mean that some form of currency will be exchanged for some for m of performance. The level and quality of jobs hear can vary a LOT.

    AuditionUpdate 11/23/2014  11:05am

    I actually think it's kind of a scam too. I attended while in college and was very surprised by how few companies were in attendance (maybe twenty) vs. how many actors were actually auditioning (literally hundreds--I don't remember the exact number but it might have even been close to one thousand).
    I actually stopped by again this year (almost six years later) to visit a friend that was auditioning and was shocked by how little had changed. There were even fewer companies in attendance than had been when I was a participant and the woman in charge still seemed as uncaring as ever. I had much more success in college with Midwest Theatre Auditions in St. Louis. I've also even have heard that NETCs is better (although I think they get pretty much the same pool of companies as Strawhats). And, of course, UPTA is better than all of these auditions combined. I get why a young actor, still in college would want to attend Strawhats and I probably wouldn't discourage them as it is an important thing to experience. Particularly as it gives you a sneak preview of how competitive this profession is. But, in the end, I feel like Strawhats doesn't really care about actors. They just want the check and could care less if you book jobs, or even have a decent audition day experience. And, if you are an NYC actor who is out it school, just hit up the individual calls for companies that you are interested in. They are probably looking more closely at those auditions anyway. That is why I so highly recommend UPTA to any non-union actor. That audition just understands the needs of professional actors so much more clearly and fully.

    makesomeonehappy 11/23/2014  11:24am

    dopplegang is exactly correct.

    we need to be careful with the use of the term "scam". Strawhat does not "scam" actors. You get what you paid for, which is the opportunity to audition on one day for multiple theaters. That's it.

    Now, as to whether its worth to attend Strawhat or any of these large unifieds, this is a very personal decision. All of these unifieds are, as dopplegang suggested, for very entry level jobs. A lot of theme park work, a lot of straight non union summer stock work for low pay. You're going to encounter lots of college students or recent grads at any of them. Yes, a lot of these theaters are looking to fill their ensembles from these types of calls, so of course they're going to need you to dance well.

    Going to all of these theaters' individual calls is stressful, time consuming, frustrating, and potentially not possible. I'm not trying to sign up for an open call every single day of the week if I can just kill all the birds with one stone. Also, there are a lot of theaters that make offers from unifieds before they get to their individual calls. There are even some theaters who will ONLY hire their non union from strawhat or the like. It's absolutely true that if you go on a later day at any of these unifieds, theaters often have found what they need or at least enough passable people, and leave. At this point in the game, its very possible that all early slots are taken.

    I think if you're not so sure if its worth it, then it probably isn't really worth it. All the unifieds are long days, expensive (upta isn't downtown, flights are expensive) and for a specific type of work. But you also will get seen by theaters that don't come to NYC or have open calls. So, its up to you.

    BerniePeters 11/23/2014  12:43pm

    Though the idea of strawhat is fabulous, I personally was not a fan. You run around ALL DAY long trying to make time slots for callbacks and it just seems like there's a better way to do it. I found it a bit unorganized and way too many hours for no leads at all. Especially because most of these theatres are also holding open calls on their own....

    NYtheatre 11/23/2014  2:30pm
  • NAB: Actors with thinning hair... 11/23/2014  12:59am

    So, Im a pretty young guy, early 20s, and I can just see my hair is starting to thin and go.

    What have my fellow men done about this problem? Let it go? Hairpieces?

    My only issue is that I really fit the "young guy" mold...except for the hair. Any and all advice welcome.


    I would go talk to a dermatologist if it concerns you. The sooner you act the better your result can be from things like Rogaine and Propecia.

    AuditionUpdate 11/23/2014  11:08am

    While you wait to see if those products work for you, there are other temporary solutions. You see them used ALL THE TIME on actors on TV, Film and Stage who still have hair but the spotlights pick up the sheen of the scalp through the thinning hair. Checkout Toppik for men, or as we call it, Matt Lauer's saving grace.

    Jean Francois Champollion 11/23/2014  11:35am

    I like Lipogaine. It's like a sort of Rogaine. Seems to be working. I support Kiehl's thickening shampoo. Won't do noticeable wonders, but makes my hair feel thicker. I also like KeraFiber. It's like Toppik, I just prefer it. I'm all about being natural so I take Biotin as well to help strengthen my hair. Doing all this I've seen noticeable growth and whatnot.

    AudraLupone 11/23/2014  1:36pm
  • AEA member moonlighting at a non eq theatre 11/22/2014  1:12pm

    so i hear people do this all the time. They say that unless you're pretty high up in industry status, AEA doesn't care enough to bother with looking into you if you're breaking the rule. What if you book a role at a non eq theatre that you want to invite agents to? Is that just a bad idea if youre AEA? just do the role and forget it?...asking for a friend btw haha


    *Walks away and pretends she didn't see this.*

    redredrose 11/22/2014  1:33pm

    I consistently see a leading man type post his scabbing on Facebook, auditions AND productions. Nothing happens. It makes him a terrible person stabbing his fellow actors in the back but nothing happens.

    Jean Francois Champollion 11/22/2014  1:36pm

    AEA taking non union work is wrong. Just don't fucking do it.

    random8 11/22/2014  1:39pm

    I'm with Rose.

    thejollyraja 11/22/2014  1:40pm

    If someone sees your "friend," they could decide to report them to Equity, and there will be a disciplinary hearing....which could range from a "don't do it again" slap on the wrist, to expulsion from the union, depending on the circumstances and money involved.

    FDNYactor 11/22/2014  1:57pm

    Yeah, I have to agree with everyone else here. Don't do the show at all. And DEFINITELY don't invite agents to it. That's just asking for trouble. Sure…nothing might happen. But I also would not want to take that chance. It could completely ruin your career. It's also like slapping the entire union in the face. Not cool.

    Musikally 11/22/2014  3:08pm

    I don't have anything kind to say about this. It's wrong, and your "friend" knows it.

    Mercutio 11/22/2014  3:40pm

    From Backstage:

    "When a situation is brought to the attention of Equity," explains Equity spokeswoman Maria Somma, "a business rep is assigned to investigate." If it's demonstrated that there's merit to the accusation, she continues, "a letter is sent to the member for response. The business rep will determine, based on all the findings, whether or not to go to charges. The case is brought before a Charges Committee, and that committee examines all the evidence, including any and all material submitted by the member. It is at the discretion of the committee as to what action to take, from taking no action to fines and/or expulsion. In some instances, after the business rep's initial research, a censure letter will be sent to the member rather than go to charges."

    So it seems pretty easy to report an actor to the union for scabbing. Care to post any names on here? I'll send them on over to the union. Scabs suck.

    Snarky 11/22/2014  4:17pm

    wait, you wanna invite industry to a non-AEA show when you're an AEA member??! Whaa? That is such a terrible terrible idea. Especially if your first introduction to an agent, casting, industry, etc. is on the basis of being totally shady.

    dopplegang 11/22/2014  5:55pm

    given the OP's moniker -- noneq4eva -- I'm assuming they could give two sh**ts about the integrity or solidarity the professional union

    dopplegang 11/22/2014  5:56pm

    Thanks for everyone's response. You can make passive quotation marks all you want , but it really for a friend. Just helpin a girl out while I can seeking helpful advice from " helpful" actors. But really, thanks for the response :-)

    noneq4eva 11/23/2014  12:06am

    At the end of the day, it is like cheating on a significant other.

    Your friend made a commitment and then wants to go behind the back of that commitment just to have their cake and eat it too. This makes them a shitty person if they do it. End of of story.

    Also, if I had a "friend" who was openly scabbing on Facebook, I would respond in the same manner as if they were flaunting the fact that they were cheating on their SA on Facebook. That response would be, "stop or fuck off."

    AuditionUpdate 11/23/2014  11:15am

    ^ this. And as far as inviting agents, that would be like posting a picture on Instagram of the hotel you and your side-girl are banging in.

    thejollyraja 11/23/2014  11:50am
  • negotiating pay 11/19/2014  8:33pm

    hi all! does anyone have advice or guidelines on negotiating your own contract. i know you cant get something you dont ask for, but i dont want to be out of line by asking the wrong way. thanks so much!


    Melissa Robinette coaches on this. Her username here is gypsy5758. If you do a search on her name you will find her website/blog.

    operacrossover 11/19/2014  9:32pm

    Melissa Robinette is amazing! Get on her waiting list. Her course (which I am currently enrolled in) may be the best thing I have done for my career.

    Mercutio 11/19/2014  9:36pm

    I tell my students to always ask for more money. We usually budget in room to negotiate salary. That goes for Equity and Non-Eq.

    I have never been offended by a request. Remember, if we offer you a role, you are the person that we want.

    In the end we both have to feel good about the contract, so I would rather you ask up front.

    LaughingArtisticDirector 11/20/2014  8:50am

    thanks guys! that looks amazing. I can't wait to get into that class. In the meantime its just stressful knowing whats a random thing included in all contracts and whats actually a problem.

    iamplayingme 11/21/2014  4:08pm

    What are u specifically referring to

    dopplegang 11/21/2014  6:14pm

    As in every business (and please remember that we are in the business of selling art, but it is still a business), there are always to objectives. Side A wants to acquire the services it needs for the most inexpesinve pay possible so that they can make the most profit. Side B wants to sell their skill set or goods for the highest price possible to make the most profit. Neither side should expect their first offer or quote to be met (if it is, great, but not expected).

    You should never accept your first salary offer on any job without negotiating first, whether you are being offered an job as an actor or an accountant, unless it is ridiculously good. This is business 101. You may find out that they have no wiggle room and won't budge on the pay, but you can then make an informed decision from there as to whether the job is worth the money.

    Remember = Always Business First. Be precious with your art after the ink is on the contract.

    AuditionUpdate 11/23/2014  11:26am
  • NAB: Accompanist needed tomorrow 11/21/2014  7:12pm

    Hello all! Does anyone know a really good accompanist at a not crazy rate who is available last minute? I need someone for literally half an hour or less tomorrow. I can grab a room at RG or something.

    Just need to do a video submission, please let me know :)


    Try David John Madore.

    Dunno if he's available, but if he is, he's great!

    FairyPerdita 11/21/2014  10:11pm

    I'm available at 530 if you are still in need. Feel free to get my info from tom.

    MotherMonsterApproved 11/23/2014  12:39am

    yo mother, why don't you create a non-anon alternate screenname so you don't need to rely on poor tom to be your personal assistant. lol

    fuzzletwit 11/23/2014  11:05am
  • NAB-temp agencys 11/22/2014  8:31pm

    I know a few here have said they work with Clarity and Beacon Hill. I know it's a tad unanswerable but how often do you find they send you out? Enough to not continue with a more 'steady' day job?



    thejollyraja 11/22/2014  9:59pm

    this all depends on a number of factors, including how skilled you are at exec assistant roles, what's available in the market at the moment, etc. If you are interested in long term assignments (1 month or longer), it's definitely possible to be a day job replacement if you are good. If you are looking for just a day here and day there, that might be harder to string together as opposed to committing to a longer term assignment

    dopplegang 11/23/2014  1:21am

    Haha thanks jollyraja, my brain was already having a hard time with grammar ;P

    I don't mind taking either short term or long term, I used to be a part of an agency back home, but only heard from them once in the three months I was part of it, but it's a relatively small town, but I figured here in NYC there's probably always something to be had, since it's, well... NYC. Any other temp agency advice would be greatly appreciated :)

    showbizdreamer 11/23/2014  10:02am

    the other advice i would have is to really hound them with your availability on a weekly basis. Keep reminding them you exist and want to work. And make sure your resume is in good shape and highlights your best office and computer experience

    dopplegang 11/23/2014  11:03am
  • Special Audition Update 30% Discount for The Actor Gauntlet 11/21/2014  12:26pm

    I sent out an email just to registered AU users yesterday for our upcoming event in December…THE ACTOR GAUNTLET.

    I decided to offer a special price only available to AU users, but it ends this Sunday, 11/23 at midnight.

    Use promo code UPDATE to get 30% off the ticket price, which means you get four classes in one day for only $157.50! (and yes, if you bought a ticket from yesterday’s email, I am adjusting your ticket price)

    Here are the details of the event:


    On Saturday December 13th, we are offering a full day of workshops and classes with some of the busiest professionals in the industry. 48 actors, four different workshops, one amazing day.

    The day is broken into four separate two-hour time slots, and actors will work in groups of no more than 12 to receive individual attention from our instructors.

    Here are the classes you will get:

    ON-CAMERA INTENSIVE WITH CD SIG DE MIGUEL OF S2 CASTING - Sides will be assigned to you by Sig and workshopped in class. Footage will be uploaded to your account for your review.

    THEATRE SCENE INTENSIVE WITH KATE BOKA OF ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY - Sides will be assigned by Kate and workshopped in class.

    THE BUSINESS OF ACTING WITH HAROLD LEWTER OF CYD LEVIN & ASSOC - Learn the ins and outs of the business every working actor should know.

    THEATRE AUDITION INTENSIVE WITH JOY DEWING OF JOY DEWING CASTING - Bring in a monologue or 32-bar cut to me workshopped by Joy.

    To sign up, go to:



    AuditionUpdate 11/23/2014  11:01am
  • NAB: showgirl tipping 11/23/2014  9:51am

    What does it mean to "showgirl tip"...this was written in a dance call an idk what it means...