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25-09-2014
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This thread evolved from a season model casting discussion thread.

Let's discuss all things about casting directors here.

Who are the major players?

What do they do?

Let's track their movements over time.

Let's start with a perfect explanation from marqueemoon on what they do:


Quote:
Originally Posted by FND74 View Post
Can someone tell me what does a casting director do actually? I know an agency go through hundreds, thousands, of girls to find the next catwalker du jour but in the end who decides who gets hired? Do they option the designers like 200 girls, and the final say of the 50 who walk comes from the brand? Or is it both? Or the brands leaves it up to the casting director to fill the show with whoever he/she see fit. And who decides who closes, who opens?

The reason I asked is because, from many model's thread I've been, when a model gets hired, people credit the director (Marsh' girls, Ashley Brokaw's girls, etc etc) but when she's not hired, people get angry at the designers. So what is the process really? It sounds very interesting to me. Can someone explain to me how the machine works?
It's a process of filtering and negotiation. The CD's job is more business than creative.

The casting director starts the season off by meeting hundreds of models during precasting. Each agency will send her their girls and within a few a mixture of new and old faces herd through the CD's office. Often top models will skip precasting altogether because the CD doesn't need any convincing to hire them.

During precasting, the model hands her compcard to the CD and walks for her. Typically the CD makes some notes for herself on the back of the model's card. Then an assistant takes photos of the model that are uploaded onto the CD's database. At the end of the day, the CD will sort through all the cards into piles, often YES, NO and MAYBE and possibly according to which shows she is casting. Some CDs are old school and keep their cards in binders divided by agency and show. They may flag girls for certain shows within those binders.

After precasting is over, the CD moves her office to the house of the first designer whose show she is casting. There she reaches out to agents to send in a number of models she saw during precasting (or didn't see if they're top girls). This number varies with the show but I'd say ranges from 50 to 150. The process is the same as during precasting except that the stylist (and possibly designer if it a smaller company) is sometimes present, models' digitals are printed out and stapled to their cards, and occasionally the dressers will try looks on chosen models. As casting goes on, a board is created of top picks with models' cards/digitals. The CD creates this board based on which models she thinks the stylist and designer will like best. Who has more more clouds, the designer or stylist, depends on the show. I've seen it go both ways, but typically the stylist's word is god. The stylist/designer and CD look over the board together and the CD adds to and subtracts from the board based on her client's wishes. At this point the stylist/designer will typically communication their vision for the show to the CD, "I'd like more fresh faces this season. These girls are looking too old."

After this meeting, the CD and her assistants reach out to the agents of the chosen models to check their options and negotiate rates. (That rate depends on the status of the model. A newbie typically gets about a grand to walk a show -- her agent receiving a 20% cut, while an established major model like Julia Nobis makes about 10 grand per show.) If the CD is given first option on a girl, they will put a colored dot on her card and schedule her for a fit or a fit to confirm. If they are given a second option, that means another designer has a first on her and the CD will have to wait or negotiate with that model's agent to see if they can turn it into a first. This is where things can get ugly and messy, as shows conflict with each other and fighting about options is common between agents and CDs. It is advantageous for a CD to have strong relationships with agencies because they are more likely to do her favors, like give her a top girl for a smaller show.

During fittings, the models who have made it this far will come in to try the clothes on. Sometimes if they are a poor fit, they will be pulled out of the show and another model will take their place.

Hope that answers your question.


Last edited by HeatherAnne; 26-09-2014 at 11:40 AM.
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26-09-2014
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Would someone mind going through the famous casting directors and what they are particularly known for in terms of casting? I have an idea but I'd like an actual explanation. That would be awesome!

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26-09-2014
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I have a question for everyone: Who is your favorite casting director and why? I'm curious to know of which CD is the most popular with members.

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26-09-2014
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^ Ashley Brokaw. Not because she is the most influential, but because I like her models and she's loyal to them.

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26-09-2014
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John Pfeiffer, no doubt. Also, I'm not familiar with Larissa Gunn, but I enjoyed all of her casts so far.

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26-09-2014
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Hedi Slimane isn't a CD but he might as well be. I don't always agree with his picks but I think he generally has a great, cinematic eye. What I like is he looks for a spark beneath the surface in his models. A lot of the models and real people he casts would work equally well on film. Maybe it's because he's also a photographer so he gets what makes a compelling subject. I also like the fact that he doesn't seem to give a fck about what models trend in other shows.


Last edited by marqueemoon; 26-09-2014 at 06:43 PM.
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26-09-2014
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James Scully is one I feel advocates for true inner beauty. And perhaps one of the few that still cares about presence and walk normally.

This season I've started to notice Piergiorgio del Moro's shows. I like his choices. I can't pinpoint a style yet but there's been shows I've asked myself who was behind it - turned out to be him.

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26-09-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilhelmF View Post
James Scully is one I feel advocates for true inner beauty. And perhaps one of the few that still cares about presence and walk normally.

This season I've started to notice Piergiorgio del Moro's shows. I like his choices. I can't pinpoint a style yet but there's been shows I've asked myself who was behind it - turned out to be him.
Yeah. I like the philosophy behind his work:

"To be able to tailor different casts for all of these different clients is the most fun part of my job. Iím from the old school ďa fashion show is theaterĒ world, and itís not about just one kind of bland model for every show ó itís about one girl being able to be different things to everybody, which is the hallmark of a great model."

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26-09-2014
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And this quote of his is just gold, such an accurate description of the changing face of the industry and the motivation behind casting choices:

"I would say Sept. 11 really changed the whole face of this business. Some things did not exist before then that I think have had a negative effect on the business. As a result of that event are celebrities, the internet, stylists, and jobs for trade. Now that models have lost the American fashion magazine covers [to celebrities], there is no longer a standard of beauty. I miss model covers. Celebrities are not inspiring to people in fashion. They are all captivating on film, but when you put them in front of a fashion camera, the photographers — and 99% do not want to shoot them — goes on autopilot, and you get nothing but a dead image of an average beauty in a gown.

When there were top models, you needed them for your shows; they called the shots and they did what they wanted so if they did your shows you were valid. Since there were no covers, stylists who were also not super keen on shooting celebrities needed new model fixes constantly, and with the hiatus of Tom Ford, glamour went out, and the Prada effect came in — just tons of prepubescent, underage girls, nameless faceless, and, jokingly, all exclusive. Though I thought this worked brilliantly for Prada, with the advent of Style.com, everyone could see the next day [which models] did what and every stylist just went bonkers trying to get these girls first, and copy what they did, which in my opinion only worked for Prada. The sad thing is none of these girls were very interesting or even remotely attractive in real life, but that did not stop stylists from forcing you to book them. [The stylist] then got bored [of that model] after one season, and then they were gone, and you started [that cycle] all over again. So it was no longer about building a girl’s career. It was about looking online and just trying to get what someone else had. And the few who became stars out of that era were the only girls who stood out because they had all the qualities of an old supermodel."


Last edited by marqueemoon; 26-09-2014 at 07:10 PM.
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28-09-2014
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