Alfred Hitchcock once said about casting: “Disney has the best casting. If he doesn’t like an actor he just tears him up.”
Casting is one of the most difficult and most essential parts of a TV production. You can have the best idea, script, production team, but if the audience doesn’t engage with your cast, the show won’t be successful. But where do you find these compelling individuals that make your audience continuously come back?
In Berlin, for example, there is a street famously known as Casting Allee where aspiring TV personalities like to drink their Latte Macchiato. But don’t worry, thanks to the world wide web, there are easier ways to find the right contributors for your show.
In 2009, German production company UFA introduced their online casting portal “Your Chance”. Users can register for free and apply for different castings by submitting a video. It’s not limited to acting, but also includes fashion, music, sport, comedy and so forth. Every talent gets a chance.
Now, sister company Fremantle Media UK has taken it a step further. They recently launched a new talent sourcing method for their flagship production Britain’s Got Talent called “BGT: Star Scouts”. From now, everybody can be a Star Scout and maybe the next Simon Cowell by submitting videos of talent they have found online. And, if their nominated act happens to win Britain’s Got Talent in the end, the person who suggested that talent wins a £10,000 cash prize.
I assume each of us would love to win a cash prize like that and most of us have come across some amazing talent on YouTube or other online video platforms, so I suppose the casting entries will skyrocket. But how do you manage that many applications?
At Mipcom 2012, Israeli development and distribution company Armoza Formats presented their casting platform “Etribez”. It combines an easy online registration system with a diverse candidate management environment that includes social profiles and creates an organised workflow. Big shows such as The Amazing Race, Master Chef, and Wipeout already use it and it seems like the way forward in terms of casting campaigns for non-scripted productions of a large number of candidates.
It will still not be as simple as Disney’s casting. But by including the wisdom of crowds in the talent scout process and using new casting tools, Casting 2.0 makes the life of a Casting Director much easier.