Our database currently contains upwards of 20,000 actors, circus artists, dancers, models, sportspeople and extras.
A database of this size often comes as a surprise to our clients. They are used to an extras agency having a database of this kind of size but the added incorporation of actors and performers can sometimes confuse them.
And, of course, they are right. Systems such as these, used in Hungary and various other countries in the region, can appear a little unusual and have in the past led to the kind of confusion that has damaged the industry.
One of the most important tasks that we face is to integrate various working habits. Approaches that work need to be built in, while what can’t be imported needs to be realigned in a way that leads to the best result in the given region.
As with all expeditions into the unknown, there are a great deal of obstacles to overcome and we, too, have been forced to face a good few of them as we walk off the beaten track and cut our own way into the undergrowth. There isn’t the time or the space here, but please allow us to outline one particular “situation” that we often find ourselves facing.
In our opinion, one of the worst things to happen to the profession was the introduction of mass castings involving a large number of agencies.
Commercial and film productions coming to Hungary began to use their own casting practice on projects here. The English casting system is typically based on a large number of agencies of various sizes and, when a large casting comes along, these agencies send their people in. As each agency only tends to work with a limited number of actors, it is perfectly understandable that a number of agencies work together under the direction of the contracted casting director.
The system in Hungary, as we mentioned earlier, developed along completely different lines and so that is why this method cannot be adopted for use here in its standard form as it not only undermines the project but also disrupts actors and confuses clients. It tends to work for a while but very soon starts to splinter.
One problem is that the giant agency databases have some crossover and this often leads to actors being called quickly rather than efficiently. This not only leads to awkward but also amateur situations. The approach saying that “something’ll get caught in the net” only ever undermines the work of those agencies aiming to do a proficient and professional job.
The most painful aspect of all, perhaps, is that a number of talented people are turned away by such an approach when they come into contact with this type of casting and see that diverse and conflicting characters have been called for the same role. This, in turn, leads to a loss of faith not only in the project but all those involved, and loss of talent in this manner is a great loss to us all.
We spend a great deal of our time working to tempt such individuals back to the process and reassure them that if we call them to casting, it is because we really do consider them to be suited for the role based on our informed interpretation of the director’s desires and client’s aims.
It is exactly for the reasons described above that Banner Casting only very rarely agrees to do mass castings with a large number of agencies as we simply do not have faith in the process. We are not willing to put our registered actors and performers through such an ordeal. We have faith in our casting directors and their ability to skilfully interpret a brief and follow the latest trends or make a bold move in an unexpected direction.
We know that our casting directors know exactly who they are calling for casting and why.
This seems like the perfect place to thank all those producers, directors and production managers, without whom the making of these changes would still only be theory, as we know that the only way to decide on the path to take is by working in close cooperation with one another.
Here are a few of our friends from the database...