Producing : Castings Actors from other countries... by Randa Karambelas

Randa Karambelas

Castings Actors from other countries...

Hey Guys - Working on a Super Low Budget Short in the US and we fell in love with an actor from Amsterdam. Anyone have any tips on how to add him to the cast inexpensively? I have no experience with this and my line producer is blowing her top over this issue. Is getting his a 2 or 3 day work visa that hard, that expensive? I am set on making it work - love his energy, love him. Any advice?!?!

Michael Wearing

Everything Robin just said. The flight alone would cost you 100s of dollars, add the visa, and the wages. You could probably afford a really good American actor who could play the person from Amsterdam playing the character.

JD Hartman

How many awards has this guy won? An artists visa? Not going to happen.

Pup Che

I don't think it is worth it. But if you love this guy that much you might need to: It will take you 6 months to get him work visa and at least 4-5K $ in lawyers fees. On top of that you have 1400$ plane ticket, accommodation and per Diem fees... You are looking easily 8-10Ks. I can shoot a feature for that money:) Tell you line producer to learn to break the law a bit and just get you the guy here... Otherwise - fire her and hire me... I love to push the envelope especially about a unnecessary bureaucratic stuff. But you still will have to pay around 2-3K to fly him over... Spend your money wisely. Practically - you have to face up to it like any director - you are working with limited money, time, talent... Honesty to yourself is your best friend. Maybe next time you can get him when you are better prepared.

JD Hartman

Well...Pup Che what you are suggesting is that the OP break the law with your help. Is that really a piece of good advice?

Pup Che

JD Hartman, My advice is excellent. Otherwise I will not share it. You just cant see the genius. Sometime, the only way to accomplish something it thru not conforming. I am immigrant, I am very well aware of the laws regarding work visas. Legally it will not happen. Even if she has money to do it, it will take too long and is not worth to wait 6 months for paperwork for 3 shooting days. I do not think it is worth it fanatically even if she brakes the law and he comes here as a tourist. But if she is so hell bent on working with him that will be the only way. Maybe they can structure the whole think legally some other how and protect themselves... Like - make him investor and owner of the film. In this case he is not "working" he is "investing" in America... I have absolutely no problems braking artificial laws made only to empower bureaucrats and feed the government beast... She is not really hurting anyone because he is the only person in the world who can do this part (I doubt this)... So why not?

JD Hartman

The law has nothing to do with empowering bureaucrats or feeding the government beast. Advising someone to break the laws of this country because you do not agree with them is very bad advice.

Shaun O'Banion

See if your actor would be willing to fly himself to L.A. for a bit. ; )

John O'Hara

IF the actor can be shot separately then have an independent crew local to him shoot the shots and then composite them with other footage. We have done this on several low budget films.

Rachel Rath

Hey Randa, Attorney fees can be about $3000-$6000. If you dont have that in your budget its not too difficult to work the forms out yourself. There are DIY kits online for an O1B visa to help you file a form I-129 fee $325 etc. The actor will need you or your Production Company to act as their sponsor. They will need to be cleared by SAG_AFTRA in the form of a consultation letter costs about $250. Along with that you will need to write a "petition letter" stating why you specifically need this talent. include some script/storyboards/one sheet of the film and a deal memo or letter of intent for the actor. Argue their talent using the criteria the USCIS give you for the O1B. On approval they will need the actor to go through a consular meeting in the US Embassy in Amsterdam. Yep There are some delays at the minute in processing so you can as for premium processing for extra $1225 so you can get an answer in 15days. I went thru this process myself so shoot me a pm if you need to know more. A bit of work but doable. Hope this helps :)

D Marcus

It's a month since you asked this. What did you do? Can you share you experience with us?

JD Hartman

For $3000 to $6000, you can hire an accomplished SAG actor for your short, get a really good caterer, have a wrap party, etc. Really sounds like personal feels are clouding the judgement of the original poster.

Randa Karambelas

Thanks everyone for your feedback. We offered him a better role in a bigger project, so it all worked out. When you want to work with someone, you make it work. Rachel Rath, I learned so much from your post. Thank you very much. I greatly appreciate it. #alwayslearning

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