Casting Group Warns Members to Follow Rules as L.A. City Attorney's Workshop Probe Heats Up

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Workshop committee head Marci Liroff

At a Monday night town hall meeting, a Casting Society of America official declared that she was hard-pressed to find one L.A. workshop business fully compliant with CSA workshop guidelines.

At a special town hall meeting in Burbank on Monday night, leaders of the Casting Society of America strongly urged their members to better abide by the organization’s own guidelines, as well as state labor law, when it comes to participating in the controversial workshop classes that have been criticized for being tantamount to pay-to-play auditions.

The warning came after it was revealed that the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has initiated a probe regarding the situation. An investigator has been calling casting directors and associates about their participation in the workshops.

The two and a half hour meeting, held at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank, opened with successive presentations by CSA president Richard Hicks, organization attorney Adam Grant of Alpert Barr & Grant and workshop committee head Marci Liroff, followed by a question-and-answer session, according to sources among the approximately 100 members in attendance. (Workshop owners, actors and the media were not invited.)

One attendee asked whether casting directors and associates are required to answer the investigator’s questions. Grant observed that while it’s not a legal requirement, “if the City Attorney’s Office calls, I’d suggest talking to them.”

Liroff, whose candid criticisms of workshops were revealed in a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter in June, explained that in her extensive research so far running the committee – which formed in April after THR published an investigation of pay-to-play practices – it was hard to find one workshop business fully compliant with the guidelines.

 “A light has been shone on our community,” Hicks told the crowd, “and our members need to be as mindful as possible about what they are doing if they decide to teach a workshop.”

During his presentation, Grant reminded members of the maximum repercussion if convicted for a misdemeanor under the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act, which covers workshop businesses: up to one year in jail and a fine of $10,000. (The City Attorney has yet to prosecute since its passage in 2009.) “It got very cold in there,” said an attendee.

 

UPDATED, July 20th, 1:25am: Correct maximum penalty for a misdemeanor violation.

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