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Casting Directors Sound Off On Self-Tape Controversy: “We Shouldn’t Be Taking Money From Actors”

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Pent-up frustration by actors over the way audition process has evolved — or devolved — during the pandemic erupted this week when actors Ever Carradine, Merrin Dungey and Sprague Grayden slammed an ad by Betty Mae Casting offering paid self-taping services for non-Betty Mae projects.

Their comments launched a heated discussion about the wide use of self-tapes, which have replaced the vast majority of in-person auditions over the last three years.

Because the conversation was triggered by the ad from Betty Mae, the company of well known casting director Mary Vernieua, with SAG-AFTRA calling casting offices charging for audition tapes “an optical and ethical disaster,” the society of Hollywood casting directors have found themselves in the eye of the storm.

Some of them have stepped in to clear the air. “ACTORS: Please know this does NOT represent all Casting Directors,” Emmy-winning casting director Jennifer Euston wrote on Instagram. “I have NEVER taken a penny from an actor and never will.” She posted her note next to actor Michael Gaston’ Instagram message that “if you’re an actor paying a casting office to help you self-tape an audition, you are not self-taping your audition … you’re being preyed upon,” which has been circulated as a rallying cry among actors complaining about the issue.

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