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UK Casting Directors “Disturbed” By Self-Tape Scandal, Saying Fake Auditions “Destroy Trust”

The UK Casting Directors Association (CDA) has issued a full-throated condemnation of agents misleading clients with fake self-tape audition invites.

In a statement posted on Twitter (now X), the professional body said it was “disturbed and saddened” by Deadline’s reporting on two agents who misrepresented audition requests to their clients.

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Deadline has reviewed evidence showing that International Artists Management (IAM) and Bodhi Talent sent clients self-tape audition invites that were not requested by casting directors.

IAM appeared to change the wording of emails from casting directors to make it seem as if they had requested actor Mark Barrett to tape for a role when in fact he had not been called to audition. It meant Barrett recorded tapes for roles in The Gentlemen and Shetland under false pretenses.

“Actors should never be misled into thinking they have been requested to tape by a casting director. To do so destroys the chain of trust between casting director, agent and actor which is the core of our industry,” the CDA said (full statement below).

“The CDA believe that self tapes do have an important part to play in a fair and accessible casting process, alongside in person and Zoom auditions. However their misuse should be called out and challenged wherever it occurs.”

The CDA added that it was working with Spotlight, the European casting directory, to improve “transparency and verification” of audition requests.

Earlier on Wednesday, Deadline revealed that IAM had been kicked out of respected UK agency body, the Personal Managers’ Association (PMA), amid concerns over the company’s honesty and integrity.

Equity also criticized illegitimate self-tape invites, arguing that IAM had “darkly inverted” the relationship between actor and agent by misrepresenting tapes without transparency.

IAM said that it was acting in the interests of clients in an effort to secure them maximum exposure with casting directors and open up more roles. Bodhi Talent denied wrongdoing. Since Deadline’s exposé last month, Bodhi has attempted to shut down its operations.

On its removal from the PMA, IAM said: “We always act in the best interest of our clients with the intention of maximising opportunities for them.

“We have put in place new processes to ensure that they have complete visibility of everything we are doing on their behalf and there can be no ambiguity about the source of the leads we secure for our clients. We are committed to following best practice at all times and this will continue, regardless of whether we belong to a professional body.”

The Casting Directors Guild, which drew up self-tape guidelines with Equity and the PMA in 2021, has so far declined to comment.

Below is the CDA’s full statement:

The Casting Directors Association wish to assert their support for the PMA and Equity in the pursuance of professionalism, decency and best practice in the use of self tapes in the casting process.

We are disturbed and saddened by the revelations, exposed by Deadline, of the use of illegitimate briefs and false requests for self tapes by some agents. Actors should never be misled into thinking they have been requested to tape by a Casting Director. To do so destroys the chain of trust between Casting Director, Agent and Actor which is the core of our industry.

The CDA believe that self tapes do have an important part to play in a fair and accessible casting process, alongside in person and Zoom auditions. However their misuse should be called out and challenged wherever it occurs.

The CDA is currently working with Spotlight on finding a technical solution to the issues of transparency and verification for genuine Casting Director submission requests.

In the meantime, we encourage all parties to use self tape requests and submissions with consideration and integrity to protect the welfare of actors.

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