This guide is primarily for artists who have a Talent Profile on MinnesotaPlaylist but, we hope, may be helpful to all artists who may be approached online about work.
First, how can you tell when an email to you is not legitimate?
- Lots of bad spelling, grammer, and/or logic. Legit opportunities put their best foot forward.
- Vague needs or project description. Legit opportunities know what they are doing and provide as much information as possible.
- Too good to be true. Legit opportunities do not come easy.
- "It's an emergency!" Legit opportunities do not need an answer immediately.
- It doesn't smell right to you. Trust your instincts. Legit opportunities feel right and make sense.
If a solicitation doesn't pass any of these tests for you, ignore it. If you aren't sure, ask other theater friends. They are a great resource. We want to thank Sean Dillon for helping with the tips and all the other actors who brought a recent incident to our attention. We want to know. KNOW THIS: If you received an email from Rais Rooney, we are all pretty sure that is a scam, and we have blocked that user.
We also encourage you to email us with any questions or concerns. We will look into it as best we can and block the offending user, if we learn they are a scammer. However, MinnesotaPlaylist does not pre-police our contact form because we would probably eliminate some legitimate opportunities accidentally (we don't know every credible employer in town), and we do not have the resources to act as agents.
Do not assume the inquiry is legitimate because it comes through a MinnesotaPlaylist contact form. We created the MinnesotaPlaylist contact form for additional security for you, simply to block your email address from the view of any user unless you want to reply to their inquiry. Again, we do not police it.
In addition to the contact form, we also do not allow mass emailing. A user must email artists one person at a time. This also cuts down on the scams (because scammers are generally lazy and looking for the easiest marks). Of course, it does not eliminate all of them.
So, what lessons are there for specifically maximixing benefits of the MinnesotaPlaylist Talent Database?
- You should expect inquiries via MinnesotaPlaylist mostly from theaters, some film-makers (especially student films), and sometimes commercial casting agents. Expect that they are looking to fill such specific roles that an audition would waste their time. Therefore, see above, read carefully for clear, logical details. Legit opportunities know exactly what they want and exactly how you specifically may fill their needs (though be incredibly suspicious of a job offer site unseen, regardless of how specific).
- If it sounds like something they should be holding general auditions for, you should ask them why they are not holding an audition. They may have a good reason, but they may also be a scammer. Answer #3 is that they are too cheap to pay the $45 it costs to post a classified, and they'd rather waste their time emailing actors one at a time. They may not be scammers, but they probably aren't anyone you want to work with.
As a community resource, your help is invaluable when these incidents occur. Do you have any more tips? Send us an email or add them in comments.