“It is truly exciting to be part of the infancy of the Casting Guild of Australia. To start something that brings our profession together as a united voice and that highlights the achievements of Casting Directors isn’t a chore, it’s an honour.” – Nick Hamon, Vice President (Nick Hamon Casting, VIC)

Nick Hamon, Vice President of the Casting Guild of Australia, talks about the genesis of the CGA as well as the  vital work this body was set up to achieve. He also tells us about  the vital role the Casting Director plays in shaping our arts and entertainment industry and, for the actors, the do's and don'ts of the audition.

On the genesis of the CGA:

The idea of setting up something like the current Casting Guild of Australia (CGA) has been around for a number of years but it took a brave email in 2013 from one of our committee members (Mel Mackintosh) regarding an ongoing industry issue that really got it moving. 

There was a groundswell of support and here we are coming up to our first year anniversary!

There wasn’t a body or Guild in place before the CGA.

Starting a Guild certainly has been raised before, but it just never gained any momentum.  I believe that the current “crop” of Australian Casting Directors was just ready to be open with each other, and to really focus on developing and nurturing the work we do. It’s all in the timing.

There are always challenges when setting up something new.  To-date, though, everything’s been really positive. Our Members are all committed to what the CGA stands for and the role it plays, and will play in the further development of the profession in the industry.

On the role of the CGA:

The CGA was set up with three key aims in mind :

• To highlight the casting profession and its’ important role in the industry;
• To build strong relationships with key industry stakeholders such as the MEAA, Agents associations and SPAA; and
• To create a set of standards and guidelines for Members

With over 90% of all Casting Directors in Australia as CGA members we now have a voice and a presence within the industry, and to the general public. Now that we have this united voice we have the opportunity to discuss what the Casting Director contributes to the industry with trade magazines and online industry resources like Theatre People.

As the majority of Casting Directors are based in Sydney and Melbourne, and we’ve held the meetings in those cities. With the luxury of technology (Skype) we can be all inclusive for our members in WA, QLD and SA.

On the job description of a Casting Director:

First and foremost our job is to know actors so we can work closely with directors to ensure they have the best possible (and available) actors for a role.

Casting Directors are paid a fee by the production to find the actors for a project. We are not agents so we DO NOT represent and we DO NOT receive any fees/commission from the actors.

As a Casting Director you are dealing with the Producer on budgets and fees, the Director on creative decisions, the Actors and their agents on preparing/co-ordinating their  auditions and negotiating fees. As a Casting Director you must (and will!) wear many hats.

Tips for the auditioning actor:

• Be prepared and on time. Know your lines, your character and the director’s work.
• Bring water!
• Be yourself. You are unique and different to the person sitting next to you.
• Ask questions but not too many questions. It shows you’re interested and keen… but not too keen!
• Be prepared to listen and take direction. Be flexible and changeable in the audition if required.
• Remember we (the Casting Director) invited you to audition, as we believe you can play this role.

Take some comfort and confidence in knowing this.

“A good casting director combines the skills and creativity of an actor, a director, a producer, a negotiator, and even diplomat.” – Greg Apps, President (Greg Apps Casting, NSW)

Further details about CGA members and membership details, benefits and practices: