|The State's Letter to the president of the C a s t i n g S o c i e t y o f A m e r i c a - May 24, 2002|
On May 24, 2002, Thomas Kerrigan, regional attorney for the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, sent a letter to Gary Zuckerbrod, president of the CSA. He said:
"As you are aware, there currently exist a number of single session workshops where a group of veteran and/or aspiring actors pay a fee, submit head shots and resumes, and perform cold readings of sides for an invited casting director or his assistant representing a producer with current casting needs for film and/or television. As the agency authorized to interpret and enforce this statute, it is our position that these workshops are presumptively in violation of the provisions of section 450 of the Labor Code. This is so even where the casting director or assistant gives some incidental direction or suggestions to some or all of the participants during the course of the session."
He goes on to say:
"Our continuing investigation in this matter has revealed a scurrying around by certain of the workshop operators, apparently for the purpose of simulating the appearance of an educational enterprise. We anticipated in the beginning that there might be such attempts after the issuance of the opinion of Anne Stevason, Acting Chief Counsel for the Labor Commissioner, in January of this year, including but not limited to redefining web sites and promotional literature, adding ostensible teaching staff, and hurriedly adopting a syllabus or lesson plan. These enterprises will also be scrutinized carefully, particularly where the operators have violated the law in the past."
In his letter, Mr. Kerrigan also suggests that CSA members should be made aware of the manner in which they are being advertised by the workshops, and urges the CSA to develop specific teaching guidelines for its members who choose to teach. The CSA teaching guidelines were removed from the bylaws several years ago in the name of "free trade", and at present there are no guidelines in the bylaws with regards to qualifications or credentials of CSA members who choose to teach.
"We have always believed that the best way to address the abuses of the past is by discussion and negotiation, rather than through the courts. As I mentioned in our conversation, the CSA could make a significant contribution to the resolution of this problem by devising specific guidelines whereby especially qualified and credentialed members of the organization would be certified to teach under controlled circumstances. This office looks forward to working closely with your organization in the future to address and clarify this and other areas of concern that may arise."
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