REAL PEOPLE & ACTORS
The Nef Jones Casting team handles real people and actors for commercials, music videos, VO, documentary campaigns, and print. Below are a few samples of hard-to-find specs and how the team approached them.
TASK Find a real mother and daughter who had never seen the ocean or been to North Carolina, willing to travel and be filmed for 'Firsts That Last'.
PROCESS Our research team identified areas that were landlocked and far from easily accessible transportation. We reached out to family oriented organizations - from non-profits for underserved youth and families, to youth sports organizations and parent groups, we left no stone unturned. We utilized our network of non-union agencies with talent that fit the specs as real people, and used our real people database of 5,000+ people nationwide to search high and low.
PRODUCT We found a number of amazing and deserving families who were a fit - the team ultimately went with Jazmene and Peyton, a wonderful mother and daughter who were captured in one of the most moving and beautiful spots we've worked on to date.
TASK Find families who live in a NY area freestanding house, whose energy bill exceeded 10% of their income and who were struggling to make ends meet. The families were asked to share their stories of financial struggle and their experience with installing and using a NEST thermostat.
PROCESS Our street casting team canvassed Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens - standing in grocery store parking lots, visiting community centers, and talking to locals. Our casting research team contacted non-profit family support organizations and first-time homeowner groups in the tri-state. Our real people database of over 3000 non-actor families in the NY area helped us spread the word.
PRODUCT Three families were selected - a father working three jobs to support his three kids, a single mom and her young daughter, and a veteran facing unemployment and an uncertain future for his wife and two kids. The project was a part of a non-profit mission called Nest Power Project, which worked in tandem with Habitat for Humanity to cut energy costs for low income families around the US.
TASK Finding real people who struggled to breathe due to illnesses like Cystic Fibrosis, severe asthma, COPD, and collapsed lungs. These real people were taught to sing over a five day experience, culminating in a live performance at the historic Apollo Theater.
PROCESS This project was cast in conjunction with House Casting in 2015. Our weeks long process included attending a 9/11 First Responders picnic on Long Island where we spoke with 9/11 heroes who were struggling with their health as a result of the attack. To speak with them was both humbling and heartwarming - we were moved beyond words by their stories. We also interviewed school children, collaborated with organizations that support people with breathing-related diagnoses, and street cast in union square.
PRODUCT The campaign was the Cannes Lions Grand Prix winner, 2016 Pharma, in addition to winning the PRA Grand Prix, IPA Health Best of Show, Gold Effie USA and Silver Clio, among others.
Nine years later, the eighteen members who were selected to appear in the campaign are still in touch. One first responder, Lawerence, had not listened to music since 9/11. After filming the campaign he was the first one to call Nef several months later at 7 AM on her birthday to sing to her. Every year Nef and Laurence still wish each other Happy Birthday. Claire Wineland, the extraordinary and inspiring young star of the film, passed away in 2018.