Actors & Performers
The Film London Directory provides details of a range of companies that can help you find actors and performers for your work (see 'Agents & Diary Services').
Firstly it is important to decide what you require from a performer to help you decide where best to look. For instance if the role is non-verbal and more about movement it might be best to approach dancers or models for the role. If the role is more theatrical and verbal then good place to find new and emerging actors is in fringe and local theatre productions.
Be sure to recognise the contribution of performers to your project and make sure to budget their expenses and payment. Payment is dependent on the scale and nature of your project and the performers reputation and experience. Actors may consider professional projects that offer low payment if the entire production is being produced on a non-commercial basis and for artistic reasons. If any member of the cast, crew or production team stands to make a commercial gain of any kind many actors will not be willing to work for a low payment.
Below are various organisations that allow you to advertise for actors / performers for your project. As well as these avenues you can advertise at drama, dance and performing arts schools, colleges and universities as well as performing arts venues (where possible). To find details of drama schools in your area visit the National Council for Drama Training (NCDT).
If your budget allows or if you wish to work with an established actor you should contact their agents. Spotlight's publications list thousands of actors and give information about their agents. To find other casting agents to work with on your project see the listing in Kemps, The Knowledge, Kays or the Film London Directory.
A note on Equity:
Equity is the British Actors Union. They actively lobby for actors rights and have produced guidelines and an agreement on actors minimum payments with PACT, the Producers Union who cover TV broadcasters and film companies. The agreements on minimum wage are obligatory with some broadcasters and production companies but not all. Although it is generally seen as bad practice not to pay actors at least the minimum Equity rates, the rates of pay are often dependent on the overall budget of the production, the reputation of the artist making the work and the actors being contacted. Equity's guidelines and other relevant information can be found on the Equity website.
Crew & Technicians
There are many ways to find the crew needed to produce your project, dependent on its nature and scale. Shooting People, Talent Circle and Production Base allow you to post details of your production to their members to find your crew. A range of industry directories are available that have extensive listings, both in book form and online, of crew and technicians as well as crewing organisations. Finally, if hiring equipment most companies also offer to provide trained crew with their equipment (referred to as Wet hire).
Crewing & Diary Services
The Film London Directory can be used to find details of Crewing & Diary Services. These organisations represent a broad spectrum of crew and technicians in all departments of film production (although some have an emphasis on one area - such as camera crew). These organisations often have information on their website on the people they represent, including credits and contact details. But they will also assist you directly in finding the appropriate crew for you production (based on type, budget, dates of shooting and any other requirements) and send you a list of eligible clients and their show reels if needed. Although some crew might not have direct experience with artists' film and video it is worth telling the agents about the nature of the production and they will recommend the people they think most suited. Agents will also arrange and advise on payments and the rights of the people they represent (including insurance).
Crewing & Diary Services usually break down the people they represent into two sections based on the type of work that is done and the way that people are paid:
Above the Line: Directors, producers and writers. The lead creative talent. They are paid on a different scale to other crew and technicians.
Below the Line: Crew and technicians (apart from directors, producers, writers). Supporting creative talent.
Crew and technicians are represented by several trade unions which lobby on their behalf for their rights and have agreements with a range of organisations on basic rights and pay. For information on the guidelines established by these unions see the following organisations:
BECTU (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union)
BECTU is the independent union for those working in broadcasting, film, theatre, entertainment, leisure, interactive media and allied areas who are primarily based in the UK. The union represents permanently employed, contract and freelance workers within these sectors.
The Musicians Union (MU)
The Musicians Union represents over 30 thousand members working in all areas in the music industry.
PACT (Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television)
PACT is the trade association in the UK that represents and promotes the commercial interests of independent television, feature film, animation and interactive media companies.