The Best Websites for Finding Acting Work in New York City

Part of being an actor is constantly hunting for more acting work. Thanks to the Internet, this is easier than it’s ever been. Even so, with so many sites out there, many of which duplicate each other’s casting notices, it can be hard to know where to look. Here’s an overview of the top sites you should be checking on a regular basis, with an emphasis towards booking acting work in New York City.

  • Craigslist has the unique benefit of being entirely free. Unfortunately, it is also Craigslist, which means you’ll have to spend a lot of time sorting the wheat from the chaff, at least on the New York City site. Be sure to look both in the “tv / film / video” section and the “gigs talent” section for NYC acting work. The type of acting work I have found here includes a well-paying industrial for a non-profit; both union and non-union background work (in fact, I got one of my waivers through a Craigslist posting), non-paying independent film work and low-paying stage work. Many acting postings here are for student films at one of the many New York City film programs (including Columbia, NYU and NYFA), and there are a lot of good opportunities for building your acting resume. Unfortunately there are also dozens of posts that are irrelevant, scams (never, ever pay to go on an acting audition), or picture collectors. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful and use common sense. And be sure to check the site frequently, as it’s updated constantly.
  • Playbill.com has a job board with a strong New York City focus that list acting auditions as well as crew and production positions. This is an excellent source of legitimate casting notices and should be checked daily. Tuesdays see the most posts. Most posts are theatre related, but occassionally some film work will pop up. Both union and non-union work appears here, and I’ve yet to stumble across any work on the site that was not absolutely legitimate. Playbill.com is also free to use. While most of their acting audition notices are for auditions taking place in New York, other locations are represented as well. In addition, while many acting auditions may be in New York City, the work is often elsewhere, so be sure to read the postings carefully.
  • Backstage.com is the actor’s audition bible, especially if you are located in New York City or Los Angeles. While you can buy Backstage on the newsstand, if you subscribe to the site ($10.95/month) instead, you will see casting notices earlier than print subscribers and be able to respond more quickly. For New York City, most of Backstage’s audition notices tend to be theatre related, although a decent amount of student and independent film is also represented, and open calls for background work are almost always listed. Backstage.com should be checked every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the site has an excellent search function to help you find the acting auditions that are relevant to you. Backstage.com also allows actors to store a headshot and resume online for easy submission and for casting directors to search, although I do not find I get many auditions offers through backstage without my first making a submission.
  • Mandy.com is a great source of film work in New York City, although most of it is low- or no-pay and much of it is student film related. The site does, however, have a search function that will allow you to filter acting jobs based on the compensation. The search function also allows you to filter by location (all over the world, although most postings are for New York or Los Angeles), gender and age. Unfortunately, Mandy.com doesn’t allow you to filter by union status. For non-union actors, this is fine, as most of their work is non-union, but for union actors it can be annoying. Mandy.com is free to use.
  • Casting Networks (also known as NYCasting.com or LACasting.com) is new to the New York City area, and is a fantastic resource that should be checked daily. At present membership is free for represented talent and union actors. I’m not sure what the current fees are for non-union actors, as this has changed often since their launch in NYC, but I know it’s reasonable (under $40/year I think). This site allows actors to store a headshot and easily updated resume online and submit themselves directly for acting jobs posted on the site. They also do regular submissions to agents for unrepresented actors, and casting directors can and do search the site at any time looking for actors. I book a great deal of paying work through this site, and highly recommend it. Unlike many online sites though, you must go to their office in the flatiron district to register. Actors who belong to this site should check it daily.
  • NYCastings.com is often confused with Casting Networks, because of the one letter difference in the URL for New York. These are seperate sites. NYCastings.com is also a site that requires a fee, $10.95 per month, although there is a discount if you choose to pay quarterly or annually instead. Many of the castings on this site can be found on other sites, so if you’re diligent, you may not need to be a member of this site. I do, however, see auditions for television that I don’t see elsewhere on NYCastings. They have good film and student film areas, and a decent, but weak compared to other offerings, theatre section. What NYCastings.com has that other sites don’t is a great section for model calls – both high fashion and commercial print. Like other pay sites, NYCastings allows you to store your headshot and resume online. It also allows you to upload audio, video (NYCasting.com allows this too, but for an additional fee), and secondary, supporting photos.

To stay competative, actors should be sure to promote themselves online. This includes looking for audition notices and responding to them, as well as developing their own website, or at least keeping their profiles on some of the above mentioned sites up to date.

Good luck!

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