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Casting

So, the first major milestone in my journey had been reached.  If I wanted to be a real live, honest to goodness, filmmaker, I needed a real live, honest to goodness, screenplay.  Mission accomplished.  It may have been a little shorter than I had originally dreamed of, but at least I had some words typed out on sheets of paper.  Now, to reach the next milestone in my journey, I was going to have to find some real live, honest to goodness, actors.

The casting process is one that I fear I have continually underestimated.  In truth, I think I underestimate every aspect of the film making process, each and every time I film something, (yet somehow I'm always surprised).  It's not that I am unaware of the importance of the actors.  I know it is they, rather than I, who will be bringing the characters to life.  It is they, the audience will bond with, and it is they, who will bear the brunt of the storm if the audience decides they hate my work.  You can't make a live action film without actors and I don't know how to draw, so I am aware of their importance to the process.  However, I fear I continually underestimate the amount of time it takes to get the casting ball rolling.  In writing the script, I was just one man sitting alone in a room with a computer.  That was all I needed to keep things moving forward.  Now I was adding many, many more variables to the equation.  With variables come complications, and complications are the bane of anyone fighting against an ever approaching deadline.

At the time I had finished my screenplay, I had roughly seven weeks left until the "Big Break" contest deadline.  I wanted to have at least one week to concentrate on editing (which is to say, I wanted a week where editing was the only thing I was working on, my plan was to be editing the movie as I went along), leaving six weeks to cast and shoot the film.  In a perfect world, when casting a film, one would hold auditions where they would meet all kinds of talented people who were just dying to be a part of this new and daring project.  The director would sit back, pour over the head shots,  and think upon which person, out of all the candidates, would be perfect to bring this or that character to life.  After all, they say that ninety percent of directing, is casting.  I would love to live in that world.  Maybe someday I will, but that world does not even come close to the world I was living in.  In my world, I was just trying to find someone who had acted before and would be willing to take on a role for no money.  In truth whether they had acted before was really secondary to their willingness to participate.  I needed people to say "yes", and I needed them to say it quickly.

In the past, when writing, I have always had certain ideas in my head, of people I knew that could play various roles.  The same was true of this project.  The problem was, I hadn't actually talked to any of those people.  I hadn't dropped them a voicemail, email, or Facebook message to say, "Hey, it's me.  I'm writing a film role that I think you would be perfect for.  How's about you take a look at what I got and let me know if you'd be available".  Nope, I waited until the screenplay was done to start talking to people, or even looking to see who might be available.  Basically, though I had finished my screenplay a little early according to my schedule, I was still behind.  I didn't use that time as efficiently as I could have.  I should have been looking for cast while I was still writing.  Even though the screenplay would have been unfinished, I still knew how many parts I needed to cast, and I could have used those weeks to seek out interested people.  However, I didn't do that, so with six weeks left to do pre-production and actual production, I reached out to those around me to see what people might be interested in being in my movie.

In the two weeks that followed, I found nine people who were interested in being in the film.  I had eight roles to fill.  I did hold what could be described as "auditions", but in reality it was more of a "meet and greet".  It was just a chance for me to hear the actors read and experiment a little a couple of them to see which one would be best for what part.  Someone would have had to come in and literally wet themselves, or insisted on speaking all their lines in their own made up interplanetary language to have not gotten a role. Or I guess they could move out of state.  One of the actors who came to the reading did that, all the others got offered parts.  I had eight people for eight roles and that was all I needed.

Now I must tell you, gentle reader, that I was very lucky to get the cast that I got.  If I could get in Mr. Peabody's "Way Back Machine", and do it all again, I would do it differently, but not in the hopes of getting a better cast.  I'm very proud of my cast.  However, if I had started reaching out two weeks earlier, there would have been time for some rehearsal.  As it was, there was no time to get acquainted or practice.  As soon as someone said "yes" to the offered part, I would say "Great!  Now memorize those lines, feel free to call with any questions, and we'll see you on set"!  The deadline was coming, so we were all just going to have to do our learning in front of the camera and hope for the best.

Comments

  1. Good post and good behind the scenes insight into what goes into the making of a film.

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  2. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, I appreciate both!

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