Dance to the Beat of Your Own Drum: Meet the Team Behind Disco Creatives

Disco is a creative representation, production and casting studio based in Cape Town. Initially focused on casting alone, Disco has grown organically over the years to include specialist project production services and, in support of this, has brought some of SA’s best photographers, stylists, hair and make up artists and illustrators into their stable of frequent collaborators. As the Instagram Heroes “1000 Grams of Likes” business winner for March 2021, we got to know more about Disco and their unique approach from two members of the team: owner Candice Hatting and social media manager Chichi Paton.

April submissions for the Instagram Heroes awards series are now open. Enter here.

How has the brand grown since launching and what has this journey been like for you?

Candice Hatting: Over the years we’ve found our casting practice quite restrictive and decided to make a short film that took the process to another level, using our curation skills and expansive network via our sister company My Friend Ned (MFN) to produce something without limits, something that embellished the casting process and gave us an opportunity to do things our way. Through this process we realised how well equipped we are for production and realised how large our networks are. We decided that authentic representation was missing in the creative space and wanted to fill that gap. So, through the line production and representation was birthed into Disco Creatives. It was important for us to do this, as through our years at MFN it’s become evident that it’s a breeding ground for some of the most progressive creative talent this country has to offer. Being so conscious of who they are and not as focused on what they look like, makes Ned the most excellent creative head hunter. These incredible people are doing genius shit, and we wanna show that stuff as much as we can. Disco is the perfect place to do it. It’s taking things deeper and moving more into what people can do rather than just how they look.

Disco was founded to provide an alternative platform for showcasing and working with talent. Over and above your inspirational Instagram feed and use of IG’s functions, you showcase that “the world is a theatre of the unseen…This is a celebration of the casting arena in all of its intimate awkwardness, secrecy and flashes of flamboyance, where we delight in the unruliness of human beings”. Why was this message important to you from the get go? What inspired you to step in to fill the gap?

Candice Hatting: This specific statement was actually in relation to our casting division. We wanted to make a traditionally rather scary place for some, which errs on the side of something more of an ode to those attending. A place people can come and be celebrated for their individuality and be comfortable to dance to the beat of their own drum.

Disco’s Instagram is both visually beautiful and filled with valuable resources. Tell us about the ways in which you use Instagram to grow your brand and build a community?

Chichi Paton: I’m lucky as Disco represents so many amazing photographers, cinematographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists etc that constantly produce beautiful content. Curating the feed is a pleasure and helping these people’s work to be seen is so important. This then extends further to casting, showing previously unseen faces to the world, and finally to production, a way for us to aid causes we believe in, products we love, companies, clients and creatives not represented by us, an ode to the industry at large. Our talent are our tools for brand expansion, and us theirs.

What does winning the “1000 Grams of Likes” award mean to you?

Chichi Paton: We’re super proud of the work that our creatives produce, and we hope to continue to shine a light on that. This award is for all of them as much as it is for us.

Do you have any tips for local businesses just starting out – both in terms of their product or offering, and how they go about marketing this?

Candice Hatting: The most important thing is to really believe in its purpose and why it matters. If you need your business to be there, chances are others do to. It will guide you through many a sleepless night and keep you on track. If you believe in it and are clear on its values, it’s infectious. Marketing something you do purposefully and honestly is easy. You just show the work you do and the rest follows. But show the work you wish to do more of, not the other shit you wish didn’t exist. Money isn’t ever the real goal. The purpose is. Money will always follow the purpose.

What is something that 10and5 readers may not know about you as a person or your team?

Candice Hatting: That we are an all-womxn team.

Share with us some of your favourite moments with Disco so far?

Candice Hatting: Mine was sitting in the edit suite over at Strange Love and realising that I had fallen head over heals in love with making films. And that Disco was about to become so much more than a casting studio and that My Friend Ned finally had a creative production platform to branch into – and vice versa. When you look around you and realise how connected the entire ecosystem is and that you’ve found a way to marry them all in. It feels right and makes so much sense.

What can we expect from Disco in 2021? Any projects or collaborations to keep an eye out for?

Candice Hatting: The most exciting things are busy being hatched. We can’t speak about them yet but… soon.

Follow @discocreatives on Instagram.

Are you an Instagram Hero?

If you’re a creator or business owner in Sub-Saharan Africa using IG to grow your practice or build your brand, you qualify to enter our monthly Instagram Heroes awards series. The Creator category includes art, design and craft, as well as creatives and makers across all fields. The Business category is for local entrepreneurs, agencies, start-ups and well-established enterprises. Submit your work here.

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