Casting in film production plays an important role. Hiring a bankable cast helps with film financing. Especially good actors who have large followers on social media and highest rotten tomatoes and IMD scores.
This assures funding and distribution. The rule of thumb on a feature film is 3 bankable cast members if you want world-wide box office success. However, it depends on your budget.
Producers often hire a top casting director in the development phase to draw up a list of available and bankable stars. The success of any film depends on the stars and the casting director can help bring them in. It is also very important for the producer to have strategic relationships with agents, managers and actors who can enable a ‘greenlight’. It is down to the producer to attach stars to the project. Producers who are affiliated with stars or have close relationships with ’talent’ can make deals. Become a producer who knows the talent and can deliver it. Become a producer who actors admire and want to work with. Do not treat them like cattle or bimbos and you will be rewarded.
After drawing up a list of bankable stars/actors for your project you then proceed to casting. This happens in the pre-production phase for the full cast and obviously before pre-production for your stars.
The casting director usually has an assistant or 2 and will set up casting sessions for you and the director. You may video tape these sessions.
On the short film it is the producer’s responsibility to set- up the casting sessions, book the casting room , sign in the actors and give them ‘sides’. Sides are the scenes that you read in the audition, carefully chosen as the most important scenes in the script. Make sure you have a good actor available to read with the actor you are auditioning.
The Basic Steps:
- Do a character breakdown – this is a short paragraph on each character which describes who they are, and the essential information. Send this out to agents, casting break down services, and put ads up on the web and around town.
- Call theatre companies and send them the breakdown and flyer about the film
- Go through Spotlight and make note of actors who look right. Contact their agents
- Organize the submitted head shots and CV’s
- Schedule Casting Calls
- Book room. Have a camera, sign in sheet and form for address and actor details ( height, age, dress size, etc) Always stay on time, do not make actors wait.
- Schedule call backs – choose a 1st, 2nd and 3rd Take the time to allow the director to improvise with her top choices and see how the chemistry works between actors for each important part.
- Actors who are working for free often drop out. Make sure you are always polite and call those who have not been successful. Deal with rejections professionally. You never know when you will need the actors again.
- Negotiate terms, dates and do a brief contract/deal memo with the actors. Check Equity re rules and regulations. Negotiate screen credit, DVD copy of film, transportation
- If working with a child actor you must get permission from the council and may need to hire a chaperone and/or teacher if not in holiday time. Leave at least 3 weeks for permission and paperwork.
- Schedule rehearsals, wardrobe fittings, make-up tests.
- Go over final schedule with actors
- Have a pre-production table read of the script for the benefit of your team and to be sure about timings. This is a chance to go over everything and everyone gets to ask all the dumb questions.
- Take care of your actors! They are precious. Feed them well and give them a proper green room.
- Send notes of thanks, flowers/chocolates and the DVD!