Acting workshops, when done correctly, are an excellent avenue for veteran and novice actors to learn more about this wacky business. Recently there was a big hullabaloo about Casting Director workshops taking advantage of actors and promising jobs to actors if they took certain workshops. That is absolutely wrong and violates everything I believe in. Many of the worst offenders were shut down and penalized for not operating within the guidelines of the laws. But I do believe some innocent people were caught up in the witch hunt that pursued and that is unfortunate. And workshops got a bad name.
However, as a casting director and teacher for over 30 years, there are many good things that can come from these workshops. Actors get objective opinions from industry professionals about what they need to do to improve their chances at obtaining work. Actors get to learn what certain casting directors like and don't like and what works for different offices around town. Agents get to teach actors how best to get and maintain representation.
I have found that many Actors are hungry for this knowledge and they like to hear from different sources and meet people they could not otherwise meet.
Many, if not most industries have professionals that guide and teach new people in their industry and they generally charge handsomely for these meetings or symposiums. It is not unusual at all to have professionals guide and teach others.
I am so convinced that these are valuable to actors that we started offering them in addition to the regular classes we teach. We play by the rules. We bring in great guests who are actor friendly and I personally love to hear what everyone has to say. We are also expanding our workshops to bring in professionals from other areas of the business as well and we are thrilled to get those started before the end of the year..
I teach and I make sure that any guest teachers we have at Inside the Casting Studio TEACHES. Everyone has a syllabus. No one takes the headshots or resumes with them. Everyone is there to learn.
I guess a few bad apples ( and some innocent ones) tried to break this ability to meet and work with industry professionals and that is a shame. However when the rules are followed, there is much to learn. And remember, taking workshops and classes is always a choice. No one is forcing anyone to take them and no one is keeping jobs away from people who don't take them and Sag/Aftra offer free events to its members...
So take a chance. Meet someone who can guide you.