When I first had a meeting with Twofour about Casting House, they weren't convinced we really had anything to offer. Their casting was going OK and did they really need someone telling them that it could be done better?! And what was all this internet advertising anyway? Just 4 months later their Head of Formats, Ana de Moraes wrote this.
So what changed their mind? Fortunately a BBC Two show came up that needed two weeks development to find a contributor or two to help impress the commissioners. So Twofour took the opportunity to test us out.
After the first week, we delivered 10 options, two of which were eventually selected for the final cast! Twofour were impressed, as was the BBC, and we were immediately given a further 6 weeks to cast 10 stellar contributors for the series.
We have cast trickier projects, this show needed middle aged people thinking of selling up their homes in the UK and moving to start a new life in Italy. However, our advertising meant that we had a huge flow of potentials. In 8 weeks we had over 800 applications and ended up with a short list of over 30 contributors.
So many applications would often take a large amount of people-power and time to process. However, as they had come through our website and answered a few key questions, we were able to cherry pick the best applications to respond to. I regularly remark that the cost of casting is talking to the wrong people. At Casting House we try and reduce this to a minimum.
As Ana points out, above, the fact that applicants are also responding to a targeted advert also means that the numbers of TV wannabes is reduced and the narrative quality of the applications is high.
Some aspects were tougher, we pushed hard to ensure that there was ethnic diversity in the cast and this is an area that we are continuing to focus on.
In the end the cast was finalised after a spend of under £15,000 with Casting House. I also believe that the production will have made other savings as Casting House was brought on at the very beginning and no series producer or directors were brought onto the project until the series was close to being cast.
Casting House does approach casting in a different way and that can be disconcerting, but it is working in the three most important areas. It is faster, it gets great contributors and it is cheaper. What's not to like!
For more information on how Casting House can help your production get great contributors or how it could save your production or company money, please call Charlie on 01908 681 141.