Technology and film have been wound together since the industry’s inception. From the earliest silent black-and-white films, through the addition of sound and colour, to today’s CGI-heavy blockbusters, the story of movies has been driven by technological changes that constantly fuel industry-shifting leaps forward. Except for the auditioning and casting processes, which have remained inefficient and time-consuming for parties on both sides of the camera. And time spent casting is time that can’t be spent creating.
Moodcaster has a plan to change all that with their digital talent casting platform.
The platform was born from Guy Chachkes’ frustrations with the way casting currently works. An actor, director, and producer, Chachkes formed a company called Reelarc in 2015 to meet an industry need: actors needed demo reels to book jobs, but they wouldn’t actually have scenes for their demo reels until they had booked a few jobs. To meet this need, Reelarc worked to produce on-demand scenes for actors, giving them content to submit in the casting process.
However, those scenes required other actors. Eventually, Chachkes added up how much time and money Reelarc was wasting renting locations and hiring casting directors to manage the audition process.
There had to be a better way.
Essentially, Moodcaster has done for casting what things like Slack and Upstack have done for tech.
They’ve turned an inefficient, synchronous process – everyone has to be in the same location at the same time – into a highly efficient, asynchronous process – anyone can audition or evaluate an audition at any time, from anywhere.
That globally distributed, collaborative ethos runs through the entire culture of Moodcaster. Rather than putting the Moodcaster team in one room, Chachkes connected with Upstack. This gave the Moodcaster team access to over 600 developers across the globe.
At first glance, it might seem more difficult to manage people continents and oceans away, but Guy sees only upside:
“I am a strong believer that good managers can manage anyone, anywhere. And it helps our time management. For example, while we sleep, Marc [a developer in Europe] is working, so when we wake, voila! Things are ready for us.”
Chachkes has also identified a subtler way that distributing the work globally protects Moodcaster. He believes that the asynchronous nature of global communication through platforms like Upstack helps him avoid mistakes:
“Working with remote talent seems to make you think, because of time differences. It makes you take a step back and formulate an approach, instead of tapping someone on the shoulder or panic-Slacking someone in the middle of the night.”
- the strength of the organization,
- the power of the underlying idea,
- or a combination of both,
something is working for Moodcaster. In 2018, the company launched a controlled beta with a few hundred users; it quickly grew to 3,000 daily users. Half of those users come back to Moodcaster 4-5 times per week.
The team is currently closing in on full development of their iOS app – Chachkes pegs it at 70% complete – and rapidly onboarding users to the casting dashboard. The next step is Android development since Android has more market share in Europe and Australia’s untapped film markets, but the team won’t take that step until the iOS app is at least 90% complete. They’re still adding features, like connecting users with a reader that can help them practice.
For now, talent can download the iOS app, create their profile, and begin auditioning for open jobs. Casting professionals can head to the website to learn more, create an account, and post their first job for free.
For everything else….they still have UPSTACK!