Snapshot of Q&A session on Talent Management with Cory Jackson

Snapshot of Q&A session on Talent Management with Cory Jackson, founder of Clockwork Talent Agency and practicing Drama Teacher. 

What do you do when you receive a specific brief from a client and you know your database doesn’t have the talent person to meet these requirements?

If we don’t have a talent/talents in our data base that meets a brief requirements there are 2 things we can do:

1. We have special staff/contractors that work for us called Scouts, we are in contact with them regularly. A Scouts job is to find and recruit new talents, they are usually outgoing people that are not afraid to approach and speak to strangers. We send them character briefs and they will search for the specific look or personality type for us, whether it be on the streets, or in shops, one of the best talent I met was found by a scout working on a train station.

2. Casting calls in News Papers, Facebook, magazines and forums are a great way to find new talents, people spend more time online now days than ever before, so being able to post about a specific look and personality has a great reach to the community. The people who can relate to the character in the brief then can reach out to us for a casting and sometimes this method is the best way to find the perfect new face for the industry.

What are, let’s say, three key rules for a talent to follow at the set?

The three main rules a talent must follow on set are:

1. A talent must remain in their dedicated location on set and not wonder off without informing their manager. This creates problems on set because shoot times and scenes can change very quickly, and if the talents cannot be found or are not ready, the shoot can be held up or delayed, which can cost production a lot of money.

2. The talent must not take photos and or post photos of themselves, products or the set/ location unless they have permission to do so. Confidentiality is important on set, especially working with products on an advertising shoot. New products such as Motorbikes and cars are very strict with this as their competitors are always trying to find out what the competitions new product has so they can try and beat them in the market. One photo can cost a company millions. I have removed talents off set for this, it’s a very serious matter.

3. A talent must not speak about contracted details, such as salary, client information and or any other details regarding the shoot, without permission to do so. A film shoot is strictly confidential and should be treated as so unless your manager says otherwise. On some shoots there can be up to 3 different agencies working on film shoot at one time and its sad to say this can become very competitive on set with other agent trying to find out specific details about their opposition. Stay confidential guys.

Is it essential to have acting skills to get ‘into a TV’?

Not at all! Many of the best actors in the world didn’t go to film school or a drama academy. Of course some knowledge helps, but many people are naturals in front of a camera and have what it takes to bring a character to life. You have to remember that the Casting Director and other members of the team are there to help you build and get into character, will work with you to give you the skills needed to grow as an actor and possibly become a star.

How to get into a listing of a casting agency?

If you have a keen interest in acting and want to try it out you can can find agencies in almost any town you live online through websites such as or Facebook pages such as, – pages such as these have a lot of information about how to get started as an actor and castings are regularly posted in these places, and members of these pages get first priority of these jobs, so it’s worth reaching out and finding your local and best agencies.

Who are ‘extras’ and how are they recruited?

Extras are Performers who work non-speaking roles in a film, or stage play, they usually appear in the background to help set the scene and fill in empty space. Extras are usually recruited after the casting for lead talents is finished, these roles are normally offered to the talents who cast for the main roles first but didn’t get selected for a role. Also in many countries, advertising for extra roles appear frequently in News Papers and on Facebook groups. Being an extra is a great way to get into the industry, especially if you have no prior experience in the industry.

What was the worst case in your career? What was the best?

The worst case I have ever experienced in my career was about a year ago, I was contacted to supply 30 extras for a movie that another agent couldn’t handle. The production contracted my talents for 12 hours a day for 5 days in total, but as the shoot went on, the nights grew longer, 14 hours, 16 hours even up to a full 25 hours on the final day. My talents were exhausted and I spent the whole week plus 3 days extra after the shoot finished negotiating overtime pay and debating over who’s talent was who’s because the other talent management was trying to claim my talents. Lucky I took all the right steps of photograph my talents together on set and have contracted them all personally, unlike the other management team.

The best case in my career was working on the Film Co Hau Gai, Directed by Derek Nguyen. I was invited By Derek to join the casting team and help do readings with the talents casting for the roles in the film. It was a great experience working so close to a director and the talents to bring the story to life by testing the talents and pushing their abilities. I was invited to fill a small role in the film which I was honored to accept, I learnt a lot from Derek’s directing skills and his DOP Sam Chase. Doesn’t matter how many years I have been in the industry, I am still learning with ever TVC or film I do. Being humble and keeping an open mind is a must in this industry.

What are the qualities a casting manager must have?

A casting Director should have a wide knowledge of cinema and Actors, an interest in the theatre and stage actors to be able to recognize talent. A basic understanding of how to operate a video camera (framing, focus, etc.). They must also have excellent communication skills and organization skills, also high attention to detail and able to give and take directions is an absolute must. I also believe it’s important to have a good empathetic understanding of different people and personality types, as you will have to deal with many of them through your career filling different roles.

Give us a shout if you’d like to join a deep-dive Talent Management HANDS-ON Course and we will tailor this course for you depending on your experience. Do not hesitate to send an inquiry to [email protected]


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