As media, we have been granted the opportunity to have been a part of a lot of great events as well as shabby events. And to be honest, What currently goes on in Ghana castings are tremendously despicable.
I won’t want to generalize this content upon Africa, but from what we have covered around the world from Ivory Coast to Kenya to Niger to Nigeria is the same horrible and unprofessional style of model castings. And here are the many things going wrong at these castings.
1/ Castings are organized as some pseudo America’s Next Top Model show. Stop using irrelevant people as casting judges. The organizers attempt to find one or two celebrities, mostly people who have no clue about fashion or runway. Or alternatively they look for people who might have a name in the industry to make the casting seem legit as if that was necessary in the first place to choosing the right models for your event.
RESOLUTION: Celebrities, model agents or other non relevant fashion industry guys are irrelevant to your casting selection as their opinions are biased or unpro. Select those that will be part of your production. Producers, your make up artists, your stylists, media, etc.
2/ Why invite the public and media to record the casting. So you are calling on professional models who make a career out of looking good, to attend a casting without any make up or hair styling only so you will go and publish it? Not cool! Not even concerned about the fact that you also rejected the model.
RESOLUTION: Have no media, but if you do limit them to what they capture, publishing your castings is not necessary unless you are a beauty pageant. And limit your audience to who is relevant.
3/ Castings are not your hall of fame for embarrassment. In many cases and so often, casting directors will have all models in an open space and begin their auditions there. Out of nervousness and competition amongst peers this always has an effect on 70% of models. Nevertheless, one will always see casting organizers smirking at model faults, making faces and/or purposely speaking out loud to correct the models as if to show their status of professionalism. No, it just makes you look like an A-hole.
RESOLUTION: Allow casting settings that have waiting spaces separate to where the models are seen. When a model is finished with her casting, let her go.
4/ Be Quick, Castings are not boot camps. This is not your opportunity to start training a model and telling her how to walk and how not to walk. You mission is to see if they fit the bill and select or don’t select them. If you want to request them to do a walk or a pose a few times in order to see if they are capable of what you are looking for, then by all means do so. But don’t start a catwalk lesson especially when you have organized it in this supposed party style.
5/ Turn off the dam music.
RESOLUTION: Turn off the dam music.
6/ Why the hell are you giving models a quiz test at a model casting when they are not going to be speaking on the runway. It happens every time in Ghana, a model reaches the end of the casting runways and then the “Judges” start to ask questions like “Who Inspired You?” “Who are you favourite designers”, “Does your boyfriend support your career” WTF??? How is this relevant when the model is on your runway?
RESOLUTION: If you have to ask questions limit it to what is necessary for the show. ie “Do you have black heels”, “are you able to do so and so to your hair”, “would you be available for so and so rehearsal dates”.
7/ Do not set an arrival time for ALL models. Unless you are superman and superwomen that is a fairly dumb thing to do. If all 50 girls arrive at 11am you will not be able to see all girls at 11am so why do you request all girls to attend at 11am? What this means is that if a girl arrives ontime she might still have to wait for 40 or so girls to be seen before she does. What is even worst is the casting organizers are always late themselves.
RESOLUTION: Set your time parameters 11am-5pm, close arrivals a few hours before your leaving time. Ie. publish 11am-3pm. After 3pm no more girls can be seen except those that arrived before 3pm, at which you will be able to see them until 5pm. You will be surprised a good number of girls would arrive early because they have other things in their life to do other than watching other models.
8/ Do not select your models at the casting. I see this happen all the time. In fact it is the only thing that has ever made me say ‘Mama Mia’ and I don’t know what that means. Why select your models at the casting? Even worst some chose the models right after they cast them. Some even bring approval cards and hand it to the models thinking it makes them extra professional. Here is what is wrong with it, and here are the faults that have plagued Ghanaian castings when they do that. Let’s say you are seeking 10 models at your 1pm-6pm castings. Between 1pm-4pm you see 10 amazing models you wish to use and you approve them. Between 4pm-6pm you see an extra 5 models that are even more amazing and you prefer than 5 in those selected 10. So you now have to start calling the models and then cancelling on them or in our case, asking them to do it for free.
RESOLUTION: Select your models after the casting, when you have had enough time to breath and recoup from the tiredness and stress on the day, and call the selected models.
9/ Don’t ask models to bring model cards If you are selecting models on the same day and not taking on the resolution above. We’ve seen it many times, you are selecting models on the same day yet you ask them to bring model cards. The whole purpose of model cards at castings is a reminder to help refresh your memory when deciding which top 10, 15, 20, etc models you will decide to use for your show AFTER THE CASTING. Collecting model cards is absolutely pointless when you are selecting the models as they come. In Ghana fashion jobs are limited and the outreach by agencies is almost null, so it’s not common for models to have cards. Its really frustrating to see models run around printing cards only to give it away and be rejected. I’ve even seen some frustrated models walk up to casting directors and request they give them back their model cards. Which seems fair.
10/ Stop turning models award if they do not have model cards. Not all great models will have a model card, they might be new to the industry, they might have come across your castings late, or they might have experienced dumsor (national light off) that prevented them from printing.
RESOLUTION: If you casting is in serious need of model cards or images always have a photographer on standby for the one or two models without cards. If not have a good phone camera, this way you can recall their casting participation when selecting.
11/ Stick to your criteria. Most castings have certain dress size, height size and dress code criteria within the casting promotion. For example one might say minimum height 5ft6, Yet during the castings a 5ft4 girl will show up and because she is a friend, or they like her smile or whatsoever, they will proceed to seeing her walk knowing very well she would not participate in the show. Yes it might be entertaining for your little pseudo model party, but it’s a waste of time to the professional models which you made wait inline to be seen.
RESOLUTION: Have an extra assistant Filter them out and turn them away before they get to your “judging panel” with a height graph or a tape measure or what is necessary to identify the criteria.
12/ Female Casting Directors Stop hooting at topless men. This also happens all the time in Ghana and Africa, women casting directors always giving signs and smiles to topless male models. If the tables were turned the man would be called a pervert, unprofessional, even identified as someone sleeping with the models for their jobs and you will feel degraded. Yes, it’s not embarrassing to you yet because people don’t acknowledge it, but get your act right. They are still models, not sex slaves.
RESOLUTION: All female casting directors should bring their spouses to the castings.
13/ Lastly Stop hiding your payments. You will be surprised most castings that put models through this jibberish can not afford them or give them a decent pay. And out of desperation to indulge in this unprofessional style of castings they hide the payments to ensure the models will attend. The truth of the matter is no good model will go through this horrible style of castings if they knew how much most of these guys were paying in advance.
RESOLUTION: If you are embarrassed to publicize your model fees then reconsider your show. We do not expect you to publicize it everywhere, but a model or agent must be able to be aware of what they will be paid if they have to go through all of this.
It seems like casting are the chopping blocks for casting how professional or good a model is, however with this guide maybe now many will be able to put the casting directors themselves on the chopping block. It is easy to take models through such humiliation and inferiority because many understand they are eager for that low paid job and promotion.
These casting errors take place all over the world however it is shocking how regular it is here. For those models that are not willing to accept less than professional, you can use this to guide your casting attendance. And do share this, you will be surprised how many casting directors you will educate by doing so.
Disclaimer: Images used in this article are sourced form google and in no way referenced to any relativity to the content of this article.