As an actor, you likely have already discovered there are plenty of services out there that take money in exchange for promised services.
Paying money for this type of service doesn’t necessarily make it a scam. In fact, there are plenty of reputable companies out there that charge a fee to support the services they provide.
There’s only an issue when a company charges and doesn’t deliver.
How Much Does Explore Talent Cost?
ExploreTalent signs you to an agreement that requires them to pay $39.73 per month, with discounts for those who prepay.
If you sign one of these agreements, you can save, but you’ll also be unable to exit the agreement during the term.
ExploreTalent, on the other hand, can suspend the contract at any time if you breach your part of the agreement.
Does Explore Talent Really Have Auditions?
Although ExploreTalent promises access to more than 20,000 monthly auditions, the company also boasts more than 8.5 million members, which is some fierce competition, especially if you live in an area heavy with casting opportunities like Los Angeles or New York City.
This could be one of the reasons many members report disappointing results.
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How ExploreTalent Works
Explore Talent’s paid membership earns you placement in the talent gallery and access to a list of events and casting opportunities. It also pays for the administrative support necessary to help members find work.
However, there’s also a disclaimer on ExploreTalent insisting the service is merely an online database.
They do not “procure, get, gain or retain employment, jobs, bookings, or castings.”
They also state that they don’t guarantee employment or income will be generated as a result of buying its services. While most talent services companies and even casting agencies also won’t guarantee work, they do try to procure castings and bookings for their clients.
Once you’ve paid your membership fee, you’ll be encouraged to set up a profile page that inserts you into the company’s talent database. ExploreTalent promises that casting, modeling, and talent agents browse this database on a regular basis and hire from it. But the site says agents will also match you with opportunities and display them on your profile. You’ll need to take any next steps to apply.
Your paid subscription earns you a profile page and the ability to browse casting opportunities on the site. When you see one that interests you, you can email your information with the click of a button. You can also set up notifications so that you’re alerted when new jobs are posted that might fit your qualifications.
However, if you’re looking for a talent services company that will constantly look for opportunities and send your information, this one isn’t it. You’re paying for access to a database, along with the ability to apply for any interesting positions you see. You’re doing the legwork and paying ExploreTalent to keep bringing in the opportunities.
Paid members report the company reaches out to them with job opportunities, and some of these turned out to be legitimate gigs. However, some others result in dead ends, leading to customers wasting time on a lead that didn’t pan out. Since ExploreTalent doesn’t do the legwork, members typically find that they have to find a way to get in touch with the casting agent, even when ExploreTalent promises a one-click application process.
The good news is, memberships come with a free seven-day trial, so you can try the service out before you start paying. You’ll need to cancel before the trial period ends to avoid being automatically charged, so plan to set aside some time in the first few days to thoroughly review the membership benefits and see if the site is for you.
Some members have reported difficulty canceling autopay once they want out of a membership.
ExploreTalent says you only need to contact them prior to your next renewal date, and you get a phone number and email contact form to request it.
However, you’ll only be able to call during business hours. You can leave a message after hours, but they can’t guarantee you’ll get a call back.
Another downside to ExploreTalent is that the peer support appears to be lacking. While many talent services companies have community forums where members are encouraged to share information, ExploreTalent simply provides regurgitated advice from big names like Matt Damon and Piers Morgan. These people are in no way affiliated with the site, but ExploreTalent has them on the main page under “Celebrity Advice.”
You don’t need a membership to browse the casting notices and even apply to them independently. Although every opportunity will direct you to sign up for a membership, you can actually view information on various auditions and seek them out on your own. If you have an agent, it can be a great way to learn what’s going on and pass the information on to your own agent.
ExploreTalent not only lets you filter opportunities by location and type, but you can also get a breakdown of every role being cast. You’ll get shooting dates and, in some cases, a breakdown of the pay being offered, letting you decide whether it’s worth pursuing. ExploreTalent also lists opportunities for models, crew, dancers, and musicians, so you may find you get something from them that other sites don’t provide.
However, the opportunities listed with ExploreTalent aren’t necessarily unique. In fact, many are also posted on talent databases and listings with other talent services companies. Those resources not only show the information but make it easy for you to submit your information. Compare the valid opportunities you see on ExploreTalent with other listings and make sure you aren’t given the same information elsewhere.
The free version also allows you to set up a profile. Assuming casting directors turn to ExploreTalent to line up performers, this is a good feature for free, but you’ll likely need to take a proactive approach to finding work. With ExploreTalent, what you’re paying for is the contact information for the various jobs. But you can get the same information from a site that charges the same or less. Many of the jobs on ExploreTalent have already expired, so the scrolling, abundant list of new opportunities on the main page can be deceiving.
ExploreTalent dates back to 2003, but in 2006, David Davis bought the company from a California corporation called Astral.
According to the Better Business Bureau, the company is currently co-owned by Davis and Mark Estes. ExploreTalent has dealt with legal action over the years – most notably a recent lawsuit for collecting information on children aged 13 and younger.
However, none of these lawsuits related specifically to the services it provides.
Why Use a Talent Services Company?
Although some services are better than others, talent services companies can be a great way to be proactive in your search for opportunities. If you’re unagented, they can help get you in the door when you wouldn’t have been able to do so yourself. Before paying, it’s important to thoroughly investigate a company to make sure you’ll get your money’s worth. Once you’ve chosen a company, you may decide to choose a monthly subscription in the hopes that you’ll get work fairly quickly and be able to get your SAG card and a union agent soon after.