Budding Thespian? Find Out Who Adland’s Best Of The Best Casting Directors Are, Presented By Finecast, Part Of GroupM Nexus

Budding Thespian? Find Out Who Adland’s Best Of The Best Casting Directors Are, Presented By Finecast, Part Of GroupM Nexus

The people in adverts can make or break its overall creative vision, making it essential to get your casting right. Plus, with a greater focus on diversity, inclusion and representation than ever before it not only pays to get your casting right, but it could do your business some serious harm if you get it wrong.

Fortunately, adland has a range of expert casting directors at its disposal to ensure that the faces appearing in your ads are on the money every time. Of course, picking the best 10 casting directors — let alone the order — is one hell of a task. As ever, we’ve consulted our industry friends for their views on who is the Best of the Best, taken a look at the work they’ve produced throughout the year and any awards or recognition they might have won over the last 12 months.

Recently, we’ve also covered the Best of the Best Media Planning Directors, Consumer PRs and Developers — along with a host of other adland disciplines beforehand.

So, with all that out the way, here are adland’s Best of the Best Casting Directors, Presented by Finecast, Part of GroupM Nexus.

10. Nick Hamon, founder, NickHamonCasting

Hamon founded NHC back in 1998 at just 26. However, despite his tender years, the results have been clear for all to see. He helped set up the Casting Guild of Australia and was the organisation’s vice president between 2013 and 2016. A huge range of work has followed from movies and TV shows to TVC work for clients including Mercedes-Benz, Worksafe, Qantas and Australia Post to name a few. More recent work includes Bonds’ “Big Icon Energy” and Furphy’s “The Rookie”.

9. Holly Bryar, founder & CEO, Bryar

Bryar has been a finalist in the last two B&T Women in Media Awards, making her one of the forerunners in the small sector that plays such an important role in the campaigns we all love to see. In the past year, she’s cast the talent in campaigns for the likes of Resmed and Australian Seniors. A lot of Bryar’s (the agency and the woman) focus on the TV, rather than the TVC side of things. But her efforts to champion diversity, representation and inclusion on screen — from race to socioeconomic background and to current life situations makes her an instructive casting director for the industry. She has also mentored and coached other women through one-on-one coaching sessions.

8. Joe Wijangco, casting director, i4 Casting

Wijangco has been in the industry since just before the turn of the millennium and has cast more than 1,500 campaigns to date including some Cannes Lions-winning campaigns. Personally, he’s picked up a D&A Pencil for Casting (though that was in film advertising) and won a bunch of Casting Guild of Australia gongs too. His work gets results for some of Australia’s biggest brands. i4 Casting has been working on Toyota campaigns for a while now and marketing budgets don’t come much bigger than the automakers. The ads are pretty good, too.

7. Melanie Mackintosh, casting director/ company director, Mackintosh Casting

Mackintosh’s career started back in 1993, working with the Minogue sisters’  (yes, those ones) management team. However, a year later, she moved over to casting and quickly established herself as one of the leading casting agents in Melbourne. In 2006, she set up her own eponymous agency and has worked on more than 1,000 TVCs for brands including recent work for Suzuki, Shell, Ladbrokes and Coles.

However, she has also been a huge help to the industry and her peers. She was a driving force behind establishing the Casting Guild of Australia and has served on its Executive Committee since 2013. She also recently launched TheBizBook, an online directory designed to help artists navigate the entertainment industry in Australia.

6. Toni Higginbotham, founder, Toni Higginbotham Casting

Like many others on this list, Higginbotham founded an eponymous casting agency. Few, however, are quite as longstanding. After stints at Wildside Productions and the ABC, Higginbotham founded her own agency in 1998.

Since then, she has gone on to cast talent in huge campaigns with recognition at Cannes, AWARD, Clio and Caxton. In fact, she won AWARD’s first and only Gold Pencil for Casting, for her work on Droga5’s “The Regulars” for Victoria Bitter. More recently, she cast the talent in CommBank’s “For All The Goals We Share” campaign ahead of the Women’s World Cup.

5. Danny Long, founder, Danny Long Casting

First things first, the Danny is short for Danielle and she came very highly recommended to us by some very highly respected creatives within the industry. After working at Barrett Casting for six years, she founded her eponymous company based out of Redfern. She and her team have worked on TVCs for some of the biggest ads of the year including Qantas’ “Feels Like Home Again” and Uber Eats’ “Get Almost Almost Anything”.

4. Natalie Jane Harvie, director, Citizen Jane

If we were basing this list on the imagination shown in agency naming, Harvie would be right at the top. Harvie founded the agency in 2010 after spending more than 20 years as a professional singer. Now, she has a Casting Guild of Australia Award for Best Casting in a TVC gong to her name and cast some of B&T‘s favourite recent ads including Telstra’s “This Is Footy Country” — which won our campaign of the month for September — and AfterPay’s bizarrely brilliant “Where You Wouldn’t Believe” campaign.

3. Stephanie Pringle, principal casting director & co-founder, Chicken & Chips Casting

Pringle launched Chicken & Chips Casting along with her business partner Alison Fowler back in 2015 when they were 27 and 26 years old, respectively. In the subsequent eight years, Chicken & Chips has gone on to cast talent in anything but bread-and-butter roles, working with the likes of Telstra, Optus, Cancer Council, Lexus and Smirnoff. She also became the first Casting Director to become the overall B&T 30 Under 30 winner and was our Best of the Best Casting Director in 2021.

2. Mathew Waters, casting director, Mathew Waters Casting

Keen readers will remember Waters from last year’s Best of the Best Awards. Since scooping the top Casting Director gong, he’s cast talent in work for Kia, Lenovo, NCS Australia and Vicks. But, the tastiest work he’s been involved with was, of course, for Smiths.

1. Kylie Green, founder & director, The Lime Agency

While Waters topped the list last year, he has been toppled by Green and her colourfully named agency. She’s no stranger to the pages of B&T, either having won the Casting Agent category at our recent Women in Media Awards. The zesty agency is just three years old but Green and have a very long list of clients and talent. Recent TVC credits include work for Coles and The Good Guys featuring one very, very famous British chef.

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