The third annual CDA Awards, celebrating the art of casting and honouring the work of the casting director, will take place on 15th May 2019 at BAFTA, London. To honour this occasion, we sat down with some of the sponsors of this year’s CDA Awards. Drop in on our chat with Branded Talent and BMA Artists.
Who Branded Talent and BMA Artists and what kind of artists do you represent?
Branded: Branded Talent is a dedicated commercials agency, representing all types of actors in all aspects of advertising, including TV commercials, print campaigns and online campaigns.
BMA Artists: BMA Artists was founded in 2013 and supplies diverse actors and artists to casting and film directors, productions companies, producers and creative agencies. BMA Artists have some of the most unique, creative, professional and experienced talent across the UK.
Why are you supporting the CDA Casting awards?
Branded: The casting process is constantly overlooked, especially within award ceremonies. The CDA awards are particularly imported to Branded as they cover a large section of commercial work, and as a commercials agency we feel this is an area in particular that has to be celebrated, as the casting process for commercial campaigns can be particularly challenging.
BMA Artists: Because they have been an example of how our industry should be managed and conducted. The members and founders of the CDA have been a pivotal part of the development and success of BMA Artists.
Why do you think casting is important?
Branded: There wouldn’t be a production without casting! In commercials particularly it is such a fast process with very short turnaround that casting directors have to have a very definite idea of what is needed, sometimes with very little guidance from the client. It’s a real skill to be able to find the perfect cast which can tell a story in 30+ seconds.
- See personalities
- Script approach
- To attain abilities and skills
- Improvisation skills
Why do you think it is important to value casting directors and how does this reflect on artists?
BMA Artists: Their advice and guidance are critical in the development of an agency and its roster.
What’s your all-time favourite film and why?
What’s your all-time favourite film and why?
How do you get to know your artists?
Branded: We meet every client face to face to discuss possible representation, this give us an idea of what they are like and how they come across, it also enables to discuss exactly what they do and don’t want to do. It is important as an agent to fully understand a client’s goals, and also stuff they don’t want to do or brands they don’t want to be associated with. We don’t want to send clients to auditions that puts them in an uncomfortable situation because we haven’t listened to them properly, no one gains from that.
- Meet and evaluate
- Screen tests with scripts
- Constant communication and relationship building
- Feedback where possible from casting directors.
What are your top tips for artists seeking an agent?
Branded: Do your research, when you contact the agent make it personal, why have you chosen to contact their agency in particular. Every agency is different and offers different things. It is a relationship at the end of the day, so you need to choose an agent you trust, and you feel understands what you are about and your career goals.
- Research the agency
- Be prepared to expect the unexpected (i.e. given a script and asked to improvise on screen)
- Listen and seek advice from other actors or casting directors
- Behaviour, commitment, attitude and professionalism
- Make sure they have the right clientele.
How do you prefer to be approached?
Branded: We prefer people to email, ideally sending over their spotlight link. We like to see people have done their research about us and given some details of why they have contacted us in particular.
How do you nurture and develop new talent?
Branded: It is our job as agents to create as many opportunities as possible for an actor. Especially in commercials, actors have to build strong relationships with casting directors, so they keep getting called back. It is important that we get them seen for the most suitable roles so they can show themselves at their best. Also, it’s important that they get the opportunity to audition as regularly as possible, so they continue to learn and are more prepared and experienced at the nest audition.
How do you help artists prepare for auditions and recalls?
- Getting as much info and tips from the casting director prior to the audition or recall
- Familiarise yourself with any slides or scripts
- Using the internet where possible to do research on the brand or previous productions
- Arriving early to the audition or recall and asking other actors what the audition or recall entailed
- Plan your journey and be early
- Be polite, bubbly and punctual to the casting directors.
What are the pressures of your day job that you find artists really just don’t get?
Branded: The pace of our day and the need to get things confirmed and booked straight away. Castings are always coming in for clients and we feel it is really important that we are able to confirm clients instantly, it is really important that clients keep us up to date with their availability so we can create opportunities as smoothly as possible. There is nothing worse than having pushed a client to be met having to cancel the meeting because they are now unavailable but haven’t told us. We can’t control when castings happen, but we will always to our best to try and work around availability if we know about it. I hate making casting directors wait for an actor to get back to us to confirm they can attend a meeting.
- Keeping your agency fully up to date with availability, lateness and so on
- Speed and urgency of responding
- Time restraints and deadlines
- The time and effort spent to promote an artist.
In your opinion do you think the advancement of self-taping is a help or hindrance in the current climate?
Branded: I think due to the speed of the casting process now self-tapes are a necessity, but a casting is still a job interview and you can’t beat meeting someone face-to-face to get a real idea of their personality and ability.
Do you have a standard way of working or do you tailor your management by the artist?
Branded: Every client’s needs are different, but generally it is all about communication. We can’t do our job if we aren’t talking to our actors and they aren’t keeping us up to date with any changes their end – most importantly their availability!
How does your perfect day finish?
Branded Talent: Being able to call a client to tell them they got the job! And then getting home in time to see my kids.
BMA Artists: With lots of actors and artists called in for auditions and castings.
Wishing all the nominees the best of luck at this years awards. Stay tuned for the winners post coming in May!
The 2019 CDA Casting Awards are also sponsored by Spotlight, Casting Networks, Quirky Kidz and Nevs Models.