Sunday, 8 May 2011

Casting Revealed

Hester Schell from San Francisco was in London this weekend promoting her new book Casting Revealed and hosting a Q&A session for producers, directors and actors. 

It was interesting to note some of the subtle distinctions between working in the UK and in the States - the actor's union seems to be more demanding of producers/directors over there, which may be a good thing.

Here are some interesting tidbits of advice from the seminar - the book is on my desk and I can't vouch for it yet, but Hester seems to be a genuinely passionate collaborator and experienced in independent film.

  • Use the internet - nobody does open casting calls anymore.
  • There's a myth that "actors are a dime a dozen", but smart directors know actors are worth their weight in gold. You have to find the right one.
  • When in doubt, keep on casting.
  • Pay attention to how you feel and not what you're thinking - if there's any doubt, call back.
  • If you're working on a low-budget film, your shooting schedule will be tight, so check to make sure an actor can take direction and that they understand technical aspects of the craft, ie. make the mark, match the action, frameline and eyeline.
  • Have people bring in memorised material to check they can learn lines (and rock up on time!). In the States it is mandatory to send an actor the sides 24 hours before casting.
  • Start casting at least 3 - 4 months before before the first day of principal photography.
  • Who are the good teachers in your country and where did your actors train?
  • When you're interested in an actor, google them, see how they present themselves.
One of my favourite quotes from the day was "when you share the wealth, we all rise up".

If you're interested in learning the nitty gritty of the casting process, you can buy the book here.

No comments:

Post a Comment