Mobli, a Social Media Sharing Community, Could Make Traditional Casting Calls a 20th Century Relic
Many are familiar with the traditional casting call. You set up a time, send out the sides, and actors come in one by one and read for a part. This is normally a long process, and it takes a lot of work to weed through your choices to find the perfect actor for a role. Thanks to technology, this is the old way of doing things, at least according to Bret Easton Ellis (writer of American Psycho) and the producers for his new film The Canyons (directed by Paul Shrader). They've already run a successful Kickstarter campaign, and now they're trying to utilize technology in a completely new way, by making the casting call a social affair.
Here's a bit from an IndieWire post explaining the situation:
...casting is taking place on the mobile app and social media website Mobli. Mobli describes themselves as "a mult-platform photo and video sharing community that brings people together around common interests. For the role of Caitlin, a beautiful and shallow Los Angeles socialite, aspiring actresses from around the country are using their phones and webcams to post audition readings to Mobli's "Canyons" channel.
I'm not sure if using Mobli and making casting calls public is a good idea in the long run, but there's no doubt that it's going to create some interesting dynamics between actors vying for roles. It's often you can't see how well the competition did during their audition -- but in this case you can see how everyone did, and what they might be doing differently than you. Acting is already competitive (so I've heard), and putting everything out there for the world to see might make it even more difficult, especially if your audition isn't that great -- because even though the producers of this film might be professional enough to understand that one audition does not reflect an actor's entire body of work, others on the web might see a not-so-great audition for a different film and not consider you for theirs.
We'll see how successful the experiment is, but the key thing we should take away is we live in a fantastic time period where we can utilize technology to make the casting process more real-time. You can tell that many actors are not right for a part the second they walk in the door, but the interesting thing about utilizing a social platform like Mobli is that you may get more actors reading for the part than you ever would have with a traditional casting call. Many actors do multiple auditions per day, and if they can send you an audition online instead, there's a much better chance they will consider doing one for your film.
So what do you guys think? What other ways can we utilize technology to make the audition process better?