by Casting Director, Terry Berland
The Relationship between the Casting Director and the Agent Directly Relates to Talent
There are many relationships involved in getting you an audition. One of those relationships is the one between the casting director and the agent. Believe it or not, even in this digital age where we, the casting directors, do not speak to agents often, it still takes a special relationship to keep things running smoothly and to be able to work in synchronicity.
The casting director first gets the wording of the breakdown from the production company and then, we put it out to the agents. Many times, from our experience working with agents, we know we have to tweak the wording to elicit the submissions we want.
There are three elements that make up our good relationships.
Taste. CDs usually see a pattern to a particular agent’s submissions. Some agents seem to be on target with certain CD’s particular tastes, while others are completely off base. Casting directors have good relationships with agents whose taste in submissions they like.
Familiarity. When submissions come through from a new talent agency, I wonder who the agent is – what is his background – do I know him from another agency – will I like his taste and therefore, will I trust that I’ll be getting “good” submissions? When the agent from the new agency calls the casting director to introduce himself, a relationship starts immediately, the result being that when the name of that agency pops up next time, the casting director will take special notice of the submissions.
Trust. There are several reasons why a CD will trust an agent. We like their taste in talent, they make our lives easier by submitting notes when invited to, someone answers the phone when we call, conversations are not always from their cell phone while they are running errands, and there is clear communication regarding avails and bookings.
Keeping track of and securing the dates takes a trust factor between the agent and casting director. Avails have to be tracked. Following that, the booking can be confusing because many times the dates are not pinned down right away. There can be one booking date, while still holding a range of dates. The reason this occurs is that there are different locations that are not secured yet for different vignettes.
I have talked to several agents and they have all mentioned the same thing. Relationships build trust, and trust is the cornerstone of better communication. When they have a personal relationship with a casting director, they both feel more comfortable with one another. They know a casting director will taketheir suggestions more seriously and the casting director knows the agent will always be honest and upfront with them. This equals more audition times.
Relationships and trust are developed over time – through the pitch calls agents make, the lunches or dinners they invite the CD to and acknowledgement of appreciation for the year of activity or a special booking. Agents say that even though a relationship has been established, they still have to be vigilant about keeping their eye on the ball – being consistent and professional.
Good relationships between agents and casting directors can only help the talent. Good relationships create a strong team for you.
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Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera, television, voice-over, and hosting. Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and Television Festival. Her former casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has lent to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development and is the co-author of the how-to industry book,”Breaking Into Commercials.”