Q&A With Camilla Arthur
We are much excited about having casting director Camilla Arthur’s ‘eagleeye’ searching for new talent here at GMS. The woman who coined the phrase ‘street casting’ in the early nineties, known worldwide for her exclusive database of talent found in coffee shops, clubs, music festivals, streets… and now GMS!
The passion for her craft is evident by the way she translates a client’s vision and with creativity seek out the perfect cast. She has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Peter Lindbergh, Vogue, Levis and American Apparel. Her work has appeared in Vogue, VS, Port Magazine & Another Man, ID, Flaunt, Harper’s Bazaar, Wig, Arena, Elle, French Playboy, Harpers & Queen.
Camilla Arthur’s experience covers fashion, film and advertising industries which gives her a strong understanding of changing trends and a winning mindset on how to find new talent. She got offices in Los Angeles and is now once again back in London. Whether you are an experienced model or just starting, her words of advice are worth to remember!
In your own words, how would you describe your job as a casting director?
To put it simply, my job as a casting director is to provide the cast in a commercial, the models in a photo, or even the crowd in a party scene in a movie or music video! The job takes on slightly different forms depending on the type of job we are casting for however. For example if we’re casting for a commercial, the first thing that happens is I am given a script and a brief. For a photo shoot I get a brief and perhaps a mood board. So then we discuss the best way of finding whatever is required… and off we go!
What makes your work important to you?
Well I really love being given the basic requirements, along with the concept of the project and from there visualizing what the cast/models should be like; there is never any doubt. I always seem to know immediately what is needed and then I LOVE the challenge of finding them. The other part of the job which is so important to me, is with ‘street casting’ finding nonmodels sitting on a bus, or walking down the street. When they get a job I put them forward for, they are so happy and get so excited, I feel like Father Christmas!! Especially if it is someone from a lowincome family, who perhaps doesn’t have a job. It is SO WONDERFUL telling them that they have been chosen for a job that will pay them maybe £10,000 for one day (when perhaps that’s the most they have got in an entire year).
What’s your workflow like?
I have recently re-located back from Los Angeles to London and consequently there is a lot of work to be done to let the UK clients know that I’m back here now. As well as researching new clients (since I left London 10 years ago). So that is an important part of my work that needs to be attended to on a regular basis facilitating new client relationships, sorting appointments etc. Then there is my database of ‘streetcasting’ models people I have found ‘out & about’ that need to be photographed, their information compiled and filed etc so every week I put a side at least an afternoon to work on that. All this goes ‘out the window’ however, when a big job comes in, especially as it is almost always the same… we get booked and the client tells us that the shoot is taking place in just a very short time, so everything else is dropped and we all go crazy putting it all together!
You took the traditional casting industry to a new level with “street casting”. What are some of your favorite places to find new talent?
I go street casting wherever the brief dictates. For example, if I am scouting for a specific job, I need to figure out where those type of people are most likely to be found. I remember a job I had years ago that needed me to find Teddy Boys (not modern kids who are into the rock’n’roll scene, but the original REAL thing). I discovered that every three months all the ‘real’ teds would meet up in a big oldfashioned hall hidden in the basement of a strange old building in Hackney that had once been a lunatic asylum. Likewise, when I was looking for surfers for a job in LA, I managed to hear about a ‘secret’ pro surf meet near Long Beach, where I found loads of perfect surfer boys. If I am purely scouting new faces for my database I always have the option of going to clubs and bars where the ‘cool kids’ hang out. I find talent everywhere I go walking down the street, on the subway, shopping in a local supermarket or just walking to my corner shop. There have been many many times when I have been driving along the road (or even sitting in a cab) and I’ve spotted a great looking kid on the sidewalk, so I literally swerve off the road and pull up on the pavement so as to catch them before they turn a corner. Or I jump out of a cab, screaming for the driver to wait for me as I chase these beautiful people down the street like a crazy person!
Read the rest of the Q&A over on Global Model Scouting