Blog I 5 Things I’ve Learned About Casting

By Alexia Macari-Skelly 
Casting Assistant @ Extras Ireland & The Production People
www.extrasireland.com I www.productionpeople.ie

7 ways

5 Things I've Learned About Casting

It’s been about two months now since I started working with Extras Ireland and The Production People (read my previous blog about being a Digital Intern here) – and in that short space of time I’ve learned so much. Casting is certainly an exciting and fast-paced world – sometimes a little stressful working to such tight deadlines but a good, exciting kind of stress! No two days are the same which makes for really interesting work and it’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of creating a new Film, TV show, Commercial or Music Video. I’ve been having a think this week about what I’ve learned so far and I’d love to share my thoughts with you.

1. Gift of the Gab

Communication in any job is key but especially in Casting. There are so many people you may be in touch with just for one project – Directors, Producers, Wardrobe, Extras Co-Ordinators, Photographers, Casting Directors, Actors, Extras, Models… It’s incredibly important to make sure you pass information on correctly and in a timely manner to ensure everyone is ready and confident to rock and roll!

2. Best ’til Last

One thing that I find interesting (and surprising) is how Extras, Actors and Models are often the last people to be arranged for a shoot. If you’ve ever wondered why you might receive Availability Checks with “ASAP” in the subject line that is exactly the reason. There can be so many people involved in a project from Production to Crew to Cast and as this can take time to finalize and schedule, it can sometimes be a rush to the finish line when organizing Talent. Luckily, we have lots of reliable and enthusiastic Performers on our database who we know and trust so it’s easy for us to book them at the last minute as soon as we know who our clients need.

3. Tidy House, Tidy Mind

We have over 3,000 Extras, Actors and Models on our database – so as you can imagine, that is a lot of CVs, Headshots and Showreels. These all need to be organised and ready to go for when a job comes in so we can pinpoint the right people for it. Thankfully, our Head of Casting Aislinn’s incredible organisation (and love of spreadsheets!) helps ensure that we have all the accurate info in the correct place ready to go.

4. Stay Current

Let’s be honest, we all have that one photo that we took five years ago that we can’t seem to change on our profiles. Although it may seem the best and most flattering to you, old pictures in Casting are a no-no. One thing I’ve learned is just how much a person can change even in the space of a year. Production wants to know straight away what you currently look like – they don’t want to find out the day of the shoot! So embrace your ever-changing features and always keep us in the loop.

5. Don’t Give Up

Casting is extremely competitive and a large number of people are considered for every role. As we send on our recommendations to Production of suitable Talent, we always have in mind who we would think would best suit the role. However, as our Extras, Actors and Models know, we never get to decide who gets a part unfortunately – the final decision will always rest with Production (or the brand if it’s a Commercial). It’s easier said than done I know – but not getting a part should never be taken personally. Criteria and requirements can be so specific and change so quickly, so if one job doesn’t go your way it’s important to keep your chin up and move on to the next one!


So there we have it – just 5 of the many, many things I’ve learned over the last couple of months. Of course, there’s so much more for me to learn and I’m excited to find out what’s around the corner!

If you’re in need of Cast for your next Production, get in touch. We’d love to help.
Simply email
info@extrasireland.com or call us on (01) 634 3112 and let’s see how we can collaborate.

Blog I 7 Ways Covid has Changed Casting

7 ways

7 Ways Covid Has Changed Casting

By Aislinn Ní Uallacháin
Head of Casting @ Extras Ireland
www.extrasireland.com

It’s been a tough couple of months. Our team and The Production People have been working remotely and haven’t been Back to the Office since March. Thankfully, most of my own work is done via email and over the phone so I’m lucky I’ve been able to continue to help productions cast their projects despite an unsettling time. Whether getting a head start on a project shooting a few months down the road or filming in innovative ways, the kinds of Talent requests coming my way have certainly changed.

Specifically, new factors have come into play when searching for the perfect Extra, Actor or Model for a job that wouldn’t necessarily have been considered before.
Some of these factors have included:
– sourcing Actors / Models in extremely specific locations due to travel restrictions
– sourcing Voiceover Artists with a professional home studio for remote recording
– sourcing Talent capable of filming themselves (perhaps living with a filmmaker)
– sourcing Extras who are happy to have their own home used as a shoot location


It’s certainly been a challenge but I’ve tried to take it all in my stride.
Yesterday, as Phase 3 of re-opening commenced, Screen Producers Ireland released an updated set of Production Guidelines to help Production Companies, Agencies and Artists to stay safe and navigate their way through a new world of work.
Of course, because Production has to change, Pre-Production has to change – and that’s where Casting fits in.

Below are some of SPI’s guidelines in relation to Casting and how we can uphold them.

1 Cast members and their agents should be informed and in agreement on working protocols at the earliest opportunity.
Absolutely. For any request that has come my way since restrictions were announced on Thursday 12th March, I’ve been sure to find out what safety measures will be in place on set. The safety of Cast and Crew is paramount to me and I’ll always provide clear instruction on this to our Talent.

2 Casting will require physical distancing and limiting numbers at casting sessions.
Traditional in-person Casting Sessions will take a little while to return I think. Over the past few weeks, I’ve submitted a huge amount of self-tapes for projects and have organised various virtual meetings between Talent and Production in place of them. In terms of Meetings, I know that both Productions and Actors have actually quite enjoyed these – a very different experience to a panel of people sitting behind a table and an Actor walking into the room. A virtual meeting can feel much more balanced and like you’re on equal footing.

3 Casting tapes should be viewed remotely.
Over the past few years, with the development of incredible camera-phones and online platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo, self-tapes have become a normal part of the casting process, allowing Actors in far-flung locations to be considered for top roles. Self-tapes have never been so important as they are now so Actors really need to make sure they know how to submit a good tape. Top tip – we need to be able to see you and hear you clearly!

4 Working with minors, or those in vulnerable groups should be considered on a case by case basis and limited or curtailed where possible.
I’ve seen a definite drop in requests for children and older people, understandably. Saying that, I do have two babies out on a photoshoot today, incidentally, with very strict measures and staggered call times in place. Only the client, photographer, baby and parent will attend and only the parent will have contact with the baby.

5 Extras and background artists should be limited in numbers to allow for social distancing. Where possible block booking a small group of returning extras may be useful (i.e. a returning ensemble), or booking family units.
As productions try to reduce their numbers on set, Extras are the logical way to bring numbers down. Booking family units for Acting / Extras work is absolutely a trend I’ve seen develop over the last few weeks so if you’re an Acting couple or a family of Extras, you may have a bit of an edge. I’ve been working on various shoots that call for performers from the same household – because we’re not automated and I really do know the Talent on our books, it’s not so difficult for me to co-ordinate, thankfully.

6 Looks and number of costume changes may need to be reduced/ simplified to accommodate the schedule, shoot day requirements and minimise interaction with Cast and Extras.
Over the past few weeks, Casting has sometimes revolved around wardrobe and who out of our pool of Talent has the kind of natural style that the shoot requires. It’s not unusual for Talent to be asked to bring their own wardrobe options to a shoot, but in terms of deciding who will be cast, it has definitely been an unusual part of the criteria of late.

7 If possible, all cast and crew should avoid public transport to get to work or to return home after work.
As well as specific locations, this has been a big change that I’ve seen over the last while. I’ve had a lot of requests in specifically for Talent who can drive themselves to and from shoots. Thankfully I have a huge amount of people on the books who can drive and don’t rely on trains and buses so it hasn’t been an issue.

yes
These are just some of the ways that the Casting work I do has been affected by Covid-19 so far. It’s certainly meant additional time and research on my part into the lives of our Talent to make sure they fit new criteria for a shoot. This is never a chore, however – I adore talking to Extras, Actors and Models and finding out more about them! Extras Ireland is all about PEOPLE and I’ll always do my absolute best to help both Productions and Cast to get through this period of adjustment in any way I can. For now, we’ll all endeavour to uphold the guidelines set out by SPI to keep everyone safe on set and will hopefully be able to move forward into larger scale projects as the months go on.

If you’re in need of Cast for your next Production, get in touch. We’d love to help.
Simply email
info@extrasireland.com or call us on (01) 634 3112 and let’s see how we can collaborate.

Blog I Back to the Office by Deirdre Ryan

YES

Back to the Office

By Deirdre Ryan
CEO @ Production People & Extras Ireland
www.productionpeople.ie / www.extrasireland.com

For the past three months, like most companies, our team have been working remotely and putting in trojan work under varying degrees of challenging circumstances to function effectively. All this while adjusting to a new work/life balance or probably more aptly, the new work/life integration. However, in taking baby steps back to ‘norm’ I popped into the offices of The Production People and Extras Ireland in Merrion Square yesterday, and although not sure what to expect, what I experienced was a very strange sensation of time standing still – a junction where the internal world of the past and the external world of the present converged.

The first thing greeting me was a pile of post in the communal hallway, and the familiar smell of the polished wood staircase leading to the top floor of number 11, where our offices are based. I didn’t see any other residents of the building on the way up but could hear some mumbled voices and keyboard activity behind closed office doors.

Just about to put the key into the latch to open up and I stop myself – realising that once I open the main door the alarm will go off. And I simply couldn’t remember the code. Panic moment as something I did automatically without thinking 3 months ago had been refiled into an internal ‘to be retrieved in the future folder’. Luckily, I had the code written into my phone so I unlocked the door and I dialled it into the keypad, still holding my breath however until the ‘disarmed’ sign appeared and the piercing screech of the expectant siren remained silent.


Beyond the door, the emptiness and silence scream louder than any alarm. Desks with no paperwork and chairs with no people. The usual banter of colleagues chatting, computers rattling, kettles boiling and phones ringing all eerily quiet, like a deserted village where all the inhabitants have left and only the buildings remain. I walk around the desks remembering the vibrancy and energy that resided here just a few short months ago. Time has stood still in our office as life and work relocated to our homes. Like our business and our industry, it had gone into unexpected hibernation.

The wall calendars display March, the office plants have dehydrated and withered (in stark contrast to the lush and vibrant greenery of the Merrion Square Park outside). I replace empty air fresheners with hand sanitisers and gel and turn on the TV to keep me company.


Opening the post, I find a hidden gem among the usual utility bills, statements and reports. It’s a handwritten postcard for Aislinn in Extras Ireland from one of the people she placed in an advert earlier in the year and it was delightful to read the personal note and the sentiments expressed. A unique human touch among the throngs of standardised typed documents. Hunger hits me after a few hours of concentration and I venture outside to see if anywhere is open to grab a sandwich and a coffee. Cars are parked but the roads are still quiet.


Half empty buses zoom by but the line of tourist coaches that once graced Merrion Square North are no longer visible. Children still play in the playground but only a few. People still relax in the park but social distanced apart and Oscar Wilde still looks on from his perch with an amused grin and no doubt, a sharp-witted comment.

Wandering around to a little coffee shop and restaurant called il Caffe di Napoli beside the DART station on Pearse Street, and I’m the only one in a shop that once bragged a regular queue out the door. Today it’s four staff and one customer and the result is a leisurely chat, not possible in the past due to time and service demands.


Again, the human interaction is a welcome respite from the eerie quiet of a world taking its first tentative steps back to the ‘norm’. On my return once again to Number 11, to climb the familiar stairs, I wonder if the office could talk, what would it say to me, as the first person it has seen in three months, since forced to cocoon? In my head, I hear it say, “Welcome back, I’ve missed you. Where are all the others? I kept the fridge going, the kettle is on, the computers are ready to fire up and the phones are ready to ring …… but I’ve missed the humans. Without the humans, I’m only brick walls and infrastructure – a village with no inhabitants, a body with no soul.” No 11 Merrion Square is one office that certainly looks forward to welcoming back its humans, its management, its staff, its clients, and its candidates.

The Production People and Extras Ireland are a people business, a company ‘Passionate about People’. The fact is, our people are our brand and we genuinely look forward to a full family reunion in the not too distant future – taking tentative but reassuring steps in the meantime to make it happen. We’ll continue to work remotely for the next little while, but our office is ready to welcome us back very soon.

If you’re in need of Cast for your next Production, get in touch. We’d love to help.
Simply email
info@extrasireland.com or call us on (01) 634 3112
and let’s see how we can collaborate.

Casting I Experienced Foot Model

CASTING CALL – Paid if Cast.

We’re looking for an EXPERIENCED Foot Model for a Photoshoot for a Medical Equipment Company. Date TBC but in Dublin in the next couple of weeks. We’re looking for a Female Model age 25-40 for this one.

You MUST have foot modelling experience to be considered for this – if interested, send Aislinn an email on info@extrasireland.com with ‘FEMALE FOOT MODEL’ in the subject line and she’ll send you on some more info on how to apply.

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.

Please share!

Casting I Babies 6-9mths for Photoshoot

Paid if cast.

Hi all – hope you’re having a great week so far and are keeping safe and healthy!

Things are starting to pick up in the world of casting and at the moment we’re looking for TWO BABIES age 6-9 months for a PHOTOSHOOT for a baby product company.

The shoot will take place in DUBLIN so you must be Dublin-based to apply (because of the current travel restrictions in place.) Production are flexible on dates but ideally the shoot will take place sometime in JUNE.

Of course, all possible measures will be taken to protect the health and safety of the baby and the parent / guardian who accompanies them in line with industry guidelines.

If you’d like more information, simply send Aislinn an EMAIL on info@extrasireland.com with ‘Baby Photoshoot’ in the subject line. She’ll be delighted to hear from you and can tell you more about how you and your little cutie can apply.

Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you.

Please share!