We love to review any actor websites that we come across. When we noticed the most recent sponsor of NFMLA, we had to check it out right away.
HCandF stands for Hollywood Casting and Film, and similarly as IADB, they are offering services to both filmmakers and actors. Here's a little bit about what you will find on their homepage:
Filmmakers: host a casting session in our free space. You'll get a chance to bring in actors to audition, tap into the HCandF actor network, and use our professional-grade lighting and camera equipment. There's no easier way to cast your film and get your project started.
Actors: can audition for featured projects from a myriad of talented filmmakers, or even the occasional HCandF in-house production.
All right so how does it work? After all, free space for filmmakers with option to use the equipment, there's gotta be a fee somewhere in there, right? There's a fee for membership for actors, but at the price of $10.95 a month, it's definitely worth giving it a try, especially since they're offering a first month free. So yes, all actors can join for free, but you've got to put in your card information (ergo if you don't cancel, you will be charged).
What do you get from the site:
Profile: nothing to spectacular, but it does have an option to:
* list your reels (link to Youtube or Vimeo - one at a time)
* upload your resume
* add a link - well, 3 links: IMDB / Facebook / Twitter - to be honest I don't quite understand why they would allow something as Facebook, and no option for personal blog, or Actors Access, Stage 32 or even (wink-wink) IADB
Opportunities: they do send you emails with job opportunities and casting opportunities, however sporadic they might be, even I got one invitation to a casting. (Boy, would that CD be disappointed.) When checking available roles we have found 5 pages* of union and non-union roles listing 20 roles per page (under 100 in total). I'm putting an asterisk next to the 5 pages, because it took about 3 minutes to load the second page. I don't have the time to wait for the slow server response times, so I'm just taking their word for it. :)
Free self tape: which sounds really awesome to me. I was unable to verify the quality of the video as there were no samples, but if you're in need of a self tape, you can't really be too picky, right? After all, it's free. After a brief email exchange with the co-founder I found out that each self tape appointment is 15 minutes long, and you'll get the videos via dropbox. They will also provide the reader and the camera.
We give the site 4 out of 5 stars and the rating of "IADB strongly recommends". $11 a month is something anyone could afford and HCandF does seem to be on the right track with the free self tapes and casting space. We love that! Services they offer do fill a need for both filmmakers and actors alike.
What we're hoping for is more job opportunities, which I know will come with wider filmmaker membership base. I can see that they use CakePHP so there's room for improvement on the search page. Let's speed that up so users don't have to wait as long. And lets be slightly more lenient on the profile. The fact that actor is paying for a profile should allow them to link up to any website they want. Finally, editing tools for the profile (site) include an option to change text color, background color and font... great, that's just what I needed - green text on a pink background. This could probably go altogether. If you ask me, adjust the profile with some additional functionality, list more unions and add agent / manager options.
As always, if you're a member of the site and love it, hate it or disagree with anything that's been said here, send us your comments and we'll make proper adjustments.