Newsblaze sat down with Irish actor, Florence Ordesh to chat about the website everybody’s been talking about – castandhire.ie.
Previously known as Ireland Actors’ Guide, Florence has helped countless actors get their start in the film industry. In 2014 she held Ireland’s first-ever actor showcase that saw 24 actors perform monologues and duologues at Players Theatre in Dublin, in front of talent agents, casting directors, producers, and directors. The Ireland Actors’ Guide Showcases shone in the spotlight, for the first time, on actors like Venetia Bowe (Cold Courage, Much Ado About Nothing) and Niamh Hogan (Vikings, Demon Hunter).
That success inevitably led to growth, which has ultimately brought Florence to relaunch the site. CastandHire now taking up the baton and leading the way as a hub of activity and, indeed, connectivity.
“A lot of directors and filmmakers contacted me saying they would like to be listed on the website, and asked if there was anywhere for them to be listed or to find jobs,” she said of the inspiration to expand on the initial Irish Actors Guide database.
“So that gave me the idea then to relaunch it as CastandHire, so that the crew members could have a listing as well. So, I did a big revamp of the website.”
The essence of CastandHire is still focused on where people can find jobs and list their profile, but the website has grown to offer such a diverse range -blogs from Florence, MasterClasses which push the boundaries, and much more – and the feedback has been a major boost too.
“It was definitely really, really positive!” Florence beams.
These masterclasses are exemplary of the positive change which has come from CastandHire’s work and Florence’s vision!
Before the Masterclasses went digital, Florence would organise workshops for actors to get in front of Irish casting directors. “I’d say I must have invited every casting director in Ireland at one point, and sometimes they came in two or three times to do a workshop with 30 actors, on a first-come, first-serve basis.”
The slim opportunities available to impress the casting director meant these workshops opened a whole new avenue for bidding actors to get noticed.
“It’s so hard to even get to the point where you’re being invited to an audition. You kind of need to have a foot in the door first. The casting director needs to know you’re good first, so it’s kind of a chicken-and-egg scenario, where ‘if they don’t know I’m good, when are they going to audition me and find out that I’m good.”
“So, doing these workshops was a great opportunity for the actors, in a really laid-back setting to come in, do a Q&A with the casting director and then, one at a time, get up and do either a scene or a monologue and then be critiqued by the casting director.”
“I remember after those workshops; a lot of the actors would end up being invited the following week to auditions with that casting director that they workshopped with.”
Florence is delighted with how CastandHire is being used by the industry, with thousands of members regularly accessing the website. Whether bridging a gap, opening a door, or whatever the analogy, the truth of the success lies in the opportunity CastandHire now provides, which has been greatly appreciated. A look at some of the testimonials reveal as much.
Today, MasterClasses are available via the CastandHire website, providing an invaluable resource with such engaging topics as expert advice on self-taping, Directing and learning the general American accent, to name a few.
One that stands out for Florence, though not exclusively, is the workshop with expert editor Benjamin Mercer.
“What he’s amazing at is bringing out the best performance in an actor. So, he could get a scene with five to ten takes, and take a performance from being pretty average to amazing, just by crafting the edit. Actors don’t actually realise that about editing” Florence says, bursting with as much enthusiasm as she possesses for all of the wonderful work she has created.
“The actors don’t know what happens to their performance once it’s done and it’s in the hands of the editor, they don’t realise the magic that goes on. But it’s also really important for actors to know, because it will help actors with the subtleties in their movement, even in their eyes, the way their body language is, the way they talk. Just those tiny subtleties you’re not taught in acting class. You’re more taught to feel what you’re doing and get in touch with the emotion rather than the tiny technical subtleties which make such a big difference. So Benjamin Mercer suggested he does a MasterClass in that instead and I thought that was an amazing idea. So we then worked together and collaborated on it. It turned out excellent!”
For more information on Florence Ordesh and CastandHaire visit: www.castandhire.ie