Open Casting Competitions and Star Talent Casting Initiatives for feature films and TV shows often cost less to run than a full page ad, but can deliver millions of pounds worth of publicity and media coverage, giving a much better ROI than traditional promotions and consumer competitions. says Michelle Jones, animation casting director – Brilliant Casting.

The idea isn’t new; it originated in the international markets when content was dubbed into local languages.   From this, a commercial opportunity was identified and open casting searches were created.  Kids could enter a competition and win the chance to voice an animated character for theatrical, TV or DVD releases.  The competition provided an opportunity and ability to promote films on-air as a promotion rather than an advertisement.  Retailers and media partners loved the mechanic and sponsorship values began to increase by using these competitions.  Consumer engagement is key to a successful promotion. These competitions provide valuable co-created content that can also be used by all promotional partners on-air and online, generating additional publicity and mass media coverage.

However, dubbing original content (usually created in the US) into English using local Brits is relatively new and has proved to be a brilliant idea!  Replacing the US actor with a UK household name, like Disney did with Nick Grimshaw as Brad in Wreck It Ralph, provided Disney with additional publicity for the film and national coverage on a primetime non-commercial station.  This was hugely valuable and just not possible without the promotional mechanic.  More publicity, both national press and primetime TV coverage, was secured by replacing US actors with star talent such as Lorraine Kelly, Lenny Henry, Simon Pegg and Jonathan Ross in Disney Channel’s Phineas & Ferb, generating extensive coverage worth millions of pounds.


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Michelle Jones from Brilliant Casting says, “These open casting competitions are a great promotional mechanic for studios to run in partnership with their media partners, sponsors and retailers. They offer a once in a lifetime, money can’t buy experience for both kids and adults in animated features films and TV shows. Using UK star talent casting initiatives creates huge publicity for feature films, TV series and DVD releases. If you’re looking for a cost effective way to promote your new feature film, create a unique reason for your customers to buy a Bluray / DVD re-release or just generate additional publicity for your TV show, these initiatives are a brilliant idea.”

Brilliant Casting also produce creative assets, such as behind the scenes filming, EPKs and photoshoots as well as press releases and media interviews (embargoed until release date) all created at the actual voice recording session. This ensures that the all-important marketing materials are secured and available for future use to promote the film or TV series.

For more information about running a competition and star talent casting contact Michelle Jones (animation casting director) at or on 020 3174 2272.