It’s a crucial part of any models career. Before you hit the big time and have people begging you to work with them, you have to spend your time at castings. It’s the unglamorous part of the industry that no one really talks about so as a new model, understanding how a casting actually works is one of the best things you can do to prepare.
We caught up with Photographer and Director Brooke James to get the low down on how a fashion casting really work and everything you need to know to knock it out of the park.
Firstly, you have to know that there’s different kinds of castings you may go to.
“You can do an open or closed/request casting. An open casting is where you contact all of the modelling agencies and say send all of the available models-this is usually a long process and one I avoid. You can do a request casting where you select the faces you wish to see and the other option is cast-to-confirm-this is where you’re 90% sure on the face you want to use but you want to see them in the flesh to make sure they haven’t changed since you last saw them or their digi’s.” says Brooke.
If it’s an open call you’re going to, you’ll have to work a little harder to really stand out from the crowd and show the casters what’s unique about you. Chances are, if you’re called along for a request casting, your chances of getting the job are a little higher but as Brooke tells us, this is where it pays to have an agent who really knows and understands your skillset.
“I ask the agency if there’s anyone they think I’ve missed that matches the brief and send them along. Sometimes you get pleasantly surprised and end up booking the wild card.”
You should be keeping an open line of communication between you and your agent at all times but regular chats about work you want to get into that maybe you haven’t before as well as your ability to do so can see you getting asked to casting’s you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Knowing who’s running the casting can give you an edge as far as preparing for who you’ll speak to and walk for but as Brooke shares, it’s not always easy to know straight up who you’ll be meeting.
“The person who does the casting varies job-to-job; it could be a third party casting director, the brand themselves, the film director, photographer, stylist or a combination.”
If you can find out from your agency or the contact from the casting who has invited you along who you’ll be walking for, you can do a little research on them. A simple google search will give a sense of the style of the brand, stylist, photographer or whoever and can give you an idea of what they’re looking for so you can tailor your image to that specific casting.
So what’s going through the heads of the people casting you as you’re walking around the studio in front of them? For Brooke, it’s a considered process.
“When finding the right model for a job you start by looking at the brand, their image and then the concept for the campaign to get an overall vibe of the type of person you want to represent as the face of the brand.”
In other words, that research you should be doing about the job really does pay off. Knowing if you should be smiling, laughing or looking serious and elusive to fit the vibe of the brand can be the difference between getting booked and not being successful. Find old campaigns, interviews with the brand about their collections or the people involved and spend the night before the casting getting full of knowledge.
As for the nitty gritty details, Brooke shared; “The casting can take place anywhere and can last from 30secs to 15mins or more. I like to have a chat to get to know the model, see how they move in regular conversation which is helpful when shooting film. Then I take digi’s and/or a casting video.”
Finally, once you’ve done your best modelling for the day and are making your way home, the editing process begins.
“I make my selection or narrow it down to 2-3 models to send to the brand for us all to come to an agreement. Then contact the agency and see if the model fits within the budget and are available on the shooting day,” tells Brooke.
So, if you’re preparing yourself for your first round of castings, the key things to remember are to do your research, show your personality and diversity and above all be confident to face whatever is thrown at you!