Over the last twenty-five years, the filmmaking process has been rocked by wave after wave of technological disruption. From digital cameras to the rise of CGI, the rate of change within the entertainment industry has never been faster.
Perhaps one of the best contributions to the production process has been the casting of websites. Further driving the digital film industry, casting sites help productions connect with exactly the talent they’re looking for, and vice versa.
In this post, we break down the top 8 casting websites that working actors turn to again and again.
what are casting websites?
In the old days of the mid-90s, actors working without representation had to go to great lengths to get an audition. they would search the trades and bang on the doors of foundry offices, just for the chance to get into a room with the professionals who can hire them for a role or blacklist them.
Now, the first phases of the casting process are experienced mainly on the internet. In addition to working directly with talent representatives, casting agencies will frequently seek out new talent through the many services offered by the major casting websites.
1. behind the scenes
Behind the scenes he is the current heavyweight champion of the best casting websites.
Established in 1960 as a magazine for actors in New York, Backstage originally published casting calls and industry news. Over time, the company and its reach expanded, until it finally took the leap online in the late ’90s, where it quickly evolved into the Ivan Drago of audition websites.
Regardless of whether you’re an actor, a casting director, or a representative of one of the many casting agencies, your primary goal when using a casting website should be to connect with as many talented people as possible. a casting director wants to see and an actor wants to be seen.
From any perspective, this is where backstage shines. The site boasts a database of over a million members, posts thousands of new roles every week and draws on nearly 60 years of industry experience, serving many of the biggest names in film, television production and theater.
That said, if you’re trying to figure out how to find free casting calls, casting websites like backstage may not be ideal. To apply directly backstage, you will need to be a member. membership plans range from $9.99 to $19.95 per month, depending on whether you’re willing to commit to an annual, semi-annual, or monthly plan.
In other words, although you can find free castings backstage, the service through which you access them is not. As we’ll see throughout this list, this type of fee structure is common among the best casting websites.
but even with the fee structure, when you consider its raw numbers, storied reputation, and versatile capabilities, backstage is an undeniably formidable force among its peers.
paid casting sites vs free casting sites
Whenever an actor comes across a fee structure for professional services, it’s natural to have questions: Is a subscription worth paying for?
The short answer is yes, but it’s also important to understand that, as with any of the sites on this list, your personal mileage may vary. There is no such thing as a magic wand when it comes to submitting websites.
2. actor access
actors access is a casting website that connects actors and casting agencies alike.
Technically part of a family of companies operating under the umbrella of Breakdown Services, Ltd., the actors agree to work hand-in-hand with one of their sister companies, Breakdown Express, to create a seamless flow between productions. and the talent to look for.
So, the fundamental actor access service is to give them access to casting breakdowns, as generated by casting agencies or casting directors through express breakdowns. A casting breakdown is a list of roles available for a project along with a brief description of the physical traits required for each of those roles.
What most obviously sets actor access apart from other audition websites like backstage is that its basic services, like viewing the breakdowns and maintaining a profile, are free. however, there is a major catch.
With the free plan, the actor will be charged a fee of $2.00 each time they wish to appear for a casting call. the only alternative to this is that actors access the annual plan, priced at $68.00 per year, which grants access to unlimited casting call submissions along with a host of other benefits.
actors access is a great source of information for working actors and has a great reputation in the production community, but then again, if you’re looking for free casting calls, this may not be the one. place for you. However, Actors Access is without a doubt one of the best casting websites out there. Any actor looking for work should take advantage of her reputation and keep at least one free profile within her database.
the “breakdown” in “breakdown services”
If the names haven’t already given you a clue, the breakdown service family of companies is primarily focused on the concept of “breakdown”.
In the field of film production, a breakdown is a document that breaks down the physical needs of a script. they are organizational in nature and almost every department creates some version during pre-production. the props department, for example, will generate a breakdown of every prop needed for every scene within a given script.
3. casting nets
Compared to websites like backstage and actor access, casting networks are relatively new to the game. the company was founded in 2002 with the goal of creating software to streamline the often inefficient process of casting film and television projects.
Today, that original goal has evolved into a family of software solutions that together provide comprehensive services for casting agencies and talent representatives.
casting networks is one of the best casting websites available right now, but it’s important to note that it was designed to primarily cater to casting directors and the companies that employ them. for actors, it offers no services beyond what you would find on audition websites like backstage or actor access.
however, that might not be so bad. it could even be a great advantage.
The tools and services that Casting Networks offers casting professionals are so robust and efficient that in 2017, Fox severed a nearly 46-year relationship with Breakdown Services to move all of its casting needs to Casting Networks. . it was a major outage at the time and may herald even more outages.
The new kid on the block clearly has the eye of some big players in the Hollywood ecosystem, and that alone is reason enough for a working actor to take an interest.
If you have an agent, setting up an account with Casting Networks is completely free, which makes it a no-brainer. however, if you have not yet obtained representation, you will need to pay at least $25.00 per year for a basic membership, plus additional fees if you wish to take advantage of their premium services. if you have the budget, network streaming is worth a try.
playbill is easily the most recognized company featured on this list of casting sites. If you’ve been to the theatre, you’ve probably flipped through one of its iconic yellow production publications.
but playbill is much more than a little book. is the world’s leading source for theater news and an invaluable resource for working actors and theater professionals.
playbill updates its job board daily, making it one of the most up-to-date audition websites available for actors. If you find free casting calls on Playbill, rest assured that they are legitimate, as Playbill staff thoroughly vet their listings.
playbill also touts the great advantage of being totally free. you can browse at your leisure at no cost. the only downside is that playbill doesn’t offer an introduction portal, which means you’ll have to take the contact information from their listings and do the legwork of applying for a position on your own.
It’s a small inconvenience, but an even lower price to pay for the playbill’s combination of low-tier price and high-tier reputation.
5. cast border
Like casting networks, Casting Frontier is a young company that began offering industry professionals a streamlined approach to the casting process. Unlike casting networks, Casting Frontier offers actors some access to their submission process for free under their basic plan.
casting frontier’s premium and premium plus plans can be purchased at an annual cost of $75.99 and $95.99, respectively. The perks offered by the plans allow you to upload additional headshots, voice reels, and other media files with the added benefit of unlocking unlimited direct sends to projects.
Any actor with no current representation should consider exploring the frontier of casting with a free account. If you find that it’s a good fit for your particular needs, upgrading to one of the premium plans might be the way to go.
6. now streaming
While not as well known as some of the other best casting websites on this list, Now Casting is another place to go for reputable acting job openings.
If you live or are willing to work outside of Los Angeles, you’ll be glad to know that the casting is now offering free shipping to all non-L.A.’s. auditions.
However, if you wish to access casting notices for projects within Los Angeles, you will need to purchase one of Now Casting’s membership services. the cheapest of their plans that allows access to angel notices is currently priced at $11.00 per month.
nycastings is primarily a resource for (you guessed it) casting projects in and around new york city. Registration on the site is free, and if you reside in or can easily travel to NYC, you should pay attention to their casting table.
However, as you can probably already guess, you’ll need to pay a fee to gain access to some of nycastings’ most robust submission and submission features, most notably “24/7 access to casting notices.” .”
While Nycastings includes broadcast listings from cities across the United States, the monthly, quarterly, or annual fee can be a tough sell for the Angelenos among us. however, for New Yorkers, nycastings might be a casting website worth considering.
It may seem strange to list imdbpro along with the best casting websites in the business, but in a way, its uniqueness is exactly what makes it attractive.
Not the first place you think of, but imdbpro does, in fact, maintain an active casting notice board, and imdbpro’s submission system allows actors to respond to these notices by forwarding their actual imdb page. this allows for a level of interactivity rarely seen with standard resumes and headshots on other casting websites.
but the presentation system is really a sideshow here. imdbpro offers the industry’s most robust presentation of information currently available. Having the ability to research a given project before sending you to any of the audition websites listed is an invaluable tool.
Of course, accessing imdbpro requires a subscription. you can currently purchase a monthly plan at $19.99 per month or an annual plan that charges $12.50 per month for a total price of $149.99 per year.
imdbpro is not likely to replace the giants like backstage or actor access, with its decades-long reputation as the best casting websites, but its unique features make it a complementary tool capable of enhancing your experience with any of the above.
The best casting websites offer vital services for both actors and those who want to hire them. From any perspective, these sites streamline the casting process in a way that was unimaginable just a few decades ago. experiment, find what services work for you, and use them to your full advantage.
If you’re interested in other tools to help you in your filmmaking process, read about the best filmmaking tools and software.
Now, go get that audition!
*While casting websites do most of the heavy lifting, it goes without saying that you should always peruse every casting listing online. if some “free casting call” asks for your social security number, you should probably report the post and steer far, far away from it.