You want to film a movie, or a music video, or a commercial? You need actors to play specific roles and perform specific tasks? How do you make sure you are getting the right people for your project and production? A casting call. Holding a casting call will let you cast the right people for the roles you want filled, and give you a chance to see their acting style, what they look like in person, what they look like on camera, and if you think you can work with them as a director.
The following is a list of things you should do to hold a successful casting call:
- Determine the role(s) you need to audition for. For instance, a main character would need to audition, but an extra that is filling in a seat in an audience shot does not need to come audition.
- Select a small segment from the script, usually a page or so, that best portrays the overall character of the role you are casing for. These will be your “sides”. Dialogue and Action are important, and you should have if possible, someone there to read with the auditioning actor.
- Find a good location to hold your auditions. This will preferably be somewhere that has got a smaller size room for the auditions, and a separate room for people to wait.
- Announce your audition. Where? EVERYWHERE! Get the word out as much as you can. This will increase the likelihood of finding the right actor for your project.
- Good places to post a casting call:
iii. Local Casting Agency’s
iv. Local Newspapers
v. Signs and Fliers at Local Schools and Coffee Shops
- What should you put in your casting call?
i. Name of the Project
ii. Short Description
iii. Date(s), Time(s), Location(s) of the auditions
iv. Any contact information, an e mail is best
v. Descriptions of the characters being cast, and pertinent information about what you would like to see
vi. End Date of Auditions or Shooting Dates
- Schedule individual audition times typically every 15 – 20 minutes with a break for lunch. You might need 2 full days depending on the amount of people that want to come audition.
- Follow up with audition submissions promptly, and work with people to pin down good audition times with them. First come first serve time slots are a great way to go.
- After the auditions are scheduled, create a audition schedule so you know who is supposed to come audition, for what role, and what time, as well as contact information for that person. Then, send out a reminder for each actor telling them about their audition; time, place (link to map), and a number to call if they get lost. You might want to ask them to also confirm their audition time, but you will always have people that flake out on you! Better they flake out now then later!
- Enlist the help of some Production Assistants. They will help you greet people when they get to your audition location, hand out sides, have the actors sign in or fill out any necessary paperwork, and smile.
- Use a video camera during the audition. You will want to review the auditions later and make sure you like the way they look on camera. Have your actors “Slate” by looking directly into the camera and say their name clearly and then show a profile from each side.
- Day of the audition make sure you have the following:
- Audition Location
- Production Assistant
- Camera with Tripod
- Copies of the Sides
- Audition Schedule
- Any pertinent information about the shoot, so you can ask the actors if they are available to shoot or give them more information
- Release Forms
- Paper for note taking during the auditions to write down whether or not you like them, measurements for wardrobe, etc.
- Signage to point your auditioning actors in the right location for the audition
After your successful audition, take a day or two and then review the tapes. Someone you may have liked right away might come off different on camera, or maybe you were on the fence about someone, but after watching the tape, you know they are the right choice! Taking a day or two will help you look objectively at the auditions again. Should you find yourself torn between two actors for a role, schedule a call back audition. Hopefully these tips will help you hold a successful casting call for your next production.