TV talent casting | Case study
COCO and Submit
COCO is a leading television and media production company based in Dublin, Ireland.
They have a massive slate of diverse programmes broadcasting in Ireland, the UK and abroad with shows such as First Dates Ireland, Room To Improve and Don’t Tell the Bride Ireland. They use Submit.com to cast talent for these shows and more.
Paul Kelly, Social Media Producer with COCO, is also the Chief Administrator of the system.
He has only ever known using Submit.com, “I started around three years ago, and it’s been here since well before then.
“I know the casting producers, particularly on First Dates, find the system helpful. For me, the best thing about Submit is how intuitive it is. I don’t have to spend ages training new casting producers on how to use the system.”
First Dates Ireland
COCO produce the Irish version of the international reality television series. The programme is filmed at The Gibson Hotel in Dublin and shows people from different backgrounds on blind dates. It has been a colossal ratings success, and the fifth series is set to be broadcast on RTÉ2 in early 2020.
Four casting producers work on First Dates. They can spend months talking to people, understanding them and considering their matches, before bringing them to the restaurant in the Gibson Hotel.
For the upcoming fifth series, they received over 4,000 applications which present a particular casting challenge.
As Paul notes, “if we’re collecting basic information, we might get away with using a free tool, but with something with a lot of moving parts like First Dates, a system like Submit is essential. I don’t know what we’d do without it.”
While the programme is entertainment, COCO takes its role in matching couples very seriously. They make full use of Submit’s feature suite, including auto-tagging.
An issue COCO had recently was with age-based questions. Before they asked it as a standard text question where people would fill in their age, but this had its drawbacks.
“People would maybe take a few years off themselves, so instead we have the question as a multiple-choice question with age ranges,” said Paul. “We’ve seen a massive improvement since then.”
COCO implement a multi-phase approach to the application process for First Dates Ireland. A phone interview usually follows a completed application form, and if they’re successful, the applicant is invited to submit a three minute Q&A video clip. “I know having the information on a screen in front of them as they’re speaking to the person is beneficial for the casting producers,” said Paul.
Paul also had high praise for Submit’s Customer Success team, saying;
“The casting producers for First Dates spend a lot of time in the system when we’re casting and find it very intuitive. One thing we appreciate is if we come across a bug or have a feature idea we’d like to see, the team at Submit are usually quick with a fix.”
Key Features Used
Application forms for their other shows follow a similar format to First Dates Ireland. Often, COCO needs a lot of information from applicants to decide whether they’re right for a show. These thorough questions can result in a significant number of incomplete applications, but Paul and the casting producers use the drafts feature to combat this.
“What we’ve found useful for our lesser-known shows is the drafts feature,” said Paul. “We can see at all times how many applications are in progress and what percentage of the form they have completed. We can connect with any draft applicants we like the look of and encourage them to complete the form.”
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