I felt compelled to write this article because I just had a 3rd Producer hire me to do a casting that he attempted to do himself. I see this scenario several times each year when a Producer will try to find talent on their own only to fail at finding what they need. Then, the Producer will either call or email me and with limited time left before the shoot to cast, since they lost too many days trying to find talent themselves.
In today’s economy, now more than ever, we are always looking for ways to save money. Get the best deal. People will go online to find freelance artists such as Fiverr for $5 or a little more. And unfortunately as great as the deal sounds you just can’t get the best service or a good final product let alone get it on time. It can be frustrating.
It’s the same thing when looking to book the best talent for your project whether on-camera or voiceover. You can go to these DIY talent based websites that claim can give you best talent. They wave strong call to action phrases in front of your eyes that make them look very legit and attractive to use. Even convenient. And hey. It’s free too. Who wouldn’t want to use them?
But then you either start getting hundreds of submissions or sometimes not many because actors may not know your name and actors know there are lots of scams out there.
Who does an actor trust? Who does an agent trust?
They trust a seasoned veteran casting director with proven credentials in the industry.
Recognizing a trend of “DIY” styled casting options available I wanted to educate new producers and directors on why it makes better sense to hire an experienced Casting Director.
8 Reasons to hire a seasoned Casting Director rather than using a DIY method.
1. WE HELP YOU NAVIGATE THE SEA OF BUDGETS AND CONTRACTS
Budgets can be complex for a novice. Once the show has been cast, many times the casting director will negotiate money, schedules and billing with the agents or the actor directly. You can think of the casting director as the Human Resources person who is screening people for the job. People can get nasty about billings, photo approvals, etc. An experienced and seasoned Casting Director is experienced with dealing with all of these types of situations, and can help navigate more positive outcomes. Thus, taking one less task off of your “To Do” list.
2. BREAKDOWNS ARE KEY, WE MAKE SURE IT’S DONE RIGHT
A “breakdown” is a write-up of the project that includes a short description of the project in addition to an outline of characters/roles in the script for the project. It also commonly includes names of the people involved in the project such as the directors, casting directors, and producers as well as proposed project dates and locations. Breakdowns for union and nonunion commercials, voiceovers, television shows, movies, and plays are usually submitted by casting directors.
3. YOU CAN’T MATCH OR BEAT OUR EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE
You simply can’t replace the experience or knowledge of a Casting Director with over 23 years experience. By hiring them, you are instantly gaining access to their vast knowledge of the talent pool in any given city they specialize in. You need a professional seasoned veteran (i know i wrote that but is it redundant? or ok?) casting director who already knows the best talent options to present, knows that the actors I bring in are professional and to do a professional casting session that shows exactly what the actor or model looks like currently and how they would do the copy (if there is any) and do the actions required for the project—according to the concept your Creative Director created to sell your client’s product.
4. THEY GUIDE AND STREAMLINE THE AUDITION PROCESS “THE RIGHT WAY”
Working with an experienced Casting Director, allows for the audition process to be better streamlined and organized. How I do it: “First, the actors come in, they do their audition, I give some direction to improve performance, and then the actor leaves. At the end of the day, I send the session of the best choices to my clients to review. After the clients—producers and director—have reviewed the session, they tell me who their selects are. If there is a callback session, I schedule their selects to come in again to audition and maybe get some additional direction from the director. Then when the callback is over, the actors leave. The producers and director narrow down their selects from the call-back and choose a first and second choice to present to their client. And then, they all make the decision who finally books the job.” (I had to add some in the above so not sure about including link below?) Ref more info on auditioning process: http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/how-does-casting-process-work/
5. WE HAVE THE CONNECTIONS WITH TOP ACTORS AND AGENTS YOU DON’T HAVECasting Directors, especially seasoned ones in the business over 23 years have built an invaluable database of connections with actors, agents, and other industry professionals as a novice or new director/producer you just don’t have.
6. YOU SIMPLY CAN’T GET THE SAME “WOW FACTOR” WITH DIY CASTING
When I do a session I give my clients a clean, impressive, organized casting session. I make sure the talent is dressed according to what my client’s specs of the characters are; as an example, if I’m casting the role of a doctor, I will put a white lab coat and stethoscope on each actor that is auditioning to give my clients a better idea of what it would look like if they wanted to book a particular actor for the role of doctor. It also gives THEIR client the ability to see a better idea of what the final project would look like. I also provide props and basic set for the talent to use, making their performances much more believable. You can’t get that same experience when an actor is self submitting from their home with bad lighting.
7. WE CAN HELP PREVENT YOU FROM HIRING A DIFFICULT PERSONALITY ON SET
Producers and Directors doing their own castings at risk of hiring an actor or model that may have personality issues on set. They risk not being professional, thus jeopardizing the shoot and risk losing your client for future business.
8. OVERALL, WORKING WITH A CASTING DIRECTOR YOUR ODD’S OF SUCCESS ARE GREATER THAN WITH A “DIY” CASTING SCENARIO…HERE’S WHY. If you hire a non professional in any industry, the odds strongly favor a less than desirable outcome. Taking this kind of gamble is risky and not worth jeopardizing your entire project for the perceived sake of saving a bit of money. Many professionals like myself have reasonable and competitive rates and are going to get the job done right, creating the most successful outcome by lending their expertise.
Ken Lazer Casting Company
For 23 years, Ken Lazer Casting Company has successfully casted a wide variety of projects, including casting for regional, international and national commercials, television, radio, film, webisodes, industrials, voice-overs, reality TV and print media that features adults, teens, children, babies, models, comedians, improv troupes, dancers and singers. Ken Lazer Casting works with union and non-union actors alike, amassing a pool of talent culled from top talent agents and managers, as well as direct-to-talent resources.
If you are a new director or producer, seeking further casting advice and want to work with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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