Casting your movie is more than putting out casting calls.Last year I had the splendid opportunity to direct Abigail Haunting. The movie has taken off and been more successful than we could have possibly imagined. And although I have to say that timing with the pandemic helped with its success, I cannot take away the high quality acting our performers rendered. But this journey started well before all of the casting calls we put out. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, finding good talent is key to any movie’s success. The casting process is an area of this business that is often rushed and misunderstood. Although, as a DIY filmmaker, you shouldn’t be afraid to take on the process. Hiring casting agencies are great if you have the budget, but for many of us who have razor sharp budgets, this is cost prohibitive.
Online Platforms – Before the Casting CallsWith the advent of casting services like Backstage, filmmakers can access talent all over the globe and post casting calls. Moreover, you can see most of your options prior to starting the casting process. One of the great things about services like these are that you can review resumes and watch demo reels and self tapes. This can help you narrow down your search and make your casting more efficient.
The Audition Process –With today’s world of “non-contact”, I would suggest hosting initial auditions on-line, and have actors read along with each other. Use services like Zoom, or Google Hangout. The goal is to find actors that can work and play well against each other. You will want to use a platform that allows each actor to see and interact with each other. By doing this, you can read talent no matter their location. Plus you can save yourself a few bucks from having to rent locations to host auditions. However, please keep in mind, at some point you will want to make the investment in getting your actors in the same room prior to filming. This will build team spirit and make the dynamics much more easy on set.
Auditioning TipsAnytime you’re reading actors, you should look for the following qualities:
- Can they keep things simple (not over-acting)
- Do they take direction (simple things, “like try this” or “how about thinking of this idea on your next read?”)
- Watch the performances for changes to see if they are listening and thinking about their direction
- Are they punctual? Are they professional?
- How could they play with other actors you are considering?