Diverse Casting Initiative Anyone?

Heather Fink
2 min readOct 4, 2016


Here’s a proposal to help diverse casting in the tv/film industry.

- Calling on agencies to curate a database of up and coming diverse talent that can be accessed by indie filmmakers and film students casting their films.

It would be mutually beneficial and could improve the whole industry

- Agents could get their lesser known yet talented clients more opportunities in indie films where they are also more likely to have leading roles vs big budget stuff that doesn’t showcase unknowns in leads as often. Even if these indie projects don’t pay as well, it could provide exposure and work for their reels and establish relationships with filmmakers that can last to bigger budget films (Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo went from Middle of Nowhere to Selma together).

- Indie Filmmakers with lower budgets and less access to talent, some of whom can’t afford casting directors — can now easily review pre-vetted talent as presented by the agencies versus having to resort to time consuming and typically fruitless open call auditions.

Big budget films often discover and cast stars from indie films. John Boyega wouldn’t have had Star Wars without being discovered by and cast in Attack The Block.

Some suggestions for execution — being mindful of interests on all sides:

1 — create a private web database that can be accessed with a password

2 — populate the site by reaching out to agents and asking them to name up and coming diverse talent on their roster

3 — get the agent’s assistants to gather profiles and reels to send to the webmaster

4 — allow indie filmmakers to submit to the site and request passwords. by verifying that the project is legit, it helps protect the integrity of the agency’s roster, and also makes the agency aware of the project

5 — give passwords to graduate film schools and to thesis students at undergraduate film schools

6 — users can sign online agreements of legal terms from the agency (so you can squash those pesky lawsuit concerns)

7 — offers or requests for auditions can be submitted via the website and reviewed per discretion of the talent agent

8 — each agency would run and maintain their own database to their liking

I’ve spoken to some agents who liked this idea. What would it take to get this off the ground? Agents themselves don’t have the time to build a database — so what department might take on something like this? Does anyone have contacts for such a person? Anybody have more ideas?

I feel like this could be a very practical, mutually beneficial initiative — and also realistic and achievable. Let’s do this?!

Note: I’m a filmmaker not an agent but I was once a business lady. If I can help let me know. Email — heather AT sausageforever.com (yes really)