Casting for talent


We have a new client who is looking for someone different for their website.

Casting, (or even buying anything today) is interesting in that so much of the decision making goes on before you even meet your talent face to face or touch the product – you see that’s the web – we search, we read, view, compare and then decide to progress further towards personal evaluation.

Emma Law

Emma is a gorgeous, very natural and beautiful young woman from New Zealand who has just moved across to Sydney to further her modelling and acting career.

I came across Emma on a casting callout for a Corporate Coffee presenter for our CLIVEvideos and then again on another lingerie/ fashion client call out.

The whole casting process is time consuming – at the extreme of “casting auditions” think Idol or Dance where many clearly untalented singing hopefuls waste everyones time.

In some ways it’s a bit like when you get a million internet search results and then spend minutes searching for your gold.

Clear Objectives

Fact is, at the end of the day, I’m primarily focused on my customers needs, the questions I ask in terms of any auditioning talent are –

  • Will this presenter/ model make my client look good, therefore make us and our sales partners look good?
  • Do they have the potential to generate more sales?- the “X” factor.
  • Is this presenter someone we can use on an ongoing basis – do they have something different to bring to the table?
  • Can they perform and deliver a new script/ image conistanty to camera in a couple of takes.
  • Are they easy to work with? We have a no dick-heads policy. Time is too short.
  • Are we happy to put them in front of our clients and our clients clients.

The Casting Process

You can just use an agency who take their 10-20% cut or DIY on the web with talent websites like oz model, model mayhem, AT2 and Starnow.

Whichever site the process is pretty much the same.

  1. Write a clear brief for what you are looking for.
  2. You submit your call out
  3. Applicants apply.
  4. Shortlist
    • The first thing I look at is their reply – did they respond to the initial brief? From experience 30% don’t even read the details of the job – so they are scratched immediately.
    • Next I’ll check their photos – are the shots professional? I’m looking for a combination of plain head and body shots then some creatives. Keep some of them real – photoshopped images take up everyones time.
    • Very quickly you can determine if they model/ presenter/ actor. I’ll maybe read a few more details – scratch anyone who’s not what we’re looking for.
  5. From there I’ll shortlist – at this stage I’ve maybe had a look at their show reel (this should be no more than a minute). Many show reels are weak, poorly edited and do more harm then good.


On the day typically 30% won’t even turn up for scheduled auditions. There are a few possible reasons for that – our studio location is a bit out of town but generally a bit like tradesmen quoting – it’s time intensive for both parties and only a remote chance of success.

  • 20 shortlisted at 15 mins per audition is 1/2 day.
  • From those 20 we may get 1 goodie

Then you have to put them in front of clients and make sure they deliver.

Back to Emma

Although she didn’t get the corporate coffee presenter job I was impressed not only with her beauty (which is a fundamental for most modelling jobs) but more in the fact she already had her own website – Emma had already made an effort to differentiate, to begin building her personal brand.

Moving forward

  • Use CLIVE to add Emma to her website – this would save buyers a massive amount of time.
  • Add these CLIVE clips to talent portals like Starnow, AT2 and model mayhem.
  • Provide ability to run Emma CLIVE demos on potential clients website.

The journey begins – stay tuned.


Ex publican, photographer, musician, entrepreneur and Head of Digital for the Cronulla Sharks.