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Posted: 4:49 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013

Casting call scam alert! 

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By Jennifer Brett

Georgia's ever-growing filming industry has brought all sorts of economic opportunity, but I fear it's also giving scamsters all sorts of ideas, too.

A few times now I've seen what I am almost positive are bogus casting calls, so I want to sound the alert before anyone gets taken.

Legit casting calls will give you some basic information about what project is filming - casting folks often are not allowed to explicitly state the name of the project - and they'll tell you exactly what they're looking for. Guys who look like they could be cops; ladies with elegant ball gowns; kids who know how to play baseball. That sort of thing.

Legit casting calls ask you to submit a few photos of yourself along with your contact information and sizes. The casting folks then choose the best fits (or the director does) and they'll get back to you if you're selected with details on what time to show up, etc. They're also pretty upfront with how much money you can expect to make. You're not going to get rich working as a stand-in or extra, but it can be a neat way to make a few bucks. Also, what's really key is you need to be prepared to stand around and be ready to wait, wait, wait - then spring into action. 

Lately I'm seeing solicitations boasting about how "easy" it is to work as an extra, how there's "no experience required" and how you can earn $300 per date. While casting folks aren't necessarily looking for tons of acting experience they often will want someone who can authentically fit a part. They'll want extras in resturant scenes who have actually worked as waiters, or maybe extras for a military scene who have military or police experience. Sometimes they'll want musicians who actually can play music.

The biggest red flag I've seen with these suspect come-ons is this notion that you'll get to meet celebrities if you work as an extra. In a word, no. Well, make that maybe. Sometimes the princicpal actors in a major motion picture do enjoy meeting folks on the set. (Clint Eastwood, for example. He was known to chat up the crew when his movie "Trouble With the Curve" was filming here.) More often, celebrities come out for their scenes and then go back into their trailers. Anyone who's worked on a movie set for 2 seconds will tell you that you should not plan on becoming BFFs with the major talent.

Finally, something that troubles me is when casting folks want you to call an 800 number to apply for work as an extras gig. The most important thing in casting potential extras is looking at them, not talking to them. I fear that luring you to call their 800 number is a way to charge your phone somehow, or talk you into paying for something.

Be careful!

About Jennifer Brett

Jennifer Brett writes The Buzz blog for accessAtlanta.com

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