Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Comment Casting Couch


When I first wrote my Teenage Girl President Casting Call post, it was hugely popular. Many people including Ces thought it was a clever, if a little obsessive, tribute to a popular webcomic. However, as the traffic from my regular readers died down, a new groups of surfers started discovering the post. Ones unfamilar with TGP, but eager to become stars.

Through some weird quirk of the Google algorithm, if you do a search for any popular tweener show in combination with "casting call", my post lands on the first page. Try "hannah montana casting call" as test. Yup, number one hit. Naive, misguided, or just wishful-thinking kids mistook my tongue-in-cheek post for a legitimate audition notice and left messages for me to consider them.

Since I get e-mailed all the comments made on my blog, this started out as being mildly amusing and, as the pace increased, soon turned slightly disturbing. Clearly the parents of these kids had never read my Warning To Parents post about leaving too much information on the web. Way too many of the comments included e-mail addresses, real names, and other personally identifiable information.

As a postscript to my New Dehli Monkey Gang Audition post I linked to the comments. The shear audacity of the comments amused and alarmed many of my readers, particularly those with underage daughters. On the advice of my legal counsel, jfruh and demetrious-x, I decided to delete the comments and post a warning to not leave any more e-mail addresses.

However, these comments were just to rich to allow disappear forever. Besides, some people may think I was exagerating the idiocy of these Googlers. As the parent of a teenager, it's hard to overestimate the stupidity of tweeners in front of a keyboard. I have stripped the comments of any indentifiable information and reproduced them below. Several even left links to their MySpace type pages and I have scarfed the picture from their opening page. The one reassuring factor was that all the profiles were set to private. Maybe they had gotten too many friend requests or people offering them other roles. Roles that Chris Hansen may want to investigate.

This was the very first comment that came in taking the post for real. She left her e-mail address, real name and hometown:

ok so i am the same age as Jamie lynn and i am from hometown could someone like me try out for a part like that???
i am trying to live my dream and i have acting experience LOTS of it !!!!
i want you to help live out my life long dream
email: redactecd@hotmail.com
thanks so much get back to me please
real name
HOMETOWN

The following "applicant" had a real Blogger name, but the blog it links to is an empty template with no posts:

BloggerID said ... (12:57 PM) :

I think this is the order from top to bottom of which one i would pick

1. Jaime Lynn Spears
2. Aly and Aj
3 Ashley Tisdale
4. Venessa Ann Hudgens
5. Emma Roberts
6. Amanda Bynes

could I also be in the movie as like a small role cuz i wanna be an actress and i'm african american. thanks write me back on my blog

OMG! i totally want to do this...i've been waiting for something like this...I've dreamed of being an actress....i would love to do something like that.


Then they started leaving descriptions of themselves:

Real Name said ... (8:29 PM) :

My name is Real Name, E-mail - redacted@comcast.net but anyway, my dream is to be a famous actress on a regular...and am 14 have a little longer than shoulder length blonde hair.. a little short for my age, 4'11 and weigh about 95 pounds! please e-mail me if your interested!

This girl left her real name and a quick google search found a link to a hometown newspaper article that listed her as an honor student and the name of her middle school. This is the sort of info real stalkers could actually use:

Anonymous said ... (1:35 PM) :

hey my name real name and u don't know how much i would want to be a famous actress I'm 11 years old and i am ready to act i have shoulder lengh hair i am about 5 feet and 95 pounds my e mail redacted@yahoo.com

please im ready!!!!!!!!!!


Then they started getting catty by dishing on the real celebrities I had listed:

first name said ... (8:49 PM) :

Hey! This is first name . I honestly don't think any of those girls deserve the part. I think you sould give someone that hasn't been descovered yet a chance. I think I would be great for this part. I'm thirteen, I have blonde hair, blue eyes, and I'm 5 feet 4 inches tall. I would be honored because I have a lot of talent and I'm very outgoing. My e-mail address is redacted@yahoo.com thanks for taking the time to read this.


Not only catty, but sassy:

first name said ... (10:55 PM) :

i dont think any of them should have the role because FIRST NAME is here and she would rock this president gig.and u can reach me at redacted@hotmail.com thanc u and have nice day.......o and think about it

luv ya
first name


The phrase "fresh meat" is not something I like to hear from a thirteen year old:

first name said ... (11:07 PM) :

i think that i should get the part because i am fresh new meat an i am going to agree with sarah. iam 13 going on 14 in august and im 5 feet 4 inches tall with black hair and brown eyes and i am black and i think a black grl as a president would be cool im not saying it wouldnt be cool for a white grl because i look up to aly and aj but i think i could be the best funnest actor because all my friends say should be a comedy because i talk alot and im funny.and i am undiscovered but i would like to be so u can reach me by my email address....

redacted@hotmail.com

luv ya and contact me
FULL NAME

I have been fully deleting the e-mail addressed on most of these, but this girl's seemed particularly appropriate:

Anonymous said ... (12:18 AM) :

ya i agree with redacted u should use someone that has not been discovered i am 13 i have blonde hair and i am 5'4 hazel eyes and i am slim/slender so e-mail me if u want me to do the part

dramaqween#redacted@yahoo.com

Making fun of kid's spelling on the internet is like shooting fish in a barrel, but this one is particularly confusing since what ought to be an e-mail address is gibberish:

Anonymous said ... (6:58 PM) :

it sototaly got to be miss Robertes. shez young, fun ,and proves her self as a leader and does it with a blonde attitide.if im not rirgt then track me down let me do the part.

cd c t 9e7ye0f77yr08yf80

This one seems to have a sense of humor about it and thinks it's funny people describe themselves, but she goes ahead and leaves an e-mail address anyway.

firstname said ... (8:11 PM) :

hey. ill do it! lol. im not going to go on about what i look like and that kind of stuff... but im 13 and i know all of those people lol.....{{redacted@hotmail.com}}..


This is perhaps the most convincing case made by any of them, but she forgets to leave the e-mail address. I suppose I am supposed to track her down by her full real name. It turns out there is a real actress with her name already, but I doubt she is thirteen. She (the actress, not the thirteen year old) would be welcome to play TGP in my book:
Full Name said ... (1:32 PM) :

i really want to be the teenage girl president. i am 13, have blonde hair and i love to act and i'm good at it. i can act like what ever u want me to. anyway, don't you want someone new and "fresh" not those other people who are already doing shows and movies. get some one who you can say, " i found that tallent" i should be that "teenage girl president"

Same Full Name said ... (1:34 PM) :

i know all those actresses and i think i could do better, or just as good as them. pick me


This is the youngest person to leave a comment:

Anonymous said ... (10:33 PM) :

all i want is for Ashiley Tisdale to get the part.. and if she doesnt get the part than plz email me and tell me when the show starts and tell me what channel it comes on if any bobies looking for a young singer than plz email me redacted@yahoo.com plz im realy amazing f anybodie needs a 10 year old girl soon yo be 11 on jan. 19 07 than plz email me for acting singng or modeling...Thank you


The following comment included a link to her MySpace page. The page has a not particularly sexy picture of her in a bathing suit looking pouty. The profile lists her age as fifteen and the name on the page is "JACK OFF FIRST NAME". It's an active page since it lists today as her last log-in. At least her profile is set to private. Her parents should be proud.

There was no way in the world I was going to send a friend request. Of all of the comments, this looks most suspiciously like predator bait, but she leaves comments on other MySpace pages, so I think she is legit.

First Name (with MySpace link) said ... (10:16 PM) :

hey my name is first name and ive always wanted to fulfill my beautioful dremas y being an actress on hannah montannah/miley cyrus tv show. I want to be known as a actress on her show.. i would do anything to be like her or even to act with her. When are the auditions?contact me- redacted@aol.com


Another contender in the failure of the public schools to teach basic spelling category:

Nickname said ... (7:31 PM) :

hello my name is Real Name and i am 13 years old not allot of acting exsperiance but i have my relitives who are exsperianced and i would love to be the female tenage princess!!! Email me with all the info please!!!

redacted@yahoo.com

And they keep getting more and more assertive:

Anonymous said ... (7:24 PM) :

Hi my name is Real Name and I am very interested in acting. I want the job and I will do anything to get it even if it means flying on a plane.
I make the grades, have the looks,and you won't be disappointed if you e-mail me at redacted@yahoo.com!


And here it just starts getting boring and repetitive:

First Name said ... (7:11 PM) :

i have to vote for jamie lynn spears, just because she's so fresh and new. or...have you considered having an open audition for the part? i know that there are lots of teen girls who would love the chance to audition, and you could find some real talent in a place where the industry is big...


At this point I started getting about one comment a week:

Anonymous said ... (9:05 PM) :

i would LOVE to star inthis great series
mi 13 years of age... please email me at
redacted@aim.com
for casting info

thank you,
first name

The time tag is 1:25, so she is either on the west coast or up way past the bedtime of anyone that would leave this comment:

Anonymous said ... (1:25 AM) :

hello, my name is first name and i am very intresed in a part in the show"Americans teenage president and i wanted to know if you can take out time to see me, so i can audition for the part. If you can please contact me at redacted@aol.com thank you.

This girl's claim is that she looks much older:

real name said ... (12:31 PM) :

hey my names Real Name.
and I am very interested in this part as 'queen bee'. im 13 but i could pass as a 14 or 15 year old. This would be a great oppurtunity for me so I could really get my dream [to be an actress] on its way. I work hard and I can memoirze lines very fast.

Please contact me at xredactedx@aol.com

thanks!

Another willing to give out physical location as well as e-mail contact. And a fondness for Capitalization:

Anonymous said ... (1:12 PM) :

Hey My Names First Name 14 Going On 15 September 24 From Hometown, State
I Love To Sing Dance An Act I Feel That I Would Be Right For This Because I Think I'm What Your Looking For

For Mor Information You Can Send Me And E-Mail At redacted@aim.com
Please Give Me A Chance To Make My Dreams Come True Thank You SoooOoo Much


Catty AND a horrendous speller and not very fond of the Enter key:

first name said ... (11:21 PM) :

well im a peson who knows these stars threw television, & i know what you are talkign about, im the age you are talking about, & i know wat people would prefer to see. take the first jamie, she is good, id liek to see more of her on tv, then you have aly & aj, too old.ashley is too playd out with high skool musical! & same with vanessa, amanda is too old with her newer show what i like abot you. i would choose emma roberts, she has been good in every productiong i have seen, i am amazed. also if you do not find what you are looking for in the following contact one of the other ppl who have responded to you, but if in doubt & need som1 well email me, i m blond hair blue eyes have done a few plays & ona few local comercials, i am 13 & perfect! first name! email=redacted@aol.com hope to hear from you, hopefully if the rite person chose it will be!

The redacted e-mail address for this girl suggests a future in the exotic dancer industry. I wish I could share it with you, but rules are rules:

Anonymous said ... (5:12 PM) :

I think that they should have a nobody as this, like look for a normal girl whos not famous because every one knows how they can act so its no suprise but i am 13my name is First Name and I have drak brown/black hair drak brown eyes and im 5'7 and my skin is a brown First Name color like my name so email me if you think i could be it my email redacted@yahoo.com


Finally, the subtle approach:

Anonymous said ... (10:45 PM) :

I know alot about each of these actresses, and I think Amanda would be the best for this part, but I also think that I might me. I'm not trying to be cocky or whatever, but these are all known actresses, why not use an undiscovered one?

Email me at redacted@gmail.com
But then she had to try to close the deal:
Anonymous said ... (10:55 PM) :

I just made the comment above, and forgot to add this: I am 13 years old but people often say I'm 15. I'm 5 foot 4 inches, brown hair and eyes, white (skin tone). I live in State, and I'm an actress at my school. My name is First Name. I had always wanted to be in a movie or tv show. I love to act. I've been acting for about 3 years now, and have competed in competitions through school. I've won almost all. I have experience with acting, but have no agent. I was looking around on the web and found this page. I would LOVE to be in this movie.

Once again, my email is redacted@gmail.com

Please help me make my dream come true!
And internet idiocy is not limited to any particular ethnicity:

Anonymous said ... (9:03 PM) :

hello my name is first name. im at the age of 13 gonna be 14 in august 3. my nationality is hmong mixed with thai. i haven't done acting alot..only when i get the chance.cause i do love to act.. i always wanted to follow the foot step of my cuz' "brenda song" you know from the show on disneychannel 'the suite life of zack and cody'.. i went to only one audition in my life..it was the same adition that brenda went to.. i got the callback,but 2,000 dollars i have to pay..i didn't have that money nor does my parents..hahaha..well yea i wanna adition for this so heres my email...fullname@hotmail.com

love to hear from you


It also sounds like that if she needs pay $2000 for an audition, she is already being ripped off. And if you recognize any of these people that have left comments, please notify their parents and take away their internet access. And all the predators out there that have been scamming off my comments will have to go get their own phony audition blog.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Am I over-reacting? If you think so, leave your name and e-mail in the comments.

11 comments:

Alex said...

You aren't overreacting. There's a lot of kids who are being allowed online that shouldn't be. They lack a lot of common sense. Google has mystical powers to drive people to a site. The question remains whether they're the type of people you want visiting your site.
For comparison, try querying "myspace sucks" and see the drivel that commences in the comments. I emphatize.

Charlotte said...

Recently, a friend was making a brochure for her church. Inside she included pictures of current children and, of course, the church's address. I pointed out that it might not be the best idea to use those pictures especially because the brochures were destined for advertising in area hotels. Seemed too easy for a person with the wrong intentions to track down a child they fancied.
Every day I see kids walking to school with the name emblazoned on their clothes or backpacks. I thought this practice was discouraged but evidently it is making a resurgence.
I can understand the naivety of the children (even those of high school age). It is the continued obliviousness of the responsible adult that continues to confound me.

Mooselet said...

No way are you over-reacting. It's hard to believe in this day and age parents haven't gotten the message through to their little darlings that leaving this type of information is so dangerous. $50 says most of them have their own computer in their rooms with their parents having no idea what they do.

I'd like not to blame the girls - as the mother of a 16 year old daughter I know how clueless they can be sometimes - but do they really think they'll be "discovered" on a blog?

I fear for the future.

Mark said...

Another brilliant post, as always. I suspect these parents don't have any idea what really goes on on the Internet, and sites like MySpace and whatnot. When they got married, it was likely some 15 to 20 years ago, before most of the super scary stuff invaded the 'net. Now parents who aren't Internet-savvy probably assume it's just another form of harmless pastime, despite the news stories that crop up.

Elizabeth said...

No, you're not overacting at all. I've experienced a student of mine who fell in "love" with someone she met on the internet. He scamed hundred of dollars out of her before her parents finally got wise and called the police! It was sickening. You can't be too careful!

Jeff said...

Sure, now Chris Hansen's going to find me for linking on the Jessica Jones link you put up there.

Seriously though, I was disturbed by the number of teen responses you gathered the first time this posted. I used to think I would be able to monitor all my kids' internet activity but it just ain't so. I do however check their link history about 1/mo just to make sure they haven't started cruising inappropriate sites. So far my boys have proven to be just nerds, cruising Warcraft forums and music sites.

DemetriosX said...

You definitely aren't overreacting. One of the scariest things about this is that "casting" is a really common Internet pastime. Comics, books, real life, whatever. Are these girls really that dumb/starstruck/naive?

Impetua said...

It's terrifying. My daughter is three and I'm not looking forward to the next, oh, 30 years or so of trying to protect her from others and from herself... Needless to say her computer time will be monitored and there will be a lot of really frank talk about what can happen to a kid with no boundaries.

Claude said...

Clearly you're not overreacting. I think everyone else above pretty much covered that territory. I pretty much follow Jeff's example of reviewing the history after my daughter's been online. God only knows whether her mother does the same when she's in NY.

And, again, we get a potential view of what job application letters are going to look like in a couple of years. Does NOBODY spellcheck?

Having said all that, I think if you glam up the kid in the yellow bathing suit a little bit, you might have a potential TGP. She reminds me of the girl in the cruise ship ad, the one who gets busted smiling while on vacation until she realizes she's being photographed.

Anonymous said...

The job applications are already appalling. Do they teach young people hand writing anymore? Printing, every form is filled out with atrocious printing.

(running to checking spelling in word processing software, and deeply grateful you can't see my handwriting)

dr

Anonymous said...

As you can all see, I like, totally flunked grammar.

dr