TEKST: YASMIN YADA
FOTO: TUE BLICHFELDT
FOTO: TUE BLICHFELDT
On a chilly spring morning, when life in the city has just begun its day, we leave school and head out in a little group to ARTCAST’s office in Kødbyen at Vesterbro Copenhagen.
Kødbyen is the old meatpacking district, where you find supermarkets, restaurants and cafes in daytime, but as evening approaches the area slowly transforms into a hip and trendy nightlife scene. The smell of beer and alcohol gradually hits us, as we arrive and park our bikes in this area which only few of us have seen in actual day light. We gather in a circle, smoke a cigarette and wait in anticipation for our visit at ARTCAST to begin.
ARTCAST is a casting agency founded in 2005 by Gro Therp and Ditte Kiel. The agency provides castings for films, TV-productions, commercials and photo shoots. Recently Ditte and Gro casted the actors for the new Danish film “Nordvest” by Mikael Noer.
We have been so lucky to get a private interview with the two ladies, and hear their story about ARTCAST – how they started out and where they are today.
Gro and Ditte friendly greet us at the office. They offer us a glass of water, and we sit down in two small rows, as they begin telling us their individual life stories…
Ditte has been studying various subjects such as biology and philosophy. She started working as a model, which later led her to work with jewelry design and PR. Gro and Ditte met at a restaurant in Copenhagen, where they worked together.
Gro finished high school and had a baby when she was eighteen. Because of her family’s interest in Gro getting an education, she started studying to become a teacher. After six months she lost interest and began working for free as a food assistant on a danish soap opera. She slowly worked her way up and finally became an assistant caster. Six years later she met up with Ditte to get a discount on some jewelry. At this time both of them needed a change in their carriers, and this is when they came up with the idea of starting a casting agency together.
Today the agency is very busy with various projects. ARTCAST is know for taking on noncommercial assignments, and casted for films such as “Kapringen”, “R” and “10 timer til paradis”. These are all Danish films with an edge and elements of the tough realities of life.
Being in Artcasts office and listening to these two women, you quickly get the feeling that Gro and Ditte share the same passion and enthusiasm for their brand of business. They build their business on hard work, starting out with nothing but their experience and social network. Being self-employed is not for everyone, because it really takes guts and willpower to succeed, and this is something that Gro and Ditte definitely have.
I sat down with Gro, for a Q and A:
How did you move on from idea to action when starting ARTCAST?
”We began making a profile for our agency, it had to be clear what separated us from other casting agencies. Then made a book with all our models and actors for potential customers. We saved up money, launched a webpage, and started casting in our own apartments”.
Casting is not an official education, what kind of qualities must a person possess in order to become a caster?
“It is very important to have a natural interest in people, wanting to know about their background, environment and history. You need to be outgoing and talkative”.
Can you give me a few good advices for young people wanting to become independent in business?
“Work discipline. If you decide to start your own company or to be independent in another way, you must do it because you cannot not do it, because you can’t stop yourself from doing it. And always be accurate and alert on paying your taxes, it can really screw you over if you’re not.”
What are some pros and cons having your own company and being self-employed?
“There are no cons, ha ha. You can decide so many things yourself, and make your own jobs. A big plus is, that no one can fire you. I love my job and what I do, our company has become my baby”.
We thank Gro and Ditte for sharing their stories and taking time off just for us. Today’s visit has come to an end. The sun is shining outside, we get back up on our bikes and leave ARTCAST with a feeling of excitement and inspiration. The meeting with these two strong and independent characters has been very fascinating, it gives you courage to think differently about education, dreams and priorities in life.