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NM Casting Call: One event, two distinctly differing impressions

Posted by on May 7, 2012

As we previously posted here, straight from the cyber pages of New Mexico Business Weekly, a new Casting Company is now open in New Mexico.

Several readers had sent in the online flyer circulating in promotion of the event and we chose to pass on publishing or social networking the news, until we read the NMBW article.

The contrast between the article and the businesses own promotion of the event were in such stark contrast our curiosity was piqued and we decided to go to post with both versions and very little comment.

In the days following the “Grand Opening”, the opportunity to compare and contrast continues as two OHI readers were kind enough to share their very different experiences/impressions of the event.

On one hand, $5 headshots? Sure. On the other, “Will you do nudity?”, pays more if yes, NOT SO MUCH. “Do you want to become a Actor”, “Could you or someone you know fund $5K thru $500K for a TV Show or Motion Picture.”

Lest this attempt at a fair and balanced look at what is reported as a new opportunity for locals interested in film and media be presented with any bias, by someone who DID NOT even attend, I will cease any further personal comment, and present two distinct impressions from two separate OHI readers who attended the “Grand Opening – Open Call”, respectively.

Reader A1’s impression from the opening weekend event:

“A steady stream of people were coming in to have their headshots done and be put in “A-1 Casting” data base…Michael Matinez, 5x Platinum (15 weeks in a row) is a writer and producer, Wayne Kurzeja received the “Anti-piracy Award” from President Clinton, has 42 years in the “business”.
Joe Guinan is “the man”, moved here from L.A. and has many connections all over the world, [boasts an] email list of appox. 2500 names. He has Academy Award movies, worked with stars like: Tony Curtis. He has “Blue Ray” backing and his next three movies are already being backed…with games, etc…He has other financial backers, writers, film producers and distributors… He’s setting up a web site and plans to bring many of them to NM! Joe plans to try his hand at directing while Chuck Erickson takes over the casting. They have several films in the works. I think it will be a good thing!”

Reader A2’s impression from the opening weekend event:

“Right off the bat, the mood was very panicked and rushed. The office is quite small, and the “casting director” wanted things to move at a fast pace. He was busy taking the $5 headshots and bragging about his film industry experience. (See attached photo of the “casting director” in action.) There were 3 other employees working with him. There was a very young blonde girl, an older —- man, and a Native American woman. The older man was doing the “interview/intake,” and giving an overview of what was going on.

The older man said they were casting 3 movies. I had never heard of these movies, which were scrawled on an large ink board at the back of the studio. The older man was going on and on about how most of the movies they cast are low to medium movies, which go directly to DVD.

I asked if any of the movies were being filmed in NM, and they all started to panic a bit. I also was blatantly taking photos w/ my phone, and they didn’t like that at all. They kept trying divert me to something else, but I told them I was just there for my daughter. Every time I asked questions, they changed the subject.

We were told the $5 “headshots” were being taken for their website, but there are NO photos on the website currently. They also claimed to be a production company. There was also talk of classes being provided in acting, and production skills.

The sign-in/info form (see attached photo) was full of grammatical errors, and mentioned comfort level w/ nudity. The assistant didn’t know what to say when I asked him how much they paid the actors. The “casting agent” then got mad at him delaying the process because the battery on his camera was dying.

Me and another woman (who did some extra work for EG Casting) both bailed. It has all the hallmarks of a scam. I looked up information online about the “casting director.” He does have a Facebook page, and an IMDb page. I have never heard of a single movie that he claims to have cast on the IMDB page. They may be very low budget and off my radar, or they may be entirely fake.

I don’t know. It could be legit. I could be wrong. But I doubt it. [Joe Guinan] updated his website recently. Worth checking out. www.a1starcasting.com. Everything on it looks FAKE.”

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Comments (13)

  • That video is 5 years old. The advice given is spot on and will help prevent screenwriters from being ripped off. The issue with Michael Silberman was a technical one that has been resolved. While all the local tv shows are on hiatus and the other casting services are waiting for the next mega-budget film to cometo town, A1 Star Casting is currently casting 2 films, Capital Games which is on the In Production list on http://www.nmfilm.com and Ghost Aliens which will be shooting its trailer in 9 days. 2 more in-house productions are waiting in the wings with several other productions coming in from other producers.

  • Another example of the incompetence and direct cons which originates from these bozos. He looks completely strung out. If you are dumb enough to sign up with this company, then you will get what you deserve-nothing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydCXhap6AI4

  • Another retraction by Chuck Erickson. These guys sure know how to put their money where their mouth is. What they say and what they actually do are completely separate things. The fact that they are having to make retractions at all tells us that they are dishonest and have no problem being dishonest at all. They claim they are wanting to shoot features here, but then they are not paying the majority of their cast or their crew. Seems like a contradiction to me which violates minimum wage laws and is NOT putting money into the New Mexico economy at all. Now this Ann Ross casting director is suddenly a part of their picture to lend credibility? Sounds like she’s setting herself up to LOSE CREDIBILITY.

  • Per the posting I made earlier concerning Michael Silberman, I knew when I posted those statements the claims I made that he had been thrown out of multiple casting and production offices, and that Oliver Stone had a restraining order on him were false.

    I apologize and fully retract those statements fully. I additionally understand that Oliver Stone never has had a restraining order against Mr. Silberman and it was wrong for me to post untrue information about Michael.

    I apologize for calling Silberman a failed line producer and additionally acknowledge that A1 Star Casting or any of Joseph Guinan’s former companies has ever previously hired Silberman as a line producer.” Chuck Erickson.

  • First of all I would like to apologize to the people of New Mexico. One of the people that was stalking Joseph Guinan and myself in Los Angeles has made his way at least electronically to New Mexico. Griffin Mill, whose real name is Michael Silberman is a failed Line Producer who has been stalking not only us but numerous producers and directors including the forementioned past film commissioner of Arizona Mark Headley and Oliver Stone who at one point (not sure if it is still current) had a restraining order against Mr. Silberman. He frequently goes into offices in disguise and has used several false identities on Facebook including that of a middle aged woman named Michelle Treadway. He tries to salve his own failures by attacking others.

    Our website http://www.a1starcasting.com has been updated with the talent headshots which were taken on 5/5 and 5/6. We will be adding those photos taken after 5/6 as quickly as we can.

    A1 Star Casting is NOT an Agency, so we don’t take a percentage of what our talent earns. They get paid directly by the production company which hired up to do the casting. The Production company pays us a percentage of the salary paid to the talent for our casting services.

    Legitimate casting services charge talent for their services. Central Casting, Sande Alessi, Bill Dance and Jeff Olin all with stellar reputations in the business all charged talent for their services (until small minded publicity seeking politicians passed a bill banning such fees in California turning the whole casting business upside down.) Internet services such as Actors Access, LA Casting cinue to charge monthly fees for their services.

    Mr. Baca, we will be filing under the SAG New Media Contract which allows producers creating webisodes to submit actors for Taft-Hartley. SAG will place a lein on the production company to cover the SAG entry fees for those actors submitted.

    We reamin committed to putting New Mexico people to work on New Mexico productions.

  • That is also the same form he used in LA with AB Casting. New name-Same old tricks. Some of you newbies will learn the hard way because you’re too gullible and only want to be told what you want to hear by people who will lie to you like these guys. Listen to the evidence and the facts and do not be fooled. Even Guinan’s old intern who was instantly promoted to his business partner, Chelsea Zotta, has gone online to renounce her former association. Listen to her and all of the others who have been conned by Guinan and Chuck. Both are hacks.

  • Headley by the way, was under investigation for insurance fraud when he was in CA by Abacus Insurance Brokers and the State Of California Insurance Commission. Its not amazing at all that Headley is good friends with Guinan, as apples do not fall too far from their trees. There’s a big reason they cannot make a living in CA any longer. Now, he’s come to your state to wreak havoc and scam others. Be warned.

  • Mark Headley is a scumbag producer and could not get a marketing job to save his life if he had to. Look at his lower than “B” grade credits. Chuck is Guinan’s lacky. Who else would pose so casually with porn stars and be proud of it? He and Joe are out to try to destroy the production world in New Mexico. People be warned and do not take stock into this rhetoric which is all talk and no action. When one person says something its rumor. When multiple people issue similar complaints, that is called fact.

    https://www.secure.psc.state.pa.us/releases/members/index.cfm?page=ReleaseDetail&id=1062&ReleaseType=&ReleaseDate=&ReleaseYear=&Desc=&Rescind=&CFID=39172&CFTOKEN=cb761c9efe758987-06C6B88F-5056-A502-49FA6418C6B75DD5&jsessionid=8430c984994f5cfd288d5a5315407cb65175

    http://www.indiecityentertainment.com/2010/08/actors-beware-or-scam-alert-ab-casting.html

    http://www.trustlink.org/Ask-The-Community/Question/Business/Why-are-people-falling-for-this-scam-5164

    http://www.la.bbb.org/business-reviews/Talent-Listing-Service/A-B-Casting-LLC-in-North-Hollywood-CA-94000105

    http://www.trustlink.org/Reviews/A-B-Casting-LLC-205948393

  • No respectable casting agent charges anything except a 10% or other negotiated fee for assisting the actor in getting hired and negotiating contracts. Quickie mugshot style headshots are totally unprofessional and will get passed over by any intelligent casting director. We have plenty of indie film companies in NM that have produced fine work and continue to do so. Also if their films aren’t produced by a SAG-AFTRA sanctioned signatory and they are not a SAG-AFTRA sanctioned agency then they canno be making promises to get people into SAG-AFTRA. As a member of SAG-AFTRA I find these claims ridiculous.

  • Shaking my head. Just shaking my head. A1 is lucky someone hasn’t checked out their references yet. There are several people here in NM who could do it at the drop of a hat. By the way, Harry Tate is the AZ commissioner. Just sayin…

  • I came here to New Mexico with Joe Guinan to make and cast Movies, TV Shows and Web Series, and to do it with as much New Mexico talent as we are able to put it together.

    When Joe decided (after many of his friends in the entertainment business had already left) to leave California, which had become a hostile place for independant producers like himself, the original plan was to go to Louisiana. He was talked out of it by his long time friend Mark Headley who is the Arizona State Film Commissioner. Mr. Headly who had become frustrated with his own state saw the positive things that were happening across the borderand suggested in late 2011 that Joe Guinan should come to New Mexico and check it out. The two of us came out here in January and did precisely that. We were taken on a grand tour of the local studios by Albuquerque Film Commissioner Ann Lerner, and were impressed especially by Albuquerque studios. After being here for 2 weeks we returned to California to finish our business there, then moved out here in early March. While we’ve had some setbacks and challenges, we’ve been able to pull it together and launch A1 Star Casting.

    A1 Star Casting is not merely a casting service that just battles for the jobs that come here. We will be making our own product, we have our own equipment, and we have connections to other producers/directors from around the country that the other local casting people do not. We already have 3 such productions lined up for this Summer in addition to 3 of our own productions.

    While it is true that these films are mostly in the lower to medium budget range and will likely not get much more than a small theatrical release at best we have the distribution channels available that will allow us to make money with these small films which will allow us to make more. Also with the New Media Contract, we will be able to get non-union actors into SAG-AFTRA.

    We have heard the stories about production companies that come here to New Mexico, WITH their talent from LA or New York, shoot their film, then pick up and leave. That is neither right of fair. There is talent here in New Mexico, and we intend to put it to work.

    I find all this talk about scams very interesting. I have dealt with scammers in my own experience in this industry and they tended to be to smooth and slick and very well groomed. We admittedly are not at that level, our priorities at least for the moment are about having the best equipment so we can shoot quality product.

    I appreciate that people are skeptical. With Joe Guinan’s 27 years in the business we hve the skills and experience to make magic here in New Mexico if we are allowed the chance. Scam artists charge hundreds for their pictures (I almost got talked into spending $900 myself). Im not sure how a set of 3 pictures (commercial nd charchter) for $5 or even $20 as it currently is constitutes a scam. Escpecially since if someone doesnt get work at all after one year, we give them another year free.

  • I went to the “GRAND OPENING” on Saturday morning. My first impression upon walking in was this is a scam. The office reminded me of some back office porn casting site. There was a young lady with her baby signing up when I arrived and as she was having her photo taken I noticed Joe Guinan talking to an older fellow I have seen at background jobs I’ve been on. The older fellow was telling him where he could find all this listed talent already signed up with other casting companies. Joe was bragging about all the films he had done and what he wanted to do here. Chuck Erickson (New Talent Dept. – Office Manager – Resume on IMBD) finished taking the young lady and her baby’s head shot then introduced her to Joe. And commenced to focus on my form. He was not sure what to say when ever I asked a question that was not pertaining to his speal about the classes they would give and the reel they were raffling off. He was extremely nervous and fumbled the camera a lot. After finishing my photo I wanted to talk to Joe but the lady was being completely entertained by him so I left. From my point of view it was a TOTAL SCAM and if anything comes from this I will be VERY VERY SURPRISED. I’ve only been doing background work for two and a half years but did minor in Underwater motion Picture in Santa Barbara and have made a lot of oil industry underwater videos and never came across something as shoddy as this outfit. P.S. Check out my short on YouTube “Serious Development”

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