Hello Circus, a talent agency and new home for independent freelance directors

Hello Circus represents freelance and independent directors who are already established or new to the industry. Choosing a far more fluid and flexible approach over the traditional production model, this talent agency connects directors directly with agencies and brands to create a more integrated transparent process. Wanna join the Circus?

Hello Circus is a 100% female-owned company, with its ring-master Vanessa Borthwick bringing all her experience to the table. Vanessa’s career started in print, then moved to agency TV Producer, then to Executive Producer for an agency in-house facility and finally as a production company Producer. Her 360-degree view of the industry through the different roles she has occupied over the past 20 years has given her insight into all the aspects and challenges that face production, she’s seen it all. According to her obstacles are opportunities and people and relationships are everything.

Hello Circus is breaking the mould

Hello Circus fuses the role of ‘Agent’ and ‘Manager’ to create a hybrid bespoke offering for directors and creative types. They curate their offering according to the individual’s needs, not the other way around. Vanessa says ‘We assist and support our directors and creatives in the trajectory of their career as it unfolds and see ourselves as partners in the process.’

Direct access to directors

According to Vanessa access to talent is key and it’s what the Hello Circus offering is all about, while still being able to fit into current structures and integrate the talent as it is needed. Sometimes an agency already has an in-house production team and only wants to collaborate with a director, no problem. Increasingly agencies and brands also want to collaborate with directors much earlier on in the process and many directors have the ability to aid the teams with insights that can help sell or speed up the approval process. Hello Circus is built on the model of fluidity and flexibility; they’ll make it work.

Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes budgets are just kakkas or they just need some juggling. Hello Circus will curate bespoke offerings and quote accordingly depending on the budget. ‘You just pay for what you need, no markups for overheads that don’t exist. Everyone gets paid and budgets are spent where they are needed.’ Says Vanessa

Hello Circus works for the director

As a director, you might find this Circus model appealing when you don’t want to be boxed in as a full-time commercials director attached to only one production company. You might want to explore your other creative passions, whether that be as a writer, comedian, creative, long-form filmmaker, content creator or even influencer. Vanessa adds: ‘People want more transparency and control over how and where the budget is spent, although we realise this is not for all directors, Hello Circus creates a partnership that WORKS FOR the director. You might just need help with marketing, setting up meetings with potential clients or quoting. Maybe you’re new to the industry and you’d love a chat to gain some industry insights. At Hello Circus we will sit down and discuss how we can fit into your vision and come to an understanding of what an agreement between us looks like. It can be a project-by-project agreement or a more permanent relationship.’

A word from a Hello Circus Director

Hello Circus already represents a pool of multi-faceted talent including director, comedy writer and comedian Gilli Apter. Gilli, whose name you probably know from headlining comedy stages across the country or as the co-writer behind shows such as Tali’s Wedding and Tali’s Baby Diary, is yes, ALSO a Hello Circus director. We asked her about her journey with Circus and honestly, it helped that she’s an award-winning writer, because we couldn’t have said it better ourselves…

‘As a young filmmaker you need two things – the ability to freely explore your creativity and to make some kind of a living. I always had a vision of being a freelance filmmaker/director. In South Africa for the most part, you couldn’t do that if you wanted to survive financially – you had to join a production company, but this pretty much relegated you to exclusively being a commercials director. I wanted to work on a variety of content with a variety of people, but still have the support and guidance a young director sorely needs. I wish I had had the option of a company like Hello Circus with an experienced person like Vanessa, representing and protecting me, as a freelance creative – just like every other production person on set. Someone that could do any of the following: help me find work, go after opportunities that came to me but that I couldn’t pursue on my own; protect me from avoidable career blunders; help ensure that I wasn’t taken advantage of – financially and otherwise. In short, someone who could help me have the freedom a young director needs, to become a filmmaker.’ – Gilli Apter.

The Hello Circus offerings

  • Marketing – setting up meetings with agencies and potential clients to share work, online marketing and managing archives.

  • Branding – evaluating your offering and identifying where to take your brand

  • Relationship building

  • Scheduling

  • Quoting

  • Treatment guidance

  • Client liaison

  • Booking crew

  • Setting up shoots

  • Client service on sets

  • Managing the post production process

  • Ensuring delivery of final material & updating archive material

  • Overseeing website updates

  • Invoicing and payment follow-ups

  • Tender applications and guidance

‘Our ethos is rooted in giving you the space and time you need to develop. Forming new partnerships is the same, they need to be agile, open-minded and open-ended. It takes understanding each individual’s needs and desires to find transparent solutions to build trust and real value.’ – Vanessa Borthwick

Are you a director who wants to join the Circus? Contact Vanessa and set up a chat.

Contact Circus

Director’s Agent: Vanessa Borthwick
061 033 4057

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Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

*This content may not be reproduced or used in any part without the prior written consent of IDIDTHAT. Reprints must credit I DID THAT.co (ididthat.co) as the original publisher of this editorial piece and include a link to this site.

This Editorial is paid for by Circus. Want our studio to create content that puts your agency/company/kickass ad you made in bright lights for the whole industry to see? View or editorial packages or contact julie@ididthat.co and we’ll make it happen! #Boom