Who Are Our Casting Directors?
Our main Casting Director is Chris Snode. After retiring from his third Olympics as Britain’s first World Champion Diver, Chris made a name for himself in the TV Commercial World as UK’s first specialist Sports Casting Director. Using his international sports contacts, Chris found success in giving athletic individuals a chance to act/model. In 2010 Chris’s son, Nik Snode, who previously attend Sylvia Young’s and was an actor dancer in major London West shows, joined the team. He specialises in casting dance, model and acting roles. Chris Snode Casting’s own casting directors are able to cast underwater, modelling, dance, acting, stunt & wires, sport and street castings.
What Qualities Does A Good Casting Director Possess?
Here at Chris Snode Casting, our casting directors are experts in their field and are critical. They see deeply into the creative’s dreams to come up with solutions far beyond original expectations. Employing our casting directors at the early stages of production is probably one of the best financial decisions any director-producer team can make. Often this decision is the most rewarding one artistically as well. We believe casting a TV Commercial, Film or Photoshoot is an art form, in and unto itself. Our casting directors immerse their heart and soul in every project rather than just see it as another job. That is why we contributed to 26 TV commercial awards across three continents one year alone.
What Does A Casting Director Do?
The casting director is the gate keeper. They determine the talent needs of a production, and will audition, interview, and select the most suitable talent for television, radio, film, and stage productions. At Chris Snode Casting, we also maintain files on performers and sports people, and work as a go-between for agents, coaches, clubs, and a production’s director. We also assist and advise in contract negotiations. We regularly research and attend productions, performances, events to stay informed regarding the available talent across most spheres we cast. We are experts in our field and are excellent problem solvers.
One of the first things a casting director does is review the treatment or script and makes notes about the variety of its casting requirements, and all the roles it has. These include lead, minor-speaking, non-speaking (including extras), and action or specialist roles. The casting director will also discuss with the director or producers their preferences, vision, or requirements for the cast.
Casting directors will work with artist’s agents, agencies and other groups to create a pool of potential candidates. For lead roles and instances where a director has already picked his or her preferred person, casting directors will contact the chosen individual (usually through their agents), to see if they would like to work on the production, and if their schedule will allow it. Casting directors sometimes schedule readings or call backs with chosen talent so the director can get a feel for whether the person will suit the role.
Why Are Our Casting Directors Unique?
Agencies, Directors and Producers have faith in Chris Snode Casting because of the depth of experience and pooling together of world class expertise. Casting is not easy and a production’s success can hinge on finding the right talent under the pressure of tight deadlines.
Chris Snode continues to work for the BBC and Euro Sport as an Olympic and International diving commentator. This has aided him to continue expanding his exhaustive expert contact list, covering top commentators across every conceivable sport throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
An example of how Chris’s contacts have been essential was two years ago when a client need a pair of one handed handstand balancing skaters with beards. After an exhaustive worldwide search and finally through his international skating contacts, Chris finally found the talent in a small town in Russia. Born out of that talent find was the award winning Rekorderlig TV Commercial.
No other casting director or agency has built up 30 years of Worldwide contacts like Chris Snode Casting. We are the only comprehensive Worldwide Sports Casting Company.
What Types Of Castings Do Our Casting Directors Undertake?
Anything to do with Sport, Models, Actors, Street, Underwater, Dance and Stunt/Wire. Especially when casting sport, we organise “Action Castings” so the talent can prove their competency. We have our own casting studio, underwater studio, and gyms to cast trampoline, acrobatics and aerial wire castings. Castings are uploaded to a dedicated private casting site that the Director, Producer and Agency can view from anywhere around the world.
Casting Director Advice
1. Create a Casting Plan
For the purposes of the checklist, we’re going to assume you’ve already have received a creatives treatment or screenplay to work with. If it’s your own work, you’ll know better than anyone how the characters look in your mind’s eye and who will be suitable to portray them in the real world. If not, sit down with the client and draw up casting profiles for each of the lead roles. The profiles should include:
- Age range (can be extremely variable depending on the project)
- Height and weight
- Distinctive characteristics (unusual hairstyles, tattoos, etc.)
- Special skills (such as dancing, singing or the ability to perform stunts)
It should be noted that, at this stage, you only need to focus on the leading roles. More often than not, actors for the smaller parts are selected from those who auditioned for larger parts but, for whatever reason, weren’t successful for those roles. As an additional note we always try to convince the client to consider the diversity aspect, including mature, and disabled talent.
2. Simplify Treatment for the Talent
The character profiles are to help all team members involved in the casting process figure out what kind of talent you’re looking for. But they’ll need some embellishment for those on the talent side. You’ll want to keep your character breakdowns short and snappy, with a few choice adjectives to help give the talent an insight into the character (and help them figure out if they’re suitable for the part). They would often take this form: CHARACTER FORENAME / GENDER / AGE RANGE / ETHNICITY (if applicable) / CHARACTER DESCRIPTION / SPECIAL SKILLS.
Character Breakdown Example:
Moira – FEMALE. 40-50. White. Moira is a strict and intimidating Irish school headmistress who hides her alcohol addiction from her students. Must be able to sing.
3. Put Out the Casting Call
Once you’ve got your character breakdowns all set, you’ll need to get them in front of the eyes of prospective talent. We consider where is appropriate to post out. Often social media is a brilliant way of getting the brief out. We also work with industry directories such as Mandy, Backstage, Casting Networks, Spotlight etc. Some of these services require registration and not all are free (at least for the more premium versions of the service). But even the local portals of Craigslist can yield some great talent.
How to deal with casting calls that you receive via email. Bear in mind that you’ll probably get an influx of emails from talent; keep your personal account from being swamped by setting up a Gmail account (or similar) which can be used as a dedicated inbox for the project.
4. Set The Stage
When the candidate enquiries start rolling in, you’ll need to organise an audition day. This is the part which will test your casting director and organisational skills to the extreme. Firstly, you’ll need to book a space in which to host auditions. We’ve previously covered a list of places to start your search, but bear in mind that you’ll ideally need:
- A large room in which to host the auditions themselves, with tables and seating for the casting team. There should be space outside of this room, with seating, where the talent can wait (especially if things are running late). We offer basic catering facilities to make tea, coffee and lunch for particularly long audition days. A function space that comes with its own security personnel or buzzer entrance system is beneficial.
- Some sort of registration desk where a team member can greet actors as they arrive.
- With an audition space secured, email (or call) all parties interested in auditioning. Include the location, precise time they’re expected, and anything they’ll require on the day (such as identification or their ‘side’ – a copy of the scene they’ll be performing if you choose to send them one ahead of time).
5. On the Day
Needless to say, you’ll want to arrive at the space early to get all set up. You’ll want to bring:
- An overview of the day’s running order.
- A list of the Talents’ names (with copies to give to security/receptionist staff).
- A stack of every actor’s resume, aligned with sections of the script you’d like them to read.
- A standard form for actors to fill out on arrival to gather contact info, agent details and any other information relevant to the project.
- Recording equipment so you can view back the auditions later. You’ll need permission from the actors before you record them. This can simply be a tick box on the aforementioned registration form.
While the casting director is in charge of calling the shots here, input from the director and other production members is highly important given that they’re the ones who will ultimately be working with the talent. Make sure you allow for enough time in between auditions to review the performance and actor with the team. This will also counteract the ‘sea of faces’ effect that is common with a packed audition day, making it hard to recall individual actors at the end.
To check out some of our commercials click here.
For all enquiries please contact the Chris Snode Casting Office: +44 (0) 208 771 4700 Mobile: +44 (0) 7770 994 043 Email: email@example.com