A somewhat hectic weekend, with again, ups and downs. Here are some notes on the casting and audition process:
- The auditions went great. 23 very talented actors came by for a 15 minute session.
- My casting director had organised 15 minute sessions with the actors alone. That way you can focus on the one actor, and don’t get a blurred vision by trying to have them audition in pairs and looking for chemistry while missing things from the individual actors. This worked really well for me.
- It was kind of scary. I introduced myself to the actor, I showed him the audition space (which was the office I work in) and then he just stood there looking at me waiting for what happened next. That was were it hit me, shit – it was me who had to tell them what to do! When I got that, I relaxed a bit and my passion took over and I hope I didn’t mess it up too much but I think I did OK. I also learned something: directing is so much fun!
- I had them read a little bit to hear if they were voicilicious enough, an important thing because there is quite some voice over in my script.
- And I had them play a little scene from the script to see if I can imagine them being either Dan or June.
- I filmed it all and some day soon I will sit down and have a look at the tapes and see if I can make a selection and pair some of the women with some of the men. After that I will do a second round and have them audition in pairs to see if there is any chemistry between them. Seeing as this is a romantic comedy, chemistry is essential.
- All actors loved the script. And of course I thought – of course they say that to get the part. But I think some of them really meant it, why else would they come down all the way for a 15 minute session only?
Also some of the women told me that it is quite rare to get good parts for people their age. I have seen so many lovely, friendly, nice and warm hearted women that day that I think I might try to write another script with a lot of women in the lead. I mean, I loved a film like Calendar Girls.
- One woman came from a wedding. She was on a wedding, went home to change clothes, came to my 15 minutes audition, went home again to change back into her wedding clothes and went back to the wedding.
- One of the men overdid this: he drove all the way down from Devon (and that’s quite far from London!!) to London to do his audition. After which he went back into his car to drive back to Devon! He is on a holiday there, is normally based in London, but wanted to do this audition.
- I was kind of baffled by how eager most actors seemed to be. I was also really nervous, but they were all such friendly people, it was a joy to meet them. Someone told me that actors are just as nervous when auditioning. I did my very best to comfort and relax them. And after a while I forgot my own nervousness.
- It is a major kick to see an actor perform words you have written. It is even cooler when you see them perform it exactly as you intended it.
- I had to give my casting director some ideas of what kind of men and women I was looking for. Me having a particular actor type in mind for the men (yep, guess who) resulted in loads of really tall and lanky actors. Tough job those auditions!
- How to keep your actors happy while they are waiting? Leave a fair amount of Jammie Dodgers on the table for them. This really worked!
So that’s all going fine. The thing that is not so fine yet is that I still have not found a production manager. I have again placed ads on both Shooting People and Mandy.com and I cross my fingers that I am lucky this time around.
I just checked my email, and the emails from mandy.com are pouring in! Please let there be one kind, friendly, funny and committed production manager between them. If there is I buy you all an ice cream!