Why This Production Company Can’t Imagine Casting Commercials Without Backstage

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Photo Source: James Legrand

When it comes to casting commercials, James LeGrand of Atlanta-based production company Carbon Film has been using Backstage for as long as he can remember. Why does he love the platform? Because—you know as well as we do—it puts the power in the hands of content creators and actors. Here, LeGrand tells us of a recent project made possible with the help of Backstage, plus the importance of video in helping to identify commercial talent.

Tell us about the project you were casting with the help of Backstage.
We did a commercial called “TravelSafely” for an application called TravelSafely. And what the app does is it connects with integrated traffic signals to let you know what a traffic light is going to do. So, for instance, if you’re sitting at a red light and you’ve got the TravelSafely app open, it’ll let you know how many seconds until the light turns green. We needed to create a commercial that portrayed a family going about their everyday lives, and how commuting is a big part of that. And we, of course, want our loved ones to be safe, so we had to cast a really great family who made sense on camera and made sense for the story. We went to Backstage to do this, and we were able to input the roles that we needed and we received all of our submissions based on those roles.

What did the casting process look like for the TravelSafely commercial?
After we posted our roles on Backstage and received submissions, we went through all of them. We were able to get video submissions and have potential talent read lines and parts of the script. Then, we made our selections from there. Backstage was a very big part of that process. We were able to message with the actors through the messaging feature to iron out details.

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What catches your eye the most when seeking talent for a commercial?
Having a nice variety of photos, and video is king. I will watch a video reel any day over looking at photos. I immediately go in thinking, in a biased way, that this photo isn’t going to accurately represent them. I need to see something that is as current as possible, and preferably on video so I can hear how they speak and see them from all angles. It’s really hard to judge based only on photos. But if you do have photos, it’s important to have a nice variety of emotions and expressions.

Why did you choose Backstage to help cast this commercial?
I can’t imagine not using Backstage! It’s kind of crazy to think of the old way of doing things and how it’s still done to a very large degree. But being able to just directly communicate with actors is amazing. It removes that middle man. Backstage handles everything that an up-and-coming actor would need in terms of representation, and allows that actor to pick and choose the roles that they want. Then it allows us to immediately start casting. It’s hard to imagine not using it.

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