From the Founders - Elliot & Rob
Managing FlairBox since October has been our privilege and our joy.
Meeting hundreds of passionate people in our industry every week has introduced us to an astonishing amount of talent and positivity. Seeing you get cast gives us a buzz of delight each and every time it crosses our desks. And watching your epic scene share entries each month has made us laugh, cry, and everything in between. We're so glad we could enable all this during the pandemic.
But we have to be honest with you: we don't feel we're doing enough. Around us, we're seeing an industry struggling silently as other sectors steam on with remote working. With lockdowns and travel bans in place across the UK and Europe, filming has become that bit harder. Crews are confirming to us how few productions are getting organised. So far in 2021, the industry is spending a fifth less on film and TV production in the UK.
Many practitioners in the entertainment industry did not expect the coronavirus pandemic to last as long as it has – or to be as disruptive as it's been for actors. We launched FlairBox in October 2020 to help actors find roles online. We're now in February 2021, and the UK is still in lockdown.
Against this backdrop, we've decided it's just not right to charge actors for the right to audition. There are simply too few jobs out there at the moment to justify that. For now – and for the foreseeable future – we're making all auditions free for everyone.
No one should have to pay to get a job when times are tough. One's talent shouldn't be reined in by their bank balance. Access to opportunity in this pandemic shouldn't be granted exclusively to those with the deepest pockets. If 2020 taught us anything, it's the value of community and the need to overturn injustice. In acting, that means making castings free when they're so hard to come by.
We're offering this industry-first discount so that actors can still audition – keeping their feet firmly in the door – until this pandemic is over, and the industry we love is revived.
We're actors too, remember, so we really do feel your anxiety and exhaustion. We can't wait to help you all win the roles you deserve. For now, we feel it's the least we can do to make it a little easier for you to access the roles that are out there during this difficult time.
Using FlairBox in 2021
All that said, it's important to highlight that Premium FlairBox features – like the ability to upload up to ten videos, unlimited headshots, and exclusive access to new features and all our affiliated special discounts – remain a paid-for service.
The biggest benefit we see time and again from Premium membership is that actors have enough upload space to share a range of their work. It means that you'll be able to show the different shades of your acting ability to the casting directors who are increasingly flocking to FlairBox to access the best talent in the industry.
We're chuffed to bits that our unprecedented audition discount means that all UK actors will now be able to audition via video call or self-tape without paying a membership or one-off fee – unlike all other casting websites. But we're also pleased to have built a platform that supports so much of your most amazing work – and makes you that bit more show-stopping to a browsing casting professional.
From the start, we've envisioned FlairBox as "The World's Digital Stage". Rather than forcing actors to write applications or submit for roles, FlairBox flips the process on its head, allowing actors to share their work and casting directors to shortlist them directly if they fit the casting brief – all through video, which is the single most consumed medium in the world today.
Since FlairBox’s launch in October 2020 – just before the UK’s second lockdown – more than 2,000 actors have joined the platform with almost 850 sharing their work already and dozens of casting professionals have been attracted to this new, digital-era pool of the UK’s top acting talent. Every week, more actors join the platform, and more casting agencies onboard with us.
Since December 2020, FlairBox’s monthly #SceneShare competition, run via our Twitter page, has also kept UK actors busy. The competition sees hundreds of actors sharing their best scenes each month, with the best winning prizes ranging from a home self-tape kit to a general meeting with casting professionals like Sophie Pearson – part of the team that cast Oscar-winning Jojo Rabbit and BAFTA-winning Top Boy.
Elliot Janks, Co-founder: “As actors ourselves, we know only too well the financial hardship that plagues our careers in normal times, let alone during Covid. We decided to make auditions free for all of our users because we truly believe that performers shouldn’t have to pay to be seen, and your ability to get into a casting room should not be hindered by your bank balance.”
Rob Eades, Co-founder: “It feels a real privilege to be able to provide our fellow creatives with somewhere to express themselves despite everything – the lack of work, the lockdowns, and the closed theatres and cinemas. We want to keep giving back, so this felt like the natural decision to make to help our industry bounce back.”
Stay safe, take care, and keep producing your fantastic videos.