founder

Slate Click Is Making Casting Calls Nationally Accessible

Introduction

When Americans think of the film industry, big cities are often what come to mind. For example, Hollywood is nearly synonymous with blockbusters and A-list celebrities, and New York City is a cultural capital. However, talented newcomers exist across the US, and it can be hard for them to gain notice.

Slate Click — the flagship product of Casting Calls America — offers a solution for rising talents by providing a platform for national and regional call listings. Cast listings can be posted on the site, and actors and actresses can submit auditions online. We reached out to co-founder and Chief Product Officer Brian Jagger to learn about Slate Click’s origins and gain further insight into the market.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Zee Zhong

Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?

Brian Jagger

Slate Click creates and delivers Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to the entertainment and production industry via our nationally- and regionally-focused brands. We help productions find actors, crew, props, set pieces, vehicles, animals, locations, and more. And we help actors, film crew professionals, and property owners find paying roles, work, and rental or purchase opportunities.

Zee Zhong

What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?

Brian Jagger

The first site in our network was Sacramento Casting (saccasting.com). It came from a personal pain point as a casting director in a smaller market: Sacramento, CA. 

Before us, there was software to help find and manage casting calls in big production cities like Los Angeles and New York but not in smaller markets like Sacramento. So, I asked a friend and now co-founder, Bryan Heath — a software engineer — to help build one I could use to solve my problem. Once done, we made it available for others to use. We quickly realized that it hit a need and that the same problem was most likely in other cities. That’s when we brought in our third co-founder, Kirk Uher, and together, we started expanding the company to multiple regions.

Zee Zhong

What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?

Brian Jagger

Like most quality startups, we started with a personal need that we found others had too — regional casting and audition software. Prior to this, I was a working actor, then a casting director, and was also making my own content. These experiences showed me all sides of the process and exposed me to the pain points. 

Prior to anything in the film or production industry, I worked in marketing, management, and business development for some small and very large companies. That diversified experience helped me then and continues to help me now as we continue our growth and expansion.

Zee Zhong

What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?

Brian Jagger

Even prior to the pandemic, things were starting to go more remote and less in-person, as far as the start of the production process. Auditions and coordination for production are handled by teams that are further separated than before. We saw this before the pandemic and in fact were already offering “Instant Auditions” that allowed for those casting actors to put the audition directions within their initial casting call and let submitting actors receive the directions and then record and upload their auditions. This gives the actors a better chance at being seen while also helping those casting filter and screen talent faster than before and possibly discover diamonds in the rough.

In the future, we see this decentralizing trend continuing. More and more production will happen throughout the country (and world) and will require the need for more software-based solutions to coordinate and manage the process. We also see video, both recorded and live, being used more to conduct auditions, interviews, site scouting, purchasing, and more. As we are already well adapted to this, we feel we’ll be a dominant provider of such solutions.

Zee Zhong

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Brian Jagger

 In addition to myself, our executive team consists of my two other co-founders. Kirk Uhler handles our financial, legal, and other administrative oversight and serves as our chief executive officer. Bryan Heath serves as our chief technology officer. This is my second collaboration with both Kirk and Bryan. The first was in the employment space that went to market right as the last recession hit and subsequently was shuttered.

We also have a fantastic support team that operates seven days a week. Our an advisory panel has some truly amazing working professionals in the film industry, including actors like Todd Haberkorn (Fairy Tail, Paranormal Prison) and Rick Cosnett (The Flash, Vampire Diaries); one of the top working casting directors, Beverly Holloway (I Can Only Imagine, A Week Away); and a true expert in on-set operation in Craig “Burnie” Burns. 

Zee Zhong

Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?

Brian Jagger

There are several other companies in this space. They either started as physical casting companies or as print publications that converted to online listing places. There are fewer players in this space now than a year ago, as there have been several acquisitions. 

We consider ourselves a software development company that caters to the entertainment and production industry rather than a production support company that offers software. This mindset has helped us adapt and grow faster than our competitors.

Zee Zhong

What does your business model look like?

Brian Jagger

For our core brand, Casting Calls America, we charge the actors wishing to use our platform a flat monthly subscription fee. This model will be the same for our crew listing platforms. This is typical in this industry and is different from a “job board” as the projects are short-term and require on-going access and submissions. Each film, show, production, and even episode of a series is a different project requiring new people, locations, props, and more. This allows for a unique, two-sided marketplace that can justify a subscription model yet still affords us opportunity for other revenue streams as well.

Zee Zhong

What brought you to equity crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Brian Jagger

This is our first raise, as we were 100% bootstrapped prior to this raise and are currently profitable. The interest in raising funds now is a result of our desire to better and more quickly market our new brands and services. For example, our new Crew Calls America division is already partnered with IMDbPro but needs marketing.

We were attracted to equity crowdfunding because of our small cap table and the ability to share our opportunity with not only traditional investors, but with our audiences of actors and filmmakers, too. And that’s where we’ve seen the early interest. Our users are becoming investors, which is very exciting and encouraging.

Zee Zhong

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Brian Jagger

The fact that we’re profitable and completely bootstrapped is unique and shows the commitment and fortitude of this team. We also want potential investors to note some of our larger successes, such as our partnership with Amazon’s IMDbPro. This speaks to the credibility of our platform and offering by being one of only four companies (two of five brands) to have such a relationship.

Zee Zhong

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Brian Jagger

In the past year alone, there have been several large acquisitions in this space. There has also been unprecedented growth in media content development. There are more hours of TV and film produced every year. And more and more of these productions are happening outside of the former “hubs,” creating exponential growth opportunities. Our regional markets are incredibly valuable, as is our best-in-class software, making us a possible acquisition target. That said, the proper execution of our growth plan will put us in a great position for a future liquidity event.

We are excited to see where Brian and his team take the company. Slate Click is currently raising on Republic.

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