I've found getting the breakdowns to be incredibly useful in ending up with auditions.
Of course, you should ask how your agent feels about it before doing it, and preferably before working with them.
I've met so many casting directors in workshops over the last 2 years and developed relationships with a lot of them in a way that I can't always expect my agent to remember. So before signing, I always get permission to reach out when the role is right for me with a CD that I know...and I make sure that my agent knows they don't have to get back to me because I understand how busy they are. This frees them of the pressure to think that you expect them to respond to every email. I send them about once a week.
And yes, for some TV projects, the next day is too late. Particularly episodic. But not always. And for pilots there tends to be a little more time from when the breakdown is released to when they set appointments.
With pirated breakdowns, if your source is good, you'll get them as early as 5am.
What do you mean by getting a 4 or 5 from a CD? What does that mean?
At some CD Workshop places, the CDs give a written evaluation out of a 5 being the best scale.
Dominion and Actors Keys does this.
The fact is that without this information an actor is truly in the dark. CastingAbout.com helps, but it doesn't tell you what episode a show is on, who is directing, when it is being shot, location info (not consistently enough), and (most importantly) the types of roles being cast.
Purely as a research tool, not even submitting, the breakdowns are immensely helpful. Without them, it would be 100 times more difficult to target specific CD workshops (heh, my money counts, and I hate throwing it away on shows that aren't right for me or will end casting two weeks from now). I track producers and directors too, not just the CDs.
Plus, because most agents will not submit on ULB or Low Budget features, if I know the CD and see a role that's right for me, I mail in the pic.
It's true, that for TV the breakdowns are nothing more than a research tool. They have already lined up casting by the time you see the breakdowns the next day. So, most of the time I don't even bother, but I like knowing what is going on. That way I don't come across as another "in the dark" actor in workshops.
At least half of the CD workshops I'm in the TV CD acknowledges these breakdowns circulating among the actors and tells the actors it's okay to e-mail him/her if we see a role that's right. And, most film CD's will say to mail in or drop off your pic if you see a role that's right, even going so far as to say that since they get so few hard copy pics these days I might stand out for the effort. So, I don't think it's hurting the CDs, contrary to what breakdowns would say.
So, I wish there were a service that let me know more of what was going on because for the actor who is truly pursuing this business AS A BUSINESS, it is ridiculous that there is not a professional service that would give me the info that I need as an actor; goes to show you how much (or little) value the industry places on actors. A possible alternative, The Mercury Report is expensive and doesn't provide me with the data I need as an actor to be effective. Would like CastingAbout.com to provide more useful info (like I mentioned above) because, after all, they are Breakdowns.
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