California Cracks Down on Audition Workshops
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - The state of California is clamping down
practice of "pay
to audition" workshops, in which actors pay to be seen.
California Labor Commissioner Arthur Lujan is ready to announce a new
set of guidelines making
workshop operators liable for lawsuits if they're found to be taking unfair advantage of thesps. Lujan
is finalizing an agreement to spell out legal operating guidelines.
He plans to announce as early as this week that workshop operators have
to the rules,
which are in the form of a stipulation for declaratory judgement -- i.e., the regulations are designed
to have the weight of state law.
Lujan had proposed last month that workshop operators sign a consent
decree, but spokeswoman
Susan Gard said the switch was made to give more weight to the potential punishment. "Our
thinking is that the threat of a suit is stronger than a contempt-of-court order," she added. Lujan's
office stunned the industry in February by asserting the "pay to audition" practice was in violation of
state law that bans payment in exchange for applying for employment. The state then issued
cease-and-desist orders to more than a dozen Los Angeles workshop operators.
Workshop operators and casting directors have complained over
contend that the practice is valuable because it enlightens actors about the audition process and
networking. They also issued proposals such as announcing explicitly that the workshops do not
represent a guarantee of employment.
But advocates of strict state enforcement alleged the proposals do not
far enough and would
allow workshops to remain in violation of the law by charging actors for access to casting directors.
Details of the stipulation were not available. But the agreement is
likely to include several key
provisions that were part of last month's proposed consent decree:
= Casting directors attending workshops will be unable to take actors'
and resumes from
= Workshop attendees will be required to sign a disclaimer stating that
are intended as
educational opportunities only.
= Casting directors who choose to attend workshops will be required to
a written curriculum
to be kept on file and be made available to all workshop attendees upon request.
= If cold reading training is included as a part of the workshop,
feedback,critique and performance adjustment must be provided for each actor attending a
workshop by the casting guest.
= Workshop may not include in any advertising the use of testimonials
about the success of
workshops in getting interviews, auditions, callbacks or acting work.