YouTube a conduit for 'D-Boys' auditions


TOKYO -- Talent agency Watanabe Entertainments will use Google Inc.'s YouTube to let prospective actors audition for its "D-Boys" roster of young actors, a company spokesperson said Wednesday.

"D-Boys" provides talent for movies, musicals and television, including such popular kids' "hero" shows as "Kamen Rider," "Ultraman" and the long-running "Rangers" series, on which "Power Rangers" is closely modeled.

Hopefuls can upload their audition videos to a dedicated part of the YouTube site.

"Being able to see videos of applicants will obviously give us a much better idea of what they're like than just photographs," said Kenta Kaizuka, who runs auditions for Watanabe Entertainments. "It also makes it much easier for people who live out in the regions and can't always come into Tokyo, to apply to us."

It's not the first time the company has employed innovative methods in its audition process for "D-Boys." In 2006, it created a Web site that allowed prospective performers to send in videos from their mobile phones. Applicants increased that year to 12,000, from 8,000 in 2005, when submissions had to be posted.

Watanabe Entertainments is part of the Watanabe Group, founded in 1955 and with business interests across movies, TV, theater and music, along with restaurants, real estate and a ski resort.