Registered in 2016
Inspired by a frustrated director with 98 cast members, the Cast98 name comes from our original mission:
Make it easy to cast 98 performers in a show.
Meet Daniel Fowler. That's me. Hello a web developer by trade and I built Cast98 in 2016 after my wife Alyssa put me on a deadline. She was tired of listening to me complain about having to fill out the same audition form every time I went to audition for show.
This is my story about why Cast98 exists. It's that's very familiar story if you've been involved in any community theatre production, ever.
At every local theatre audition, the same paper form stared at me with all the same questions as the last place. I'm a slow writer so I am always one of the first to arrive and one of the last to leave because this standard form takes me about 15 minutes to fill out.
You know the form I'm talking about: Contact info, past experience, are you willing to ____, summarize your conflicts below... blah blah blah.
Once the cast list was released, it was again the same routine: A welcome email saying the first cast meeting is [soon-ish], you'll get next week's schedule by [the weekend], and the full rehearsal schedule will be sent out by [2 weeks from now]... blah blah blah.
Why does it always take two weeks to get the schedule ready? Me, after every welcome email
A new version of the rehearsal schedule would come out every 2 weeks at best, and I'd scroll through hundreds of rows in the spreadsheet looking for my name, my character name, or my ensemble's name. It's so tedious!
I occasionally missed rehearsals because of simple oversights or because I had mistyped a time when copying my rehearsals into my Google Calendar. God forbid when actors look at the wrong rehearsal schedule version... shudder.
Over time, I would forget what conflicts I marked at my audition and had no way to verify them. New rehearsals would appear on the schedule, new conflicts with other plans. Do they know I have a conflict that day, or do I need to tell them? Too bad my conflict calendar was recycled a week after I turned it in.
A director friend of mine was ranting. She knew I built websites for a living, so she suggested I create "something that makes scheduling large casts easy". She owns a local theatre company that routinely casts 60-90 people in their Broadway-style musicals.
Everything on the market now is crap. A ranting theatre director
I already loathed all those paper audition forms. If the directors and stage managers found scheduling to be as big of a hassle as the actors, there must be a real need. The seed was planted.
Cast98 started out as a very slow and difficult program to use. The first show that we tested had 102 cast members, and the server couldn't handle the load. That was 2016, and since then Cast98 has gone through 3 major revision cycles. In 2019 we overloaded the server again, but this time due to user activity, which some would say is a good problem to have.
Now, Cast98 is easing the burden of cast logistics for directors and stage managers for local, regional, and professional theatre organizations in six countries around the world.
Even more than the directors, I hear raving feedback from actors who are excited they can submit their audition form from their phone and filter the rehearsal schedule to see "just mine". Their favorite feature is, of course, the ability to export their rehearsals to any calendar app with just a click.
It always makes me chuckle when I go to an audition nowadays and overhear someone who doesn't know I built it say something like "It's so nice I can do this on my phone." Millenials, ya know?
Actors' favorite feature is, of course, the ability to export their rehearsals to any calendar app with just a click. It's the little things
Some of my favorite feedback, though, has been from the grateful parents of young children who are thrilled that they can manage all their kiddos from one master account. There's nothing more rewarding to me than having people use, be helped by, and even enjoy a thing that I built.
Now, my wife is celebrating with me every day when I review the new shows that have been posted. She is excited because she knows that this project has been a really special one for me, and I look forward to continuing to improve it for many, many years to come.
Creator of Cast98