Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ithaca Casting: A Social Networking Site for Casting

While majors in the Park School are notorious for the minimal amount of gen-ed's they require, we Television/Radio majors need to take a business class in order to graduate. Having forgot this and scrambling to find a half-way decent course to take last minute this semester, I picked up "Intro to Business." For the final, we are required to get into groups and come up with a business proposal. For my project, we decided to create a proposal for an Ithaca-based casting social network site. I figured this might be of interest to this audience and would welcome any idea for improvement.

One of the biggest issues we as student filmmakers face is finding and organizing actors. I know on my own productions, actors have created huge problems in the time management and scheduling of projects. While holding individual auditions, trying to steal the illusive casting DVDs that keep changing hands, and begging friends to make time in their own schedules to act in our films have worked out in the past, I have always felt there should be a more reliable and structured way of getting decent actors to commit to film projects. And I am sure I am not alone in this feeling.

Ithaca Casting (a tentative name) would be an Ithaca-based social networking site, created to connect local filmmakers with local actors. Both student and local filmmakers can create project pages where they can describe their needs and schedules. Actors can create profiles where they can upload their reels, describe their experience, and include their availability. Actors will also be able to post audition tapes and comments on filmmakers' project pages. Think of Ithaca Casting as the beautiful love child of Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Kickstarter.

There are a few big projects that have used similar approaches to find talent. The Queen Extravaganza is looking for talented musicians to perform with the surviving members of the band for the celebration of Queen's 40th anniversary. Interested performers can post auditions tapes to their website to win a chance to perform in the show. Fox's Glee is using a similar format to find new talent for their show as well.

While my project is proposing that members pay a monthly or annual fee to be able to access the website, it's still up for debate. Are there any other elements you would like to see in such a site? Any other features you would think that would make the casting experience a little friendlier?


An interesting article on this sort of idea: Social Media is Changing TV Casting - thedefectorsblog.com

1 comment:

  1. I am really glad you are thinking about this, and hope that you go through with it. I believe that it is not only an excellent idea but that it may in fact become a viable business proposition that can even spread to other college towns as well. I personally don't think that people should pay a monthly fee. That would discourage the majority of potential users. But a fee based on actual results would probably work well. It is a matter of testing it for a few semesters. One of the first things you should do is to build a good portfolio of actors with bios and perhaps some audition samples to start. Keep us posted about this idea if you go through with it. If not someone else will!:-)