The past few years have seen impressive growth in the number of homegrown dramas on South African TV screens.
Refreshingly, some of these are being shot in different parts of the country, developing local TV production sector in areas outside of Gauteng or the Western Cape. The results are meaningful and lasting – compelling storylines that draw in larger audiences, and the discovery of new on and off-screen talent
There is, however, an ugly trend emerging from this success, which worries the producers of Uzalo, Stained Glass TV. Increasingly, there is a tendency for scam artists and fraudsters to use social media networks to claim that auditions are taking place, when in fact they are not. Uzalo has been negatively impacted by bogus auditions posted from fake social media accounts calling on new talent to try out for various roles on the much-loved soapie.
Disturbingly, these calls to audition often charge the young hopefuls an ‘audition fee’, further taking advantage of their desperation to enter the industry. This does real damage to the Uzalo brand, and cruelly exploits thousands of acting hopefuls.
Their statement read as follows:
"Uzalo and all its partners are credible industry professionals, who appreciate the commitment and passion of aspiring actors who want to join our show. We are also extremely sensitive to upholding industry standards and operating in an ethical, legal manner. When we need new faces for the show, we go the correct route – working with our casting partners and being transparent about all details. At no point should ANYONE be paying to audition for ANYTHING – whether a TV show, a theatre role, or an advert. That simply doesn’t happen,’ explains Mmamitse Thibedi, creative director at Stained Glass TV. “It is heart wrenching to see shady individuals denting the image of the industry for a ‘quick buck’ that could see the collapse of many young artists’ dreams.”
Therefore, Uzalo will be embarking on an educational drive around legitimate industry processes, particularly around auditions, aimed at equipping aspiring actors with necessary industry knowledge. ‘We will communicate across media and on our official social media platforms. Our team members – from behind the scenes to on-screen talent – will impart lessons on how to spot fake auditions, and how to verify those that are real. We hope that through this initiative we will be able to provide new industry aspirants with the tools to successfully navigate this very competitive industry.” concludes Thibedi.
All Uzalo social media accounts will be communicating audition tips, industry do’s and don’ts, and pointers on how to identify fraudulent auditions. Fans and aspirant actors are encouraged to look out for these.
Uzalo is broadcast on SABC1, weeknights at 20h30. Uzalo is produced by Stained Glass Pictures and shot entirely in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal.