Taking Time to Delve Deeper: Casting Talk with 7 Fingers' Head of Casting, Louis Bourgaut

Circus News

Taking Time to Delve Deeper: Casting Talk with 7 Fingers’ Head of Casting, Louis Bourgaut

From managing live auditions to navigating the sea of online talent profiles, finding the right performer for your next production can be a very involved process. Louis Bourgaut, casting manager of The 7 Fingers, shares how digital tools provide an added value for talent seekers in the casting process.

Louis Bourgaut has been deeply steeped in the arts and culture of France from a very early age thanks to his family’s passionate involvement in these fields. Inspired after witnessing the mesmerizing showTRACES by The 7 Fingers, he embarked on a journey to master the circus arts. Louis cultivated his skills by graduating from l’École nationale de cirque de Châtellerault and then furthered his education at l’École de cirque de QuĂ©bec, where he completed his training in 2016. In 2019, he became a part of The 7 Fingers team and has since risen to the position of Head of Casting, where he continues to contribute to the vibrant world of performance arts. 

We recently caught up with Louis to hear his insights into The 7 Fingers casting process: what the company looks for, the tools they use, and what makes someone stand out within the talent pool.

Melissa Mellon (MM):  What is the very first thing that you do when you begin to cast for a show or a role? 

Louis Bourgaut (LB): The first step in casting for a show or role is to align with the artistic directors and their vision for the production. We start by sitting down with them to thoroughly understand the show’s concept and the specific requirements of each role. For Les 7 Doigts shows, the casting process is particularly intricate, as each discipline and artist must come together seamlessly, like the pieces of a puzzle. Armed with this knowledge, we reach out to potential candidates, carefully assessing whether they meet the necessary criteria and would be a suitable fit for the project.

MM: What is the most satisfying part of the casting process for you? 

LB: The most rewarding aspect of casting for me is experiencing the audience’s enthusiastic response and standing ovation at the end of the show. Additionally, receiving positive feedback, particularly for new recruits, during or at the end of the contract is incredibly fulfilling. 

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MM: What is the most difficult part of casting from a tools and technology point of view? 

LB: The most challenging aspect of casting from a tools and technology standpoint is managing the abundance of platforms and social networks dedicated to casting. It can be overwhelming for both casting teams and artists to navigate the multitude of options available. However, it’s important to view these tools as additional resources that can enhance the casting process. Prioritizing and actively maintaining these tools is key. For us, social networks play a significant role in recruitment, but we can’t solely rely on them. When we find a promising profile, we take the time to delve deeper and get to know the artist in all their facets. Our database has become an indispensable tool in the ever-growing pool of artists we hire. 

MM: Do you see any potential ways to make this aspect less of a pain point? 

LB: We have made efforts to enhance our online database system, making it more user-friendly with features like the ability to create or modify profiles using a phone.  

Additionally, there are external solutions like casting platforms that cater to groups of companies and recruiters. While managing multiple platforms can be challenging, it’s ultimately a positive development, as it provides artists with more opportunities to showcase their talent and secure work. 

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MM: What is something that you wish artists knew about the casting process, and what can artists do to facilitate a casting director’s work? 

LB: From my point of view, authenticity and generosity are crucial in the casting process. Providing comprehensive information about yourself to the casting team can expedite the process, which can move rapidly at times. Being able to present the right information quickly helps you stand out. These traits also contribute to the longevity of the partnership, as we aim to establish long-lasting relationships with the artists we recruit. 

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Melissa Mellon
Sales and Acquisition Manager -UNITED STATES
One of the co-founders of the theatre company Watermelon Bathtub, Melissa Mellon (she/her) is a Philadelphia-based circus artist, content creator, and educator. She studied Theatre Performance at Juniata College, where she trained in acting, movement expression, Skinner Releasing, and Fitzmaurice Voicework, and was introduced to single point trapeze. She finally made her way to training at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, where she is now a youth and adult coach. Melissa is skilled in aerial arts on the lyra, trapeze (single and double point), pole, lollipop, and sling, as well as trained in fire flow and safety. Her favorite thing to do is create beautiful flying and ambient acts.
Carolyn Klein
Content Writer -United States
Carolyn Klein is a writer, poet, and circus fan from the Washington, D.C, area. Writing stories about the circus has been a dream of hers since getting introduced to circus fiction around 2014. She recently completed her B.A. in English and Creative Writing, magna cum laude, at George Mason University. As a new member of the Circus Talk journalism team, Carolyn looks forward to learning as much as she can about the industry and people behind circus.
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Melissa Mellon

One of the co-founders of the theatre company Watermelon Bathtub, Melissa Mellon (she/her) is a Philadelphia-based circus artist, content creator, and educator. She studied Theatre Performance at Juniata College, where she trained in acting, movement expression, Skinner Releasing, and Fitzmaurice Voicework, and was introduced to single point trapeze. She finally made her way to training at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, where she is now a youth and adult coach. Melissa is skilled in aerial arts on the lyra, trapeze (single and double point), pole, lollipop, and sling, as well as trained in fire flow and safety. Her favorite thing to do is create beautiful flying and ambient acts.