In recent years, Canada has become a filmmaking mecca on par with only L.A. The sheer number of productions being made over there is staggering and the influx of actors from round the world to take part in it has been massive as well. This is a list of the main casting pages to be a member of if you are in Canada! This isn’t an exhaustive article but will be a starting point for your acting journey in The Great White North!
Main Casting Websites in Canada
Casting Networks is the big one, this is the major casting page that casting directors and industry professionals use to do their work in Canada. There are 1.2 million members on Casting Networks, with over 20k of agents, casting directors and other industry professionals – it really is the place to be. It’s also worth mentioning that it ain’t exactly cheap, nearly $300 a year (CAD) for a premium membership. This is the price of admission into professional work.
Please also note that just because you are on Casting Networks does not mean you will immediately get an audition for a movie with ‘The Rock’. You will still need to get your CV, Headshot and Showreel up to scratch, and you’re going to need an agent. A good one. Plus, you’re going to need training, if acting was as easy as turning up and strolling on set, everyone would do it! However, if you are not on Casting Networks no industry folks will be able to find you for their project! So if you have your CV, Headshot and Showreel all up to scratch, grab yourself a membership!
Casting Workbook works alongside Casting Networks for Canadian actors. Their key integration is making it easy for actors and casting directors to share material easily through their digital platform. They have an app for actors which straight up looks really cool. You can get requests for self tapes from your agent or directly from a casting director, record your self tape on your phone in the app and then share it immediately with production. Especially in lockdown and isolation where social distancing is strongly encouraged, and casting directors are outsourcing more and more to self tapes, the Casting Workbook Actors App looks like a useful addition to the arsenal for Canadian actors.
Fortunately it is a bit cheaper than Casting Networks too, coming in at around 10 dollars a month, the app is a separate buy in of 8 dollars (CAD) a month. All these costs do mount up but it is as always, important to be on all of these websites if you want to maximize your casting opportunities.
Actors Access is just like it sounds, slightly more accessible for actors. Here you can create a free (if limited) account and apply directly for audition opportunities.
While there are some professional and union jobs on these boards there are also some non-union and amatuer/independent/student productions as well. Just like any other job boards from Gumtree, to Craigslist to Mandy it becomes important for the user to do solid end to end research. Check out the production team on IMDB, if they talk a big game but have no credits, then watch out! Also trust your gut! If the lead up to an audition, or an audition itself feels strange or unprofessional – it is more than likely strange and unprofessional! Get out of there!
There will always be people out there who are looking to take advantage of others, so please be extremely careful when applying for jobs. That all being said, alongside the dodgy ones there are some fantastic opportunities here to get experience on set, work with passionate professionals and most importantly learn and learn by doing the work on set! Approach with a degree of skepticism but get involved in your local scene!
Vancouver Actor’s Guide is a really unique resource. It is obviously centred on the BC area more than the other hub in Toronto, but it has a great list of union, non-union, student and independent jobs. Once again as with any bulletin board for creative jobs, be aware of any red flags or ads that feel unprofessional. However, this is a great way to get a start in the Vancouver scene. They shoot the same amount of feature films in a month in Vancouver that they do in Australia in a year so it is a prolific place to be working as an actor. There are also recommendations for classes and other opportunities here as well. Oh did I mention it is free? It’s free guys. Really worth a look!
Union vs Non-Union
Now to outsiders the Union situation in Canada is complicated. The essential rule one is: If you are a member of a Union, you can ONLY work on Union jobs, or risk termination. There are a couple of Unions to be aware of SAG-AFTRA which is the peak body for actors and creatives in North America. CAEA is Canadian Actors Equity, which primarily deals with Theatre and Dance but does advise on other disciplines and finally ACTRA. Now working out whether it is right for you to join a union and which one/ones to join is a tricky thing to do. I would encourage you to go to their websites and read their guides. If you are just starting out, not being a member of a Union might be the best option, as you can work on whatever you are successful for. Bear in mind that the major roles in most significant productions are Union jobs, so once you start booking some professional work you will have to join the relevant Union. Keep your eyes peeled on this front, remember, all of these Unions require you to be a permanent resident of Canada so plan for that if you are thinking of moving over!
Other Useful Pages
A government initiative to show with heaps of links to motion picture production in BC. Worth keeping an eye on to see what’s shooting in your area!
Is a great resource for industry news, see what is getting funding, who has projects up and running and other production information for everything going on in Canada from a directors perspective.
Ever wanted to know what is filming in your area of Canada? Or what is about to start? This is the page for you!
There you have it folks, an overview of casting websites to be a member of in Canada! This article will be updated over time so check back regularly for updates! As I’ve mentioned you have to be aware of where you are at right now in your acting journey. There is no reason to spend a fortune on casting sites if you are still learning and developing as an actor and on the flip side, if you are a professional and not making use of some of these platforms, it might be the time to take another look. Having a great presence on these platforms will open up so many doors!