It’s not every day you get to test your Minimum Viable Product in the presence of the West Coast King of Rap. We at Castifi had the opportunity to cast background for a commercial was for Snipes, a streetwear company based in the Netherlands, which featured Snoop Dogg as the main star. The ad was a set of many, which also featured a number of other top R&B and rap artists, such as Chris Brown.
We were asked to cast 35 background actors for the shoot on November 29, all of which were to be 18–25 year old Hispanic and African American males and females. We sourced and casted from our partner casting companies, then had them download our Castifi mobile app (available on iTunes and Google Play) to receive live updates.
Just hours leading up to call time, we learned that the call time had changed and that the actors needed to bring 1–2 more outfits than originally planned. The extras were notified through their mobile app and confirmed that they were aware of the new call time. Some of them were unable to work the new call time, so we pulled from our waitlist. Our waitlisters were notified through their app, and they confirmed shortly thereafter. This made our process a lot smoother than worry about email confirmations or making late night phone calls.
The production was set at Snoop Dogg’s private recording studio in Inglewood, CA and was a one day shoot. One of the first things I noticed as I arrived was the strong smell of marijuana in the air, which I couldn’t help but smile about. As everyone began arriving to the studio, we learned that the parking situation had changed. We sent a notification out to the background actors about the change. Unfortunately, some of the actors apps weren’t working due to bugs on our end, but for the most part we were able to spread the word quickly enough to get everyone situated.
Once on set, the Castifi actors checked in via their mobile app so we had a time record of when they arrived. At this point, I was able to introduce myself and get to know the 2nd AD who was in charge of wrangling the talent for the shoot. Once I befriended him, I introduced myself to the actors who were eager to learn more about our app. Some of them had trouble checking in, so I took notes for our development team. Others asked about where to find jobs on our app, a feature that has yet to be released (or talked about). Learning this information and seeing our users face-to-face was incredibly rewarding, especially since many seemed to be big fans of what we were creating.
By the end of the shoot, we were able to gather a ton of data from our actors, troubleshoot some bugs live, and give them assurance that it was worth keeping the Castifi app on their phones. All in all, a successful first run for our MVP.