00:00:00 | 3:02:50




If you're an aspiring actor, you may have paid to attend casting workshops that were supposed to be educational, but really just offered very quick auditions for very minor roles. The casting workshop business has made millions of dollars, but it turns out that paying for an audition is illegal and now the LA city attorney is cracking down on the practice. Reporter Gary Baum talks about his investigation that recently led to the filing of criminal charges, and veteran casting director Billy DaMota explains his longstanding opposition to these pay-to-play auditions. Then the Hollywood Reporter's awards analyst Scott Feinberg tells us how likely it is that La La Land will sweep the Oscars.

Photo: lincolnblues

Hollywood news banter 6 MIN, 10 SEC

Matt Belloni, editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter, joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • After 12 years on the job, Brad Grey is out as CEO of Paramount Pictures. Many are amazed he hung on as long as he did, considering all the recent losses at the box office. Now that he's out, who will take his place? It's a tough job that used to have a lot of power and autonomy, but has now become more of a matter of managing up and green-lighting by committee.
  • Stephen Colbert is on fire. His show is the most-watched late night show for the third week in a row -- beating Jimmy Fallon, the longstanding leader in the pack. Donald Trump is no doubt part of the reason -- Colbert seems to have found his late-night groove in responding to Trump's antics.

Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Cracking down on pay-to-play auditions 11 MIN, 47 SEC

In La La Land, Emma Stone plays aspiring actress Mia, who finds herself demoralized as she faces one failed audition after another.

What the movie doesn't show is something that has gone on for years in the real La La Land -- aspiring actors like Mia scraping together $50 or so to get a quick audition for a minor role in a film or TV show. It might be a network show like Criminal Minds or Big Bang Theory -- and with luck, you might get one line, but it could move you closer to getting SAG membership.

However, paying to audition is illegal. Last year, Gary Baum of the Hollywood Reporter conducted an investigation into this practice, which has taken root in sessions known as casting workshops.

These workshops are supposed to be educational, teaching actors how to audition, but Baum tells us, "In practical terms, it is really just an audition." And not just any audition -- one that you're paying money for -- often $50 a pop. If you go a couple times a month, it can cost well over $1000 a year, which is a lot of money if your main gig is a barista or waiter.

It might seem sensible to say, "If you don't have the money, simply don't go to the workshops." But Baum found that the workshops had become so pervasive and commonplace, they had become the cornerstone of how a struggling actor breaks into the industry.

Earlier this month, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed criminal charges for the first time ever against this practice, naming 25 people involved in running five alleged pay-to-play workshops.

We reached out to several of those facing charges but none responded to our requests for comment. We did see an email, sent to clients by one of the casting workshop operators charged by the city attorney. It said its practices are legal and that actors should be free to spend their money as they see fit.

We sat down with Baum to learn more about his investigation and what possibly happens next, and with casting director Billy DaMota, who tells us why he has been long-opposed to pay-to-play casting workshops.

Gary Baum, Hollywood Reporter (@garymbaum)
Billy DaMota, casting director (@billydamota)

A historic Oscars win, couched in chaos 9 MIN, 4 SEC

Scott Feinberg from the Hollywood Reporter tells us just what happened last night when Faye Dunaway announced the wrong best picture winner, and no one fixed the situation until two La La Land producers had already given speeches. The fact the Moonlight won best picture is historic in itself, but for the moment, the win feels overshadowed by the biggest flub in Oscars' history.

Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter (@scottfeinberg)

Oscars: A Closer Look at the Results That Were Overshadowed By the Chaos


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

Subscribe to the 5 Things To Do newsletter

Never miss the best of what to do with your free time.


More From The Business


Latest From KCRW

View Schedule


View All Events


Player Embed Code