Several years ago I agreed to participate in my only experience with a showcase ("Casting and Cash," by Deborah Caulfield, March 8). Naively, I thought I would be able to offer something to actors that might help them gain knowledge of the casting process.
I discovered that I was expected to evaluate the acting ability of these performers. When I went home that night I felt very uncomfortable. I realized that what was really going on was that the host of this event was making money from these actors, and that, in effect, I was being paid not really to offer anything educational, but to see these actors solely for the purpose of possibly hiring them.
I felt used. I am a casting director. I am not, nor do I pretend to be, an acting teacher. That night I decided never to participate in one of these showcases again.
The beginning of an actors career is a very vulnerable and sensitive time. I personally feel uncomfortable taking money from an actor for the sole privilege of seeing his work. I feel it is my job to do that without additional compensation from an artist who is probably struggling just to get the rent paid.