Now this is something I will rarely ever do and 5 years ago, I probably wouldn't have done it at all. I would've waited….and waited….and waited. Then if I got cast, I would deal with all the drama and then the epic hunt to get the copy of my work for my demo reel. I'm past that now. That's not to say that I'm full of myself, think i'm better than all the other actors there or anything. I've just learned that time is currency & I don't need a student project as much as I did 5 years ago. I'm blessed to have an agent, resume, training, a demo reel and union eligibility that opens more doors for me now.
I still submit myself to these type of projects because I can (that's the beauty of just being union-eligible & not joining until they force you) & because a day on set (as long as it's professionally run) is far better than sitting at home doing other things. it's still a chance to perform. it's still a chance to build a character & make art. If it pays….great! that's icing on the cake. I'm sure there are many who will disagree, but that's their opinion. As long as it doesn't hinder my paying the rent (like i'm not going to turn down a paying commercial for a part in a student film), it's a day of being an artist. It's a day of networking.
That being said, when I go to auditions for these type of projects, I remember they are students who are learning, but I also expect professionalism. Not having a sign-in sheet, having a complete chaos in your waiting area, no sides (or not enough sides or not providing the sides in advance), actors waiting over 2 hrs to be seen….stuff like this says to me "well, if this is just the audition and this is happening. What's the day of the shoot going to be like?" it's a reflection of things to come.
Sometimes, you just have to say "thanks but no thanks" & leave those auditions for the people who need them more.