Casting. Choosing my cast, delays and my final cast.

Anyone that has spoken to me over the last few weeks and months will know that my major issue throughout creating my short film has been casting. I have recast some roles several times over due to actors dropping out for various reasons (some more legitimate than others) I will not name any of these people but this placed me with many issues throughout the casting process. Below is how I tried to cast my film effectively and professionally, in an ideal world this is how I would have cast all of my roles. I will also post what happned with most of my other roles as well.

I posted all of roles online, above is the 2nd call out on casting call pro, I also used Starnow and Mandy.Com but Casting Call was easily the site I had the most feedback with each of the character roles were quite open-ended at this stage in the call out because of issues I had with my first one. This was because of mainly the need of my own to fill the character roles so I was willing to make a few character changes. As well as posting the advertisements online I also got in touch with actors personally if I felt they were a match for some of the roles. I worded all of the messages similar to this, This actor I felt may have been suitable for a number of roles so i made the message quite open ended. His name and photo is blurred to protect his anonymity

When I had a number of people get back to me I would hold auditions, In an ideal world I would have held them all like my first set of auditions. I organised 5 people to meet me, Leanne Matthews and Tim March at the TV studio at Ellen Terry. During my first auditions I was very happy to confirm the roles of Jessica (who stayed the same throughout production ‘Jessica Noonan’) and The Record Label Executive (which unfortuanlty we had to change due to the actress getting a paid opportunity around the dates of filming.)

The posts online gave me a lot of female attention for the roles. each of the younger roles had about 9/10 interested actresses whereas the male roles would be lucky to see one (including my main role which was a major worry) The male roles were a big worry, I contacted a number of actors with similar wording to the post above and got a few responses. I gave them auditions at the nearest possible opportunity, the locations of these auditions varied widely, some took place in Ellen Terry Basement, An abandoned room at The Albany pub, Browns and My own living room. depending on how much time and what day I needed them for. I was worried about how this may make me look to my actors as I felt it wasn’t a very professional way to organise it, but getting casting sorted ASAP was a more major concern. These auditions did go well though, I made a habit of taking a picture of my actors afterwards for the simple reason of making sure the cast could work well together in terms of looks (I felt that Casting Call was terrible because actors often looked very different from their head shots)

-Example of the ‘new’ head shots I got with my ‘Nathan’ character Chris.-

Once I felt I had this all sorted I made sure to finalise my filming dates. at this point two of my actors had to drop out. I aimed to replace them as soon as possible, I was lucky with the executive and sorted that fairly quickly (again female roles I seemed to find much easier) whereas the role of Rob was much harder. I had two people who seemed to give their word and as I was deciding between them they both had to back out for different reasons. I got very lucky at this point to talk to Rob Fodor, who I knew through the university loan shop, but what I didn’t know was that he had some acting aspirations and was looking for projects to get involved with. I also decided a while before to use Dale Driver as Mike. Dale is a well known first year student, so I was very concerned with using him in my film as it may be considered lazy by some, I decided to use Dale because I knew he was reliable and also knew he could play the part which other more experienced actors may consider ‘too small’.

Once I had my FINAL cast I slept a little bit easier, I made sure they all knew how to dress for each of the scenes. All of the characters provided their own costumes despite me offering to pay for anything they needed to buy before the shoot. This was especially important for the roles of Nathan and His mother. Chris was given reminders and texts from me to make sure he had the ‘costumes’ that he needed.

What I learnt from casting was two things.

#1 START CASTING EARLY.

I thought I started early by starting in mid feb, however I still had major concerns with casting and felt that this wasn’t enough time. Looking back on this project I feel like I started off an idelist and then ended up making this film as a realist, I had to make the best with what I had got in the last week before filming, I could not have done it any other way for this project, but in the future would I have spent longer on this? possibly not but I may have not have rushed the final weeks casting.

#2 ALWAYS KEEP BACKUPS

No matter how covered you feel your roles our covered ALWAYS keep people on standby to take over, this could have helped me out a lot throughout the casting process as actors dropped out throughout the process.

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