A casting agency is a very exciting business to start for people who are interested the field of acting and entertainment. This is a guide on how to start a casting agency in South Africa.
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The primary role of a casting agency is to find good talent for production companies. Casting agencies are the ones responsible for doing auditions and finding just the right talent that is required by production companies.
The talent range encompasses extras, commercial actors, tv show actors and theatre performers. Casting agencies get to make money from commission, earning around 10% of whatever the actor is paid. This can be a lot of money, even from extras, casting agencies aren’t usually tasked with just finding one extra, they’re usually responsible for all the extras.
Each extra gets paid per hour, production time can take hours on end, thereby generating a lot of revenue for casting agencies.
This is not really something you can start with no prior experience; it will be incredibly difficult to make it work. The first thing you should do is to get some experience as a casting director. This will make it much easier to spot talented actors and you will also know which actors would work well for certain roles.
Experience not only helps you know the ins and outs of the job; it also helps you with networking. Networking is super important in this industry, it’s all about knowing the right people. Getting experience will make it easier to build up a list of contacts who will turn out to be invaluable when starting your casting agency.
Getting this type of experience may be hard, especially in a country like South Africa. The best way to go about this is volunteering to be the director’s assistant. This will give you as much knowledge but not as many contacts. It’s still a very good way to get started.
Register your business
A casting agency is a business like any other business, you need to make sure that it’s registered. Registering a business as a private company in South Africa currently costs R125. Your business will have a lot more credibility among other benefits.
You may also want to join the South African Casting Association (OSCASA), which provides guidelines and a regulatory framework for the industry.
Get operating premises
You will want to set up professional operating premises if you want to be taken seriously. It is completely possible to run this business from home but renting an office is much better unless your home is really beautiful and attractive.
You will need the premises to do most of your work like the actual casting, people will come to your offices for auditions. You don’t need much equipment to run this business except for the regular equipment used by most businesses. This is a computer, a business phone etc.
Market your casting agency
When it comes to a casting agency, your real customers are the production companies because they’re the ones that pay you. This is where you have to concentrate most of your marketing efforts. Unfortunately, you don’t reach most production companies by advertising on social media. You have to network.
This is where having industry experience becomes invaluable, it will make it easier to contact some of the producers you know to alert them about your business. The people you should network with is mainly the producers and the producer’s assistants. These are the people that will keep your business going.
Getting people to your auditions will be much easier, you can work with talent agencies or just do some digital marketing. The difficult part is getting hired by production companies, you will have more than enough people for the auditions.
This was a guide on how to start a casting agency in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.