The Film, Television and Advertising industry, while very rewarding for successful talent, can be heartlessly cruel to the majority of aspiring talent which keeps struggling, break-less. Now, popular classifieds platform Quikr has announced the launch of Dazzlr, a talent discovery platform that will bring together actors, casting professionals, directors and producers. Dazzlr is available on both Android and iOS, and is out on a mission that its official release describes as that of “organizing casting and talent discovery that will address the needs of the film industry in India and beyond”. Especially in light of several failed and struggling talent support initiatives in the recent and not so recent past, Dazzlr is a truly welcome and laudable initiative, and for the sake of all the aspirants in India and beyond, we hope it succeeds.
After looking at the concept, BOLLYWOODBRIEF believes this is on the lines of a Naukri.com, and has the potential to emulate its success in the creative space.
In just a couple of weeks of testing, 70 casting directors, production houses, advertising agencies and close to 2000 artists are using the platform across India. Dazzlr has already helped to cast commercials for Axis Bank and Dark Fantasy Chocolates
Quikr has developed Dazzlr in partnership with third-generation film maker Vivek Bohra and casting director Aadore Mukherjee to attempt to bridge the demand and supply gap between producers and talent across formats like cinema, television, theatre, advertising, regional and international film production. Dazzlr, based in Mumbai, will operate as an independent entity under the Quikr umbrella.
The response so far has been “very encouraging”, says Dazzlr co-founder Mukherjee. “In barely a couple of weeks of testing, we have over 70 casting directors, production houses, advertising agencies and close to 2000 artists using the platform across India. Dazzlr has already helped to cast commercials for Axis Bank and Dark Fantasy Chocolates, just like my upcoming film Baar Baar Dekho which features cast from the UK.” He expects Dazzlr to create an impact for talent internationally as well.
Looking at Dazzlr:
Let’s look at the Dazzlr offering. First, its self-description on the Google Play Store, where it is described as an “Entertainment Marketplace” that enables job seekers (actors, dancers, models, etc.) to connect with clients (directors, casting directors, production houses, etc.).
Dazzlr helps opportunity providers (clients) find the right talent with the help of smart cast technology. It enables its talent to build portfolios, upload images and videos on the app to showcase their credentials.
The talent discovery process is highly simplified and made quicker, thanks to the Dazzlr App which is envisaged as a one-stop shop for production houses, film makers, casting directors and advertising and modelling agencies to find and book talent.
What artistes can do with Dazzlr:
Dazzlr allows the artist to create a portfolio, and upload images and videos to showcase their appearance and talent. It also allows the Artist to browse/filter through the opportunities and apply for them. Moreoever, the artist can receive opportunity recommendations, audition call notifications and messages from the producer or casting director or production house (clients).
So the Artists will be able to showcase their talent and credentials, and being discover-able will allow them the opportunity to apply for roles across different film industries and formats of entertainment. Artists will receive instant notifications on their app when a production house or casting director is interested in their profile. Artists have complete privacy, only clients get to see the profiles.
What clients can do with Dazzlr:
Dazzlr allows the clients (read producers) to post their requirements and even ask for a video by providing a specific script. They can mask their identity while posting their requirements. Clients can browse/filter through the pool of talents available. They can bookmark and send audition calls to suitable talent. The clients can also send messages to the artist without revealing the contact details. They can also create assistant logins to delegate the task.
The clients will benefit from the ability to connect with a potentially big talent pool from which they can discover suitable talent very quickly. It will be particularly useful for casting directors as a one-stop platform to manage their end-to-end casting needs without sharing their personal details.
Meanwhile, here’s a video on the Dazzlr app to help put things in some simple perspective:
Dazzlr’s Value Add Services:
One important initiative is a whole section of Value Add Services from Dazzlr. Personal Directed Audition to create a great video show reel, Audition Practice & Prep (in select cities only), Portfolio Packages and Hire a Casting Director are some of the services offered under the Value Add Services bouquet.
We had some questions on the smart descriptor of ‘smart cast technology’ that Dazzlr has used, and have asked for a more detailed explanation, which will be published in an update.
We’ve also sought replies to some simple questions on the business model of Dazzlr, specifically, the following questions:
- What is the business model? How will Dazzlr and Quikr make their money with this initiative?
- Does the aspirant (the artist or talent this service is for) need to pay either Dazzlr or Quikr anything at all, at any stage?
- Apart from the free service and the value add service, will there be any other paid service or charges?
Since we’re filing this story on the weekend — when spokesperson-access is understandably difficult — we shall await the replies and update the story as soon as we have them. But meanwhile, here are the official Quikr and Dazzlr statements from the announcement:
Quikr Founder & CEO Pranay Chulet says, “Right from our early days, we’ve had entertainment as a category in Quikr. It gets half a million monthly unique visitors without any marketing because of the sheer size of India’s media and entertainment industry. Artists are always looking for projects, aspirants are always looking for a break and production houses are always looking for talent. Technology can be a huge enabler in this marketplace as I’ve seen in my own experience in this space in the past. We’re tremendously excited about this opportunity to help bring more structure to this large, multilingual industry that touches every corner of India.”
Vivek Bohra, Writer, Director and Dazzlr Co-Founder, says, “We have worked closely with the product and technology teams at Quikr to ensure that Dazzlr caters to the unique needs of our peers in the film industry. While we begin with getting ease and transparency to casting and discoverability for industry professionals, we are sure that the road ahead is going to see many more divisions of the entertainment industry becoming more transparent and organized.”
By Pavan R Chawla
There have been some talent-support portals launched in India, but most have either closed down or are languishing in the red and mediocrity. That is primarily because the process of casting for any kind of production is a deadly serious job for its producers, and just as media buying never happens just because a media seller has placed an ad on a B2B website, so does casting nearly always happen only with direct and personal contact. However, BollywoodBrief knows how important it is for the young and not so young strugglers and aspirants to get their breaks, and hopes that Dazzler does well and, for the same of the talent and the industry, prospers.
In a country where movies are a passion and movie-career aspirants legion, it is strange that nobody ever thought of a concept for the creative aspirants across formats like cinema, television, theatre, advertising, regional and international film production.
It’s a great idea, provided the Dazzlr platform has the scale and backend prowess to support the number of aspirants — who will come and stay only if the Dazzlr service – on technical robustness and human follow up quality – are formidable, and if the pricing is anything but.
To our mind, Dazzlr seems to have the DNA of one of the most successful professional job placement services of India, Naukri, and can well and truly be the Naukri of the creative space. But what is critical is that Dazzlr’s post-download and registration services must be as good and seamless as a Naukri’s. It’s a great idea, provided the Dazzlr platform has the scale and backend prowess to support the number of aspirants — who will come and stay only if the Dazzlr service – on technical robustness and human follow up quality – are formidable, and if the pricing is anything but.
While the Indian media and entertainment sector alone is expected to become a US$ 29.11 billion by 2019, better quality and greater variety can only come from newer talent getting its rightful opportunities. Hopefully, Dazlr will play a role there.
Dazzlr does have the potential to become the talent discovery platform that finally organises the Indian film industry in terms of the producer-aspirant dialogue, connect and relationships.