Brooke's Blog

Producers:Send the SpecorContact Brooke

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    The casting is over, callback completed and your client has made its choices. You are ready to book your talent for the commercial. This is the most important step in the casting process as there are many details that need to be agreed upon so there are no problems down the production road. The devil’s in the details!

    Non-Union Bookings

    Producers: Here are some things to remember when booking NON-UNION talent:

    1. If you need a fitting, don’t assume it’s free. Talent must be compensated something for their time. Offering even $50 is sufficient.

    2. Be clear on how many hours you are booking the talent for. Generally an 8-10 hour day is acceptable. Anything over that should be stipulated and overtime pay should be considered.

    3. Once the talent is...

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    Think Outside the Studio Box

    Think Outside the Studio Box

    Spring is here, summer’s coming. The weather is prime for shooting outside in NYC. It’s also a prime time to do street casting, outdoor sessions, and castings just about anywhere because casting technology allows us to go mobile and be there.

    In the past, street casting, outdoor sessions, and casting at on-site venues were time consuming and casting rates were exceptionally high. We needed to record to a card, upload all the videos and then download them to post. Not anymore!

    Introducing “Casting Anywhere” by Brooke Thomas Casting

    Brooke Thomas Casting can now take on your street casting, outdoor and onsite sessions for even lower rates than a traditional studio session. New casting software and technology...

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    George Costanza’s hand modeling career was short lived.

    I often cast commercials that need SAG hand models. Yep, in the casting world they’re called “hand jobs.” Producers will often ask me range of questions about a hand modeling job, so here are some typical questions-and-answers that can help you as a producer get the hand job done.

    Q: Are hand models required to be paid when they audition?

    A: Yes. Under the SAG commercial contract, all hand models required to audition must be paid for the audition. This rule does not apply to non-union jobs.

    Q: What is the current rate for SAG hand model auditions?

    A: The SAG hand model pricing has different rates and rules governing both the audition process and rate. The current rate for a hand...

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    Producers & Ad Agencies: Do you know what the “creative fee” is and when it applies for actors who audition for your commercials?

    My connections to the NYC improv scene have proven beneficial in giving agencies and directors top-notch funny actors and rising stars to audition for their spots. Improv comedians are sought for commercials precisely because of their creative flair they bring to an audition. Indeed, some of their improvised antics in the reading of commercial copy can spark new directions for an agency or the director.

    These unsolicited, spontaneous sparks of creative impulse on the part of the auditioning improv actor reading copy is a wonderful value-add in the casting process. However, producers who are expecting...

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    As a casting director, a question I hear often from producers is “How much should I pay for non-union talent in a commercial?” This is asked on nearly every non-union job I bid on. The simple answer is there are no standard rates for non-union work, the choice is yours. But in a more nuanced consideration, here are 5 things to consider when budgeting that can help you determine how much to pay...

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    What's my availability for a casting? That's usually the first question I get from producers when they call. They share the production detail specs and I invariably ask them the questions below. These questions are a good checklist for producers to know before contacting a casting director for a commercial. Here you go... 

    1. Where will it be running? (eg. national network, cable, internet, etc.)
    In many cases this will determine the quality of talent that will come in for the casting.  Let's say you are producing a fast-food commercial with union talent that is running only in the South and is holding a fast-food conflict.  Any actor that books your spot would be taken out of the running for a national...

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    When a producer contacts a casting director to cast talent for a TV commercial, there are two types of information exchanges. The first is what I characterize as a "preliminary spec" and it includes the production details that allow a casting director to give a cost estimate for the job. This includes the basic requirements of the casting, like the project/brand name, shoot date, number of actors, union or non-union and the like. 

    The second exchange is about the talent.  Age, gender, ethnicity, personality type, a visual look, and even special skills of the talent is understood here in the context of the brand and the creative vision of the director for the commercial. Everything from the objective talent requirements to the...

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    I cast this spot for Optimum TV. It's inventive, funny, and makes the point about the product. But what I love about the spot is that almost all of the principal characters who booked the job are past students of mine in the "Brooke & Mary" class for commercial actors. Check it out. Props to the humor of comedian Coleman Green who's pretty funny in pink.

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    When producer Cathy Cooper first contacted me about casting Metro PCS she laid it on the line. "This job is going to be huge.  Are you up for it"? How hard could it be I thought? And so began one of the largest commercial casting jobs I've ever done. France-based Luc Janin, a highly talented director, had not yet done a job in the States so I was to be his first casting director to work with in the US.  He and I had several video chats prior to casting so his vision for the commercials and the scope of the casting were clear.  

    For three different commercials, I found and cast over 75 principals with many different and unusual skills.  Flex dancers, ping pong players, runners, musicians, dirigido...

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    I met photographer Kristin Hoebermann back in the nineties and we've been friends and professional peers since. There are many great photographers in New York who do excellent work for actors seeking headshots and Kristin is one of the best. 

    Indeed, I had Kristin photograph me for the homepage pictures of the Brooke Thomas Casting site. I'm not comfortable, at all, with my picture displayed so prominently on this website, but in the end I bought in to this strategy as it aligned with communicating what BTC is about: experienced casting with responsive service and personal involvement from start to finish - from me. Casting is a service business and it all comes down to people performing the work, so why not showcase to producers and directors the casting director as much as the finished work of the commercials? Besides, most of the credit for those finished commercials...

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