Interview with Catrine McGregor: On scams and founding ReelGuru.com – Part 1

Written by | The Business of Acting

Today we talk with Catrine McGregor, who is a producer, casting director(CSA) and the founder of ReelGuru.com, about what inspired her to start ReelGuru.com and the scams she’s run across.

RG: Tell us about yourself.

CM: I can honestly say that I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people on Earth; I love my career as both president of ReelGuru.com and as a producer and casting director. I also have a great husband, son, and stepchildren who I’m very proud of. I don’t mean to sound too Pollyanna-ish—I’ve certainly had ups and downs—but it’s all in realizing that we have a big hand in our destiny that counts.

RG: You have had a successful career as a producer and casting director and have worked on over 400 projects for just about every studio and network. What made you want to take on ReelGuru.com?

CM: I don’t know, insanity? (Laughs) I didn’t wake up one morning and say “You know, I think I’ll start a resource for regional actors.” I have been fortunate in landing casting jobs that have taken me all over the country. I cast an IMAX film for Academy Award-winning director Kieth (not a typo) Merrill in the Ozarks. Some of the towns I went to still had dirt road access. I’ve also cast in major cities around the US, but EVERYWHERE I went, people would overhear me talking about casting and would ask for advice on how to become an actor. Some had stars in their eyes and wanted to become the next Johnny Depp or Cameron Diaz, but I’d say 90% of them just wanted to act in local projects—commercials, plays, and occasional movies. If I could tell someone how to get into acting in one concise paragraph, I would, but I think it might be easier to tell someone how to become President. I truly wanted to help, so I started researching books, magazines, websites, and any other source I could for legitimate information for the actor outside of LA and New York—and I found nothing, so I began the long process of launching ReelGuru.com. It was truly need-based.

RG: You said ‘legitimate information;’ does that mean that you ran across a lot of scams while doing your research?

CM: Sadly, yes. But I have to emphasize that much of what I found was a scam to me but not to others. I have spoken to many people who have attended expensive—I’m talking high FOUR figure—talent scouts that I thought were total scams, but they felt that they got what they wanted, which was recognition. I know many people who will give recognition for the high THREE digits (laughs), if that’s what you’re looking for. There are a lot of these ‘scouting’ companies that invite fledgling actors to come to a FREE seminar about breaking into acting or modeling. Yes, that event is free, but the follow-up certainly isn’t. Typically, these groups do a great dog and pony show about how they can help make you a ‘star,’ and once they’ve got you hooked into the dream, they tell you about the hefty fee they’ll now charge to take you to LA or New York to introduce you to agents. And I ask you this: why couldn’t every person in that room pick up the phone and call those same agents for FREE? They just didn’t KNOW. That’s the kind of info that ReelGuru.com will provide to its readers. And on that note, we want our readers to let us know what THEIR needs are and what their questions are. We’re in this together.

Part II of this article can be read HERE.

For more on acting from Catrine, check out her book Acting Across America!

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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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