Born in Philadelphia, Penn. to entrepreneurial parents, it’s no surprise that Carolyn Jenkins herself has a head for business. But she literally just fell into the entertainment industry. “I didn’t grow up and say ‘I want to become a casting director,’ ” she admits. Here, she tells us why the Carolyn Jenkins Agency is different, and how she casts for real people.
How did you get started in the business?
I started working with variety acts in Philadelphia. I would work with clowns just to make money. I was always that person who was super resourceful, and people would ask me where I got such and such from. Then one day someone said they needed a band and I booked one that I knew. That was my first booking. I’m always bringing people together. That’s what I do. I’m a recruiter. I make jobs. I’m a different type of casting director.
How are you a different type of casting director?
I do more independent films, and I am normally called upon by directors to recruit and build talent pools for their commercials. I do real people casting, and placement for film, production, television, and other media companies, and I also do crew placement for media productions.
How did the Carolyn Jenkins Agency begin?
I actually got started because in my corporate life I was a recruiter. I have a dual background of IT and digital media. When I moved to Atlanta I was doing IT recruiting, but I met a gentleman who was a hypnotist who told me, “You should do talent management.” So I said, “Sure I’ll manage you. What do I have to do?” I’m really good with cold calling and that kind of stuff and now I’ve been managing him for 11 years! He was the first African-American hypnotist and now he’s one of a few. Then the business just grew from there.
How do you cast for real people?
I take to the streets, churches, and I do postings. Most of the time we’re out recruiting, that’s really my bread and butter.
To clarify, your agency does casting, talent managment, and staffing?
Yes, but my niche that I want to focus on is recruiting and casting. That is what I like to do. But I will still keep my core group of talent. If you’re not working and busy and marketable, I’m not going to waste my time. I feel bad for the upcoming talent—if there’s anything you can relay in this interview, it’s that the local talent needs to get their act together. Extras are getting work, but principal roles are not being cast from here.
Tell me about your collaboration with Behind The Scenes Media
Behind the Scenes Media is a staffing company that provides temporary crew for film, television and theatrical productions. We connect productions with skilled, experienced, and ready-to work production crews for short and long-term projects. Our database is filled with staff whose credits include some of the industry’s successful projects.
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