There’s a lot to be said about street casting, Sarah’s preferred method, and something she’s carving out a reputation for among brands and editors. Of course, it doesn’t work in the same way conventional agency casting does. Rather it’s all about chance encounters; spotting that perfect face on Instagram, the bus, or in Tesco, or having them zoom past you on an electric scooter never to be seen again; “the worst,” according to Sarah.
“FCP [CSM’S Fashion Communication and Promotion course] has a reputation for being super intense and competitive, it’s funny, because the industry, or maybe just the side I’m working in, isn’t like that at all.” – Sarah Smal
Many don’t realise that casting is a career path, certainly, it wasn’t until Small went to study fashion communication and promotion at Central Saint Martins that she became aware of this as a route: a friend was assisting with AAMO casting and she decided to give it a go. Did the course prepare Sarah well for the industry? “FCP [CSM’S Fashion Communication and Promotion course] has a reputation for being super intense and competitive, it’s funny,” she says, “because the industry, or maybe just the side I’m working in, isn’t like that at all.” Despite this, it certainly prepared her for the deadlines, personalities, and juggling multiple projects at one time. In fact, Small’s final major project, focusing on the notion of status, was heavily reliant on casting.
As she establishes herself as a street casting director under her very own Good Catch name, Small clearly has the eye for what makes for a good face for each shoot, perhaps due to her lifelong obsession with people-watching and a fixation on documentary films and photography. It takes an element of visual storytelling for the talent to project a coherent image that fits the brief, and at a time where more individual faces are pushing through in editorials and campaigns, there seems to be a distinct interest in more personality within the casting of many shoots. Models that tell an interesting story rather than the arguable desert of modern-day supermodels, “I think there is space in the industry for that but it’s moving at a glacial pace,” Small responds when asked about the increase in demand for individuality and complex stories that are beginning to carry more weight, particularly within editorial work.
“Most of the time someone will come to me with a strong casting brief. Other times there’ll be a loose idea and I can have more of an input with where to take it.” – Sarah Small