#TimesUp: How Tech Levels The Playing Field In Hollywood


Oprah Winfrey Golden Globes

Oprah Winfrey — Golden Globes 2018

With the Weinstein Effect in full force, there has been no slowing down on the movement toward equality for women in Hollywood. The latest news: Paul Higgins, director of “Crash” and “Million Dollar Baby,” was accused on January 5th of four instances of sexual misconduct. Last Sunday night, the Golden Globes continued the trend, driving home the point that the industry isn’t going to stop until all the bad Hollywood players have been removed. As host Seth Meyers succinctly put it, “It’s 2018, marijuana is finally allowed, and sexual harassment finally isn’t. It’s gonna be a good year!”

Hear, hear. As a woman in Hollywood, I’ve seen harassment, bigotry, and intimidation happening firsthand. It’s an unfortunate truth, but a truth nonetheless: this industry tends to reward and shelter people who take advantage of others. With my own personal experience in mind, I set out three years ago to create a safe, trusted platform where actors could get booked without fear of predatory casting directors or sleazy talent agencies. That platform is Castifi.


Castifi Talent on set of Red Lobster Commercial

[Castifi talent on set for a shoot with NowThis and Red Lobster]

Where does Castifi come in?

At Castifi, our goal is to leverage technology for two purposes: to make it easier for production companies to unearth diverse talent, and to provide a better solution for actors and performers seeking quality work. To achieve this, we’ve built software that empowers productions to find, hire, manage, and pay talent seamlessly without interrupting their tried-and-true casting processes.

The beauty of tech is that it allows us to transcend our all-too-human biases and preconceptions. Like all (well, most) algorithms, Castifi’s casting algorithm is neutral to factors like gender, race, and age. Instead, Castifi ranks talent based on their timeliness, responsiveness, and how many jobs they’ve successfully worked with us. In an industry where discriminatory gatekeeping can limit opportunities for talent, we’re committed to lowering the barrier for the best performers to connect with quality productions.

Don’t get me wrong, productions can still use Castifi to find the perfect faces for their scenes, the same way they would with any other casting service. We fully understand that searching for talent with specific characteristics (including gender and race) is a natural part of the casting process. The difference is that the Castifi system surfaces actors that do good work and have great ratings. Actors that have bad attitudes, show up late, or no-show are weeded out on their own.

On the Castifi platform, we take trust and safety seriously, with a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination on set. Most importantly, our technology allows for total transparency during the casting process. Performers always know all of the pertinent details for the shoot, have a direct point of contact for questions and concerns, and know exactly how much they’ll be paid before arriving on set. With concerns about pay equity and fair compensation at the forefront, we built our app to empower talent with as much information as possible, so performers can make informed decisions about who to work with next.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to trust — one of Castifi’s core values. Productions that work with us trust that the talent we supply is enthusiastic, skilled, and professional. Our talent trusts Castifi to support them every step of the way. And we trust our technology to contribute to a future where the entertainment industry is free from bias, harassment, and inequity. It’s my responsibility — as a CEO, a leader, and a woman in Hollywood — to work toward that future, and I’m excited to be on the forefront of the fight for equality.

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