Extras casting shouldn't be a burnout career anymore

It’s about time extras casting is reflected upon as a creative career, full of visionaries who simply love what they do.

Passion led us here image

Extras casting shouldn't be a burnout career anymore

If you read that and your immediate reaction was “Pft, sure” then you should know that you’re working in the wrong environment, for you. If you spend every day questioning why the job is so draining, or implementing makeshift and experimental ways of using glitchy systems, then you’re the visionary  —  not your leaders. You probably have skills yet to be harnessed extending beyond your creative eye.

There’s always been a fad within extras casting circles to fall into a state of hysteria when 11pm rolls around and you’re still at your desk, staring down the same tunnel that’s never felt like it had a light at the end of it. At this point, there’s no way you’re not getting an Uber home (on the company).

I know because scouting the people of London to put together the International Delegation of Witches and Wizards scene in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them remains to this day one of the most fulfilling tasks of my career. I was afforded maximum creative freedom by my friend and AD, Candy Marlowe. I loved every second of doing the part of the job that I’d signed up for 4 years previous — casting.

But when trapped between the four walls of my office, tormented by the manual processes over complicating tasks which should be simple and quick, I realised this was the dominating factor in my casting experience.

Interestingly the Delegation of Witches and Wizards scene is the only project out of tens-of-thousands of extras cast throughout my 5 year career that I can positively reflect on without being plagued by the manual processes I suffered through . Ultimately, one scene out of many is not enough, and enjoyment of creativity prevailed. This was the moment I realised that I’d hit my own extras casting (very thick) glass ceiling.

Passion led us here image

Businesses that have a revolving door of assistants, and squander human talent for processes which technology can effortlessly handle (more efficiently without the mental anguish) will continue to experience an incredibly high staff turnover, it’s that simple.

I spend a lot of time around casting company owners in the US, and one thing is clear. Those that haven’t yet embraced a smarter way of working are just getting by. They can’t quite think beyond tomorrow, or at most the end of this current project.

Amongst Extras Casting Directors I constantly see creativity and a pure love for the craft being decimated by processes putting unnecessary strain on their professional and personal lives, and it sits heavy on my heart. Maybe it’s because I went through the same hardship.

Since leaving Extras Casting I’ve found a way to be a part of the future of film production by working with We Got POP on ground breaking technology that’s revolutionizing how films and TV shows are made. It’s work that’s  reinvigorating my creativity and love for the craft, which first drew me to casting.

The time when extras casting can be reflected upon as a creative career, full of people who love what they do and get to have a life too, excites me.

That time is now thanks to POP technology revolutionizing production and casting. Now Extras Casting Directors can lean on technology to do the manual work, freeing them to unleash their real talent and creativity, and well that’s visionary to me.