When I started at Breakdown Services in the early 80’s, there were only twelve employees. Back in those days, we were hand delivering breakdowns to agents in the dead of the night and all submissions had to be done by hand. We had half a floor in a building on Beverly Boulevard, and the other half belonged to Strip-A-Gram. Our first expansion was taking over that Strip-A-Gram rehearsal space – complete with floor to ceiling mirrors.
That, of course, was many years ago. Now, we’re an operation with 6 offices across North America and our main corporate office takes up an entire building in West Los Angeles.
A large part of that substantial growth is due to the acting community, which is just one reason why protecting our actor base is of the highest priority for Breakdown Services and Actors Access.
In recent years, there have been a growing number of scams that have attempted to use Breakdown Services and Actors Access as tools to trick actors out of money. These scams range anywhere from marketing companies that attempt to data mine for private email addresses or as nefarious as straight up money conning schemes.
A big scam we’re seeing now is a variation of one of these money schemes. A company, claiming to be legitimate, ensures every actor that submits that they’re seriously being considered for a role. Once they obtain your email address, they send out a long notice promising a higher pay rate for the project and offering a role with no audition required. While this should be a major red flag in and of itself, unfortunately it is not. The scammers attempt to get you to send them money by stating that they are unable to pay for the makeup artist or costumer due to federal laws about payment or something like that. The company claims that all you have to do is send them a money order with a specified amount made out to said makeup artist or costumer and then they will send you a check made out to you for the same amount. Don’t do it – ever. This is a fast way to get scammed out of hard earned cash!
Stopping abuses like this is absolutely my number one priority. All non-union projects, shorts, webisodes, student films, etc., are thoroughly vetted prior to their release. We require government-issued IDs and a full script from all new Casting Directors. And we have security in place that will automatically shut down an account at the first sign of suspicious activity. Further, projects claiming union status are verified to ensure that they are valid.
It is vital that our members report any signs of fraudulent postings or improper conduct. It is important that we work together for the safety and protection of all members of our community.
Breakdown Services strives to connect actors to real roles that provide pay, experience, or additions to a reel. Our motto is that we post jobs for actors not jobs that actors can do. With your support, we can continue not only to provide this safe and effective service, but to grow our team, expand these opportunities, and truly give back to the acting community.
By Kathleen, Director of Operations, West Coast.