When I came to Istanbul seeking fame and fortune as a writer, little did I imagine that I would also be a star. A movie star. My friend Rich in New York is a huge James Bond fan and when the call came for extras in Istanbul (hmm, who did he know?), he sent along the info to me. I called the casting agency and that’s how last May I ended up acting like a tourist in Eminönü Square and crouching down by Daniel Craig’s exceedingly tight pants. Thank you very much. If standing thisclose to Daniel Craig was exciting, the 5:30 am casting call was less so and make no mistake the days were long and tiring (we gave back our wardrobe around 7 – 8 pm). Even so, it was still loads of fun and an experience I can dine out on for years to come.
Becoming a movie star is easy. First, you need a bit of kısmet in your destiny, next you need to have a flexible schedule because oftentimes there isn’t a lot of time between getting cast and actually doing the commercial. And scheduling can change quite quickly too – sometimes from one day to the next, depending on the shooting schedule. So, flexibility is key.
Then, you need a bit of stamina. Though not all days are as long as the Skyfall shoot, they usually do begin very early in the morning and go on at least 6 – 8 hours. Most often, you’ll be asked to provide your own clothes, though everything I have brought in has been nixed by wardrobe and they love to put me in costumes I would never choose for myself. Then there’s hair and makeup and sometimes it does get a bit over the top. Still interested? Of course, you are.
Then get in touch with the casting agency, Rüzgar Casting Ajans, which specializes in foreign casting. It’s run by Ezgi Adeoye, a young woman with an incredible business sense, tons of energy and a caring nature. So you want to be a star? Yes, you! And no, you don’t have to be model thin or Scarlett Johansson gorgeous, just your lovely foreign self will do. Well then, just give the agency a call (they speak English) to set up an appointment. They’re conveniently located in Şişli. They’ll take some photos, a short video and ask you for some other pertinent info (height, weight, age, dress/suit and shoe size, etc.).
If you fit the type that the movie/series/commercial makers are looking for, off you go to the audition – though mostly, for background artists (which is the politically correct term for extras), your photo/video will be enough. The auditions usually come with the speaking roles, which is what happened to me for the JLo commercial (true story!). I had already told people on three continents about it when the commercial was scrapped (easy come, easy go). That’s another part of fame and fortune, it turns on a dime. Sometimes, the Universe just has to say no to two Boogie Down beauties starring in a commercial for chocolate in Istanbul.
Fear not, I got cast in other commercials – and I am still dreaming about doing one with Russell Crowe or (gasp!) George Clooney. Stardom can be yours in Istanbul if you remember to sign up with Rüzgar Ajans, wake up early and remember your lines.
After that can stardom be far behind? I think not.
If you are ready for your close up, here’s what you need to know:
Rüzgar Casting Ajans
Merkez Mh. Sıracevizler Cad.
Akın Apt. No. 53 K. 6 D. 16