Star Power. The Fool’s Gold of casting your film.
While it is true that talent is a precious resource to casting your film, there is more to casting the correct actor than just the power behind their name, or the glimmering mystic of their outward appearance.
Actors bring more than just themselves to set. They bring an energy, a new dynamic with them that will ripple throughout your entire crew and production. Finding the correct actor for a role is like striking gold; here’s some questions to ask yourself when looking for a good place to start your dig:
- Is the actor directable? Not all actors can, or are willing, to take direction in a meaningful or useful way. Try offering actors direction during the process of casting your film that differs vastly from the original interpretation they came in with. This will test not only their ability to improve and act on the spot, it will also demonstrate their willingness to listen and the compatibility between you as an actor and director.
- Does this person know how to act in front of a camera? You will experience many degrees of actors in your journey to casting. It’s important to note your actor’s level of comfortability in film, not to create judgement or conclusions about them, but in order for you as a director to craft a method for working with them. For example, an actor who has a background in theater will have different tendencies and require different methods from a director than an actor trained for the screen, or not trained at all. Keep in mind that you may have to break even more experienced actors of bad habits to retrieve the results you are looking for on set.
- Can this person embody the character I’m looking for? As directors, we are visionary leaders. But sometimes, our stereotypes or convictions of what a character should be can stall or hinder the possibilities for a role. Try to look at an actor through a filter of personality and spirit.
- Is this person easy to work with? You are not simply casting an actor. You are seeking a partner in your creative adventure.You not only need someone who can perform, but who can add a positive note to your production. Try bringing actors back for call backs and chemistry test to determine their compatibility with you and their fellow actors.
A film, despite what movie posters will tell you, is not made or broken by the recognition behind it’s actors. What makes or breaks a film is the talent of your actor, their willingness to mold for your artistic adventure, and your drive to symbolically work to achieve a performance that is satisfying to both of you.