By Aislinn Ní Uallacháin
Head of Casting @ www.extrasireland.com
Over the last few uncertain and challenging weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I do what I do. As an Actor myself for years, I worked in various side jobs because they allowed me to support myself while still having the opportunity to attend auditions, rehearsals and shoots. Three years ago, I felt an overwhelming urge to step away from Acting into another area of the industry – Casting. I’d produced and directed projects in the past and it was always my favourite part of the process. Luckily for me, this led to a fantastic year with Ali Coffey Casting and two years in my current position as Head of Casting at Extras Ireland. Though it was a difficult decision to make, it’s one of the best I’ve ever made. Here are just 5 of the reasons why…
Been There, Done That
Having been an Actor myself for years and experiencing all the ups and downs of that both in terms of finance and self-esteem, I really do genuinely care about Extras, Actors and Models. I respect their ability to put themselves out there to be judged on the way they look, the way they talk, the way they walk, the way they behave – such personal things. I’m well aware from working with other agencies myself that you’re sometimes just treated as a number and not necessarily as a person, often very much pushed aside and kept in the dark about what’s going on. I want to be someone who is honest and open with Extras, Actors and Models so that they feel valued and respected. If you’re in need of some pearls of wisdom about being an Actor from my own experience, read my General Advice for Actors post – I hope it helps.
A Split Personality
My brain very much functions in two ways – very organised and logical on one side (loving a good spreadsheet!) and creative and thoughtful on the other. I feel like this kind of work caters to both sides of my brain and that my need for stability/routine is fulfilled as well as the chance to be creative, experimental and spontaneous. I don’t think I’ve experienced that in any other work I’ve done so I appreciate that hugely. Every project is a new adventure!
Making a Masterpiece
I know myself from experience that Casting can make or break a project and it’s a pity when it’s broken due to off Casting. One miscast performer can bring a whole production down even when everything else is absolutely perfect. I want to help people to make the best piece of art possible and to feel like I’ve had a part in bringing the whole thing together for them. I want to work with creative people and help to create wonderful things. Knowing that you’re a part of the Irish TV, Film and Commercial landscape is very special.
I’ve had a LOT of jobs – admin, ushering, teaching, promotions, tourism … the list is endless! I’m an incredibly hard worker – it’s in my blood! So much so that I’ve sometimes felt unappreciated considering how much work I do on my own time and off my own bat. Not so with Extras Ireland – I feel very much appreciated by Colleagues, Clients and Talent. That’s a massive motivation for me so thank you! Also, I probably have a healthy work/life balance for the first time in my life – I spent my twenties absolutely working my fingers to the bone. While I still want to work hard, I want a life too.
Keeping it Positive
The thing that I like the most about the work I do is that essentially you’re doing a good thing and you’re making people happy – that gives me huge satisfaction. For Performers, they’re so delighted when you tell them they got a role – it’s not just about getting a job; you’re dealing with people’s hopes and dreams and that’s a very delicate thing. The best feeling in the world. And for Clients, I just love when I send over suggestions of people for their project and they come back with a response saying that the options are amazing. It makes me really happy to know that I’ve helped them find the right person and made their job that bit easier.
So there we have it – just 5 of the reasons I love working in Casting. Of course, it’s incredibly hard work and can be stressful at times trying to get everyone organised for shoots but it’s such a lovely job overall. I feel so extremely lucky to have a job I enjoy so much and I’m delighted I made the leap when I did. I’m living proof that you should never be afraid to go after what you want.
If you’re in need of Extras, Actors or Models for your next Creative or Commercial Project, get in touch. We’d love to help. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on (01) 634 3112 and let’s see how we can collaborate.