The National Capital’s Premiere Casting Company

Who we are…

Smyth Casting is Ottawa’s full service casting company.  Whether it’s a feature film, television series, commercial or corporate video, Smyth Casting can find the talent you need when you need it.  We have a database of over 3000 actors and background performers that is constantly growing to ensure fresh faces at each audition.  We also work closely with the city’s many agencies to incorporate their talent into our audition sessions.

We are not an agency

We are a casting company run by casting director, Ilona Smyth. This means we DO NOT take 10-15% of what you get paid. To learn more about what we do please visit our ABOUT US page.

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About Us

A little more about what we do….

Smyth Casting is Ottawa’s full service casting company.  Whether it’s a feature film, television series, commercial or corporate video, Smyth Casting can find the talent you need when you need it.  We have a database of over 3000 actors and background performers that is constantly growing to ensure fresh faces at each audition.  We also work closely with the city’s many agencies to incorporate their talent into our audition sessions.

We are not an agency

We are a casting company run by casting director, Ilona Smyth. We DO NOT take 10-15% of what you get paid. Everyone we book gets paid BY PRODUCTION for their work – background work starts at $11.00/hr.

We ask that you create a profile in our actors database.  Once this is set up, you are accessible to the casting director to look over for whatever roles she may be casting – as well as accessible for her to show directors/producers while in cast meetings.

As we book projects we send out emails to all the database members with the breakdown of what we are looking for (the same breakdown we send out to the agents) These breakdowns are for Background & Actor/Principal Roles.

The Following is how to respond to the breakdown emails.


For Background Work:

Email us back stating your availability (only full days ie no night or good till 1pm) – make sure you reference the breakdown that you are submitting for and that they are appropriate background roles (ie if it states over 18 and you are under 18 – you will not be considered)- we then contact you to work if we think you suit the role and have stated you are available.

Please keep in mind that production NOT SMYTH CASTING may issue last minute changes to schedules or cut scenes completely. We also have to take into account ethnic ratio, male to female ratio and meeting a minimum ACTRA count.

For Actor/ Principal Roles:

Email us back for the roles you think you are suitable for (read the age and character description carefully) we then contact those who we feel would be suitable for the roles and invite them to audition. If you get an audition show up prepared don’t be late or ask us to reschedule (it won’t happen) – receiving an audition is like winning the lottery.

It’s our job to give you the opportunity and the invitation to audition it’s your job to win over the room.

There are also perks where we have free open casting calls where you can get in front of the casting director so she can see where your acting abilities stand – also discounted prices for database members for our audition workshops.

Click here to sign up and become a member of our database

There is a yearly fee of $25.00 plus HST ($28.25).

You can follow us on Twitter and like is on facebook, to keep “in the know” about what is happening in the film and television industry in Ottawa.

Hope to see you on set soon,

Ilona

Producers

Producers

Casting Principal Actors

Whether you’re casting for a feature film, commercial or corporate film, Smyth Casting has extensive knowledge of the area’s deep talent pool. Hiring Ottawa actors from our database can mean big savings to your bottom line.  Hiring locals means you save on travel, per diem, hotels and more.

Our large database of actors ensures that we can find actors to suit your projects specific needs.  We have a fantastic relationship with all of the local agents, ACTRA Ottawa and can also cast out of Montreal and Toronto should you require.

Our Casting Sessions Include

- Camera & operator
- A reader
- An assistant to sign actors in and out.
- Casting space if required.
- An edited copy of the casting session

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Casting Background Performers

We cast background performers for a wide variety of productions. Our large database allows us to find you the talent you need when you need it.

We’re also able to provide special skills background performers, such as, circus performers, athletes, dancers etc… and also people with specific physical traits.

- In casting background performers for your production we:

- Provide consultations with director and producers to ensure we’re all on the same page in regards to desired looks and requirements of background performers.

- Send detailed extras lists, with the names and numbers of the performers the night before the shoot.

- Consultation with wardrobe department to ensure background performers match the look required for the production.

- We can also provide the production with an experienced wrangler who can assist in managing the background performers on set.

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Background Casting

be a background performerGetting Started

Have you always dreamed of seeing your face on the big screen?  Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work on a movie set?  You’ve come to the right place.

Smyth Casting is Ottawa’s best and biggest casting company.  We have worked on over 30 productions in the last few years and have the largest actor database Ottawa. We’ve cast films in the Capital with names such as Kim Coates, Cuba Gooding Jr, Christian Slater, Sasha Gray, Dominic Monoghan and many more.

Working as a Background Performer requires no previous experience and gives you an opportunity to see how a real film set works and to be part of the action.

To become a background performer and work on one of the Capital’s many film productions, sign up today to become part of Smyth Casting’s actor database.

Once you have your profile set up you are accessible to the casting director to look over for whatever roles she may be casting

Once you have your profile set up you are accessible to the casting director to look over for whatever roles she may be casting – as well as accessible for her to show directors/producers while in cast meetings.

As we book projects we send out emails to all the database members with the breakdown of what we are looking for (the same breakdown we send out to the agents) These breakdowns are for Background & Actor/Principal Roles.

 The Following is how to respond to the breakdown emails.

For Background Work:

- Email us back stating your availability (only full days ie no night or good till 1pm)

- Make sure you reference the breakdown that you are submitting for and that they are appropriate background roles (ie if it states over 18 and you are under 18 – you will not be considered)

- We then contact you to work if we think you suit the role and have stated you are available.

Please keep in mind that the production NOT SMYTH CASTING may issue last minute changes to schedules or cut scenes completely. We also have to take into account ethnic ratio, male to female ratio and meeting a minimum ACTRA count.

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Set Rules and Etiquette

Background Performer in Makeup

On the set of Metal Tornado

Being on set can be a fun and exciting experience, but always keep in mind it is a workplace and you are a part of this professional environment. While we always want you to have an enjoyable experience, we also hope that you will approach your experience as you would in any other workplace.

To ensure your day goes smoothly and you’ll be called again, here are some tips and rules that all background performers MUST REVIEW before arriving on set for the first time.

Upon your first booking you will be asked by a member of our staff to sign a declaration that you have read and understand the listed tips and rules.  Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in removal from our casting database.

TIPS AND RULES

Always show up early!

ALWAYS SHOW UP AT LEAST 15 MINUTES PRIOR TO YOUR CALL TIME IN YOUR WARDROBE AND CAMERA READY- IF YOU COMMIT TO A SHOOT – YOU MUST SHOW UP OR YOU WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR THE NEXT ONE.

When accepting a booking

It is imperative that upon accepting a booking you commit to being available for the entire day and into the evening.  There are also night shoots from time to time; this means that if you’re booked for a late call time there is the possibility you may be there all night.  Please be ready to work anywhere from several hour calls to very long shifts, upwards of 14 hours. We have no insight into potential wrap times due to inevitable slow downs and changes such as set-up times, weather etc… faced on every film set.  Smyth Casting has no control over production scheduling and thus never knows in advance when you’ll be wrapped.  Bring a book!  Great time to catch up on some reading.

Do Not look into the lens.

NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE CAMERA LENS! Trust us… you don’t want to do this :)

Silence is golden.

Please keep quiet.  It is easier and nicer to work when no one has to scream. If you’re asked to talk while doing your action remember you must fake it. We shouldn’t hear any sounds unless specified by an AD that they do need sound for a shot.

Always check in and out

When you come in or leave ALWAYS check in/out with the 3rd assistant-director (AD) or the person responsible for background performers. It’s the only way for them to know where you are and to pay you for your hours.

Pay close attention while on set

Once on set, always listen carefully to the instructions given to you. There might be a few rehearsals first. Remember your action and position as well as those around you. You’ll have to repeat that action many times, exactly the same way. Be aware of what’s going on around you, especially in relation with the actors and their dialogue.

"ROLL CAMERA".

When shooting you’ll hear “ROLL CAMERA”. This cue is for crew only.

"BACKGROUND ACTION".

Start your action on “ACTION” or “BACKGROUND ACTION” and stop on “CUT”. Then get ready to go back to your “FIRST POSITION” and do the same action once again.

"FREEZE".

Sometimes you might be asked to “FREEZE”, just stay in place until given further instructions.

Act Natural.

Realism is the name of the game. Always try to act as natural as you can. It must look like real life.

Always Return your Props.

If you are given props it is VERY IMPORTANT to take care of them and remember to give them back to the props person before leaving the set.

Always Return your Wardrobe.

If you are given wardrobe to wear it is VERY IMPORTANT to take care of it and remember to give them back to the wardrobe person on set before leaving.

Speak only when spoken to.

Avoid talking to the director and actors.  They need their concentration.

Be nice to the wrangler.

Smyth Casting hires wranglers to assist you, the background performer. They are there to act as a liaison between production and background performers.  Please be respectful of them, and realize that they are unable to affect things such as wrap time.

Stay alert on set.

Be alert and set-wise. There are a lot of people working on a film set with heavy equipment and sometimes hot lights. Always do your best to not be in their way.

Bring you SIN #.

In order to get paid for your time you must bring your social insurance number and drivers license if you possess one.

Return everything and sign out.

At the end of the day, return your wardrobe, props etc… to those who gave them to you, and make sure to sign your time sheet. On a typical film set in Ottawa you will have to fill out a residency form and a timesheet.  If you are unsure if you are filling it out correctly check with a background performer who has done it before, they often know the ropes.  And don’t forget to get your timesheet signed by an assistant director or extras wrangler before you leave.

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Payment

Please keep in mind when you are hired to be a background performer you are being employed by the production company for which you are working. You always get paid by the production company and NOT Smyth Casting. Always make sure to legibly fill in all required information on your timesheet, including you Social Insurance Number, your full address including postal code and always keep the copy provided to you as a record of you days work.  If you have any inquiries in regards to payment please contact the production office of the production on which you worked.  If you leave set without submitting a timesheet or without having it signed by either an Assistant Director or a Smyth Casting representative you will not be paid.