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Filmmaking / Directing : Need Some Casting Advice by Dylan Kress

Dylan Kress

Need Some Casting Advice

Does anyone have any good experience going thru the casting process for one of their projects? I'd really love to chat with anyone who could help guide me in the right direction when it comes to finding the right talent for my project. I'm basically starting out with ZERO understanding so I may have quite a few questions for you. Thanks in advance! Best, Dylan

Jack Deacon

Hi Dylan, Casting can be really challenging. Unfortunately a lot of people cast on looks and nothing else, they see someone attractive and bam! they have the role. Of course this can turn out well or just go completely south. When I was a student I did this, and it didn't go well, so I learnt over the past few years what I had to do to really see if someone is right for the role. I can't tell you how important having some sort of casting session / audition with a reading or some sort of exercise to test an actors ability is. This may sound obvious but so many times because of either time or money constraints, casting is rushed to get production going. Try to avoid this, really spend time on this phase. Know your characters in the film, think about what they might sound like or perhaps mannerisms. Then give this to the actors going for the role, then they have something to go on for the audition and you can truly see if that person is right for the role. However this phase is also about being open to suggestion, after all its an actors job to give a unique performance. Try to be open in certain areas of the character, as an audition may give new life to a character! The only other thing I would say is try to have a small team, even just two of you to cast for the film. Having someone to bounce thoughts off of is really helpful and stops you from making immediate and perhaps foolish decisions. Just remember, if its your project, then its up to you how you do things, turn the idea of an audition on its head and put the actor out of their comfort zone if necessary, to test how adaptable they can be. Have fun with it, but obviously don't make it a Battle Royale experience for them. :) I have a reasonable amount of experience casting for drama and advertising so if you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer.

Matthew Barron

Hey Dylan, I've cast a couple of tiny, indie productions and I have a couple of pieces of advice that have served me well. See if they work for you. 1. Cast the hard workers: the best actor is not always the best choice for the role, especially if you're on a budget and don't have time to be jerked around. The best choice is the person who shows up on time for the audition, has read the excerpt and prepared a reading. They listen to your direction and try their best to give you whatever you ask for. The best actress I ever cast was a former working model - she really struggled to learn her lines. But she was on set early every call, gave me everything I asked for and listened constantly for tips and direction. The worst actor I ever cast I ended up never putting on screen because he jerked me around so much that I couldn't even get clear commitments whether he'd be on set or not. And he was by far the most talented member of that cast. 2. Unless the role requires it, don't get set on any details: say you have a cop in your script and in your mind he's always been a fat, mid-forties white guy. Auditions come around and you can't get anyone even close - ask yourself does the character have to be that way? Could a younger man do the role? A woman? Someone of a different ethnicity? Honestly, more than half the roles I've ever cast didn't really need any specific characteristics from the actor. In one indie production I cast we got five times as many women show for auditions as men. After some tweaking of the script we switched the genders of three or four cast members and were off to the races. Well, that's my two cents. Hope it helps.

Thomas Bailey

I could probably help you out if need be, I wish there was a secret to good casting but its just looking for that one that feels like you don't need to look at anyone else... you'll know it when you see it.

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