Casting: Finding the right agent to represent you!
Finding work as an actor in South Africa can be a daunting task. Not only do amateurs face struggles daily when it comes to getting cast, but professionals do too. As a result, actors often require the assistance of a casting agent or talent manager whose job is to find them work.
Casting agents are people who are well connected in the industry and are responsible for representing top talent within the entertainment landscape. These include actors, singers, comedians, dancers, presenters, voice-actors and other ad-hoc media personalities. Their role is to liaise directly with production houses, directors, casting directors and producers who are looking to cast actors. In most cases, the casting agent will receive and disseminate casting briefs and audition notices to their qualifying clients. Depending on the agent, they may also put forward their top-tier actors for any upcoming productions.
While the South African film and television industry is relatively small when compared to the likes of Hollywood, it has grown exponentially over the last 10 years and continues to move in the right direction. This has brought with it a greater demand for fresh and new talent. This change in the industry has influenced more people to pursue a career on the red carpet. Established actors and aspiring ones are now feeling the push to be represented by a casting agent- who will help them move their careers forward.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of so-called casting agents out there who claim to make celebrities out of actors overnight, but there are only a few trusted names that are registered and accredited. This is not to say that new and smaller agents are a no go. It just means that actors should be aware of the growing number of scammers out there who may try to solicit money even before securing a gig.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Casting agents will always ask you for head shots and an updated CV.
- Credible agents do not go around looking for ‘new faces’.
- Agents often require actors to have a tertiary qualification and/or performing experience.
- Requests for topless or nude photographs is an immediate red flag.
Agents will request full length images and measurements, but never any explicit pictures.
- Webcam auditions is another warning sign. If you are unable to attend a casting call, your agent may request a video audition, known as a self-tape to be sent to the casting director. Anything other than a self-tape should be further assessed before making any submissions.
- Credible casting agents often have publicly listed contact information on their website. If an email ends with gmail.com, it is likely that the sender is not as reputable as they say they are. Run a google and social media check to confirm the validity of the claims made.
- Actors should never pay any money upfront. Registration and audition fees are not standard procedure in the industry and if an agent is asked to be paid for their services, they are most likely committing an act of fraud. Casting agents generally get paid a commission after a gig has been completed.
- Actors should always ensure that everything is in writing and a contract is signed. This is to protect all parties involved, legally.
- If a casting agency is posting frantically on social media with bad grammar and looking to sign new talent, it is advised to keep away. Many of South Africa’s top casting companies do not solicit applications for representations from the general public.
- Actors are always paid through a bank account. Never agree to accept payments in cash and always ensure there is a paper trail should a discrepancy arise.
According to the Personal Managers’ Association (PMA), these are the accredited members who are recognized as legitimate casting agencies currently in operation in South Africa.
*Please note that the following agents may not accept unsolicited applications for representation. The following information is provided without any guarantees*
4th Wall Management
Afro Celt Productions
Telephone: 011 482 1053
Telephone: 011 791 6813
Artistes Personal Management
Telephone: 021 685 1910
Bluestar Management cc
Telephone: 021 448 3098
Brumilda’s Academy & Agency
Telephone: 011 3276030
Telephone: 011 4670680
Telephone: 011 726 6076
Fran’s Artist Management
Telephone: 082 416 7039
Gaenor Artiste Management
Telephone: 011 726 7611
Intertalent (Pty) Ltd
Telephone: 27 11 787 5781/2
Telephone: 011 728 5684
Judy Phillips Management
Telephone: 011 447 9757
Leads Artists Agency cc
Telephone: 011 475 0923
Telephone: 011 268 6535
Telephone: 011 483 0472
Professional Kids Casting Agency
Telephone: 011 726 8136
Telephone: 011 036 5666
Thespians (Pty) Ltd
Telephone: 011 477 4012
Viclectic Artists Management
Telephone: 072 910 8922