Congratulations to our previous guest contributors Claire Catterson and Wayne Waterson who walked away winners at the third annual CDA Casting Awards last week! To round up the awards, we sat down with some of this year’s sponsors. Drop in on our chat with Nevs Models and Quirky Kidz.
Who are Nevs Models and Quirky Kidz and what kind of artists do you represent?
Nevs: Nevs, was set up in 1971 by Neville Gates, Neville sadly passed away in 1994 so Nevs was Neville! We represent high fashion, and commercial male and female models.
Quirky Kidz: Quirky Kidz Creative Management is a children and young performers agency exclusively representing The Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts (PQA) students who wish to be considered for professional jobs in theatre, television and film.
Why are you supporting the CDA Casting awards?
Nevs: After 25 years working with many casting directors and building good working relationships we wanted to say thanks for your support over the years.
Quirky Kidz: Without casting directors, we wouldn’t be able to provide the opportunities to the children and or manage projects. Casting directors are crucial in order for agents to complete their role.
Why do you think casting is important?
Nevs: I believe it’s the only way a client should book a model, seeing an artist in the flesh and gaging the personality is key for a happy client
Quirky Kidz: It is always important to explore and have a vision of characters within projects. The casting director will always be the key person who will drive the vision forward to make the product as successful as possible. Making the right decision on casting is crucial to a story being told the way it was intended by the creators.
Why do you think it is important to value casting directors and how does this reflect on artists?
Nevs: Casting directors are important to clients at both ends of a casting session, for the client booking and the artist who will be booked. Artists need to be aware of the casting director’s role and their knowledge about who is the correct candidate for the job.
Quirky Kidz: All casting directors, regardless how long they have been in the business should be valued. Sometimes I feel it goes unnoticed. It is crucial for artists to be aware of what the role of a casting director entails and how much they collaborate with other industry professionals. Respect and support should always be shown towards them.
When we value casting directors is it a way of showing that we value artists?
Nevs: Yes, both go hand in hand. Both have significant parts to play in a successful casting.
What do artists get out of the casting awards?
Quirky Kidz: Recognition, acknowledgement, celebration and continued growth and industry knowledge.
When we value casting directors is it a way of showing that we value artists?
Quirky Kidz: Yes, all creatives. It’s very much a collaboration.
How do you get to know your artists?
Nevs: We have an open door policy for our signed models. We have designed the office with several breakout spaces where models can relax, have tea or coffee and a chat.
Quirky Kidz: We meet them and work with them on a scene, we also give them direction, find out about their interests as well as looking at their skill set. They produce films at PQA and perform in large scale shows so we always attend where possible and note ongoing progression.
Do you need special skills to get the best out of children?
Quirky Kidz: Yes, you need to have experience with working with children in order to get the best out of them as well as a volume of knowledge in theatre, film and television.
What’s your all-time favourite film and why?
Kristie from Quirky Kidz: I think I will have to go with ‘ME BEFORE YOU’ and it’s because of the whole process I went through with this film. I read the book in 2013 and absolutely fell in love with it, I don’t often cry reading, but there was something so beautiful about this story! About a year later I noticed the brief from a casting director on Spotlight and I just knew I wanted to a client involved with this story. As if it was meant to be, we had a client who was perfect for the role of ‘Thomas Clark’ – he went to meet the casting team and shortly later offered the role.
About another year later the team were filming locally to me (Pinewood Studios) and I was very kindly invited for set visit. Not only did I get to see my client in action, but I got to sit next to the author, Jojo Moyes. It was a ‘pinch myself’ moment. The rest of the cast, Jenna Coleman, Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin (to name a few) were also lovely too! I then went to cinema to watch it, and it’s now on my shelf in DVD form. A beautiful story and a lovely professional moment that I will cherish.
Paul from Nevs: My all time fav pic is ‘Some Like it Hot’. I love a good comedy plus all 3 main stars play their roles to perfection. A great script and I am a fan of director Billy Wilder.
What are your top tips for artists seeking an agent?
- Always check the website of the agency you are planning to visit
- Don’t be late for your appointments
- Dress smart casual for your meetings
- Have some knowledge of the agent you are visiting.
- Have a clear understanding of the type of representation/agent you would like
- Do your research
- Keep proactive
- Be persistent but realistic.
How do you prefer to be approached?
Nevs: Via our website; we have a purpose-built link entitled ‘join #nevsam‘.
Quirky Kidz: Email. A very clear and concise email.
What research should potential artists do to see if they are a good match with Nevs Models?
Nevs: Check the website to gauge the trend of model being used by the clients. Check any requirement listed, e.g. height and age.
How can potential artists and their parents prepare for a talent agency meeting?
Quirky Kidz: Preparation is key, but we always say not to over rehearse. It is important if reading a scene that it’s fluid but can be adaptable – don’t stage it! We always say to ask questions if they are unsure.
How does Nevs help artists prepare for casting calls?
Nevs: All new models get an information pack which Nevs has tailor made. It includes a terminology guide, underground tube maps, gym locations, and a healthy eating and nutrition guide that highlights that we are a member of the Be Well Collective. We also have catwalk lessons leading up to Fashion Week. For TV commercial we suggest all models have lessons with an acting coach.
How do Quirky Kidz help artists and their parents prepare for auditions and recalls?
Quirky Kidz: Firstly, we call them and talk through the project, summary, role description and dates. This is then followed up in an email with as much information as possible. We will always attach our own Quirky Kidz audition guidelines to the email for reassurance and guidance.
Do you have any advice for artists after they book a job?
Nevs: The team here are all well versed to explain the importance of any booking. We make sure that our models know what their contracts require of them. For instance, arrival time, hours to be worked, lunch break entitlement and overtime rates. We also cover what is allowerd or required with social media. Finally, we will always give a breakdown of their fees: how buyouts work and payment when featured in final edit
What are the pressures of your day job that you find artists really just don’t get?
Nevs: I think the amount of work that goes into a single booking.
- Casting emails
- Negotiating fees
- Reading and amending contracts
- Booking transportation
- Making sure the models have all the booking details
- Checking the model has the required wardrobe.
This is 10-fold as we have many bookings every day. Doing a booking from start to finish is just one part of an agent’s job. There are many more skills required throughout the day. I could list them but I could go on and on…
Quirky Kidz: Managing expectations. This has always been the biggest message we try to send out to parents and young performers. We’re always very clear from the outset and never make any promises but the expectation of gaining opportunities, just because they are represented is always so high.
Time scales – anything from licence application deadlines, last minute auditions and call times. It is a round the clock job.
How does your perfect day finish?
Nevs: We sometimes have a glass of champagne on a Friday… Apart from champagne Fridays our perfect day would see all our booking forms signed and agreed with the clients!
Quirky Kidz: With a couple of brilliant job offers!
Congratulations to all the winners at this year’s awards. Looking forward to what 2019 has to offer!