April 21, 2015 at 2:43AM

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Holding Auditions?

I'm in pre-production for a short film, and was originally trying to cast the whole thing through acting websites like Backstage and having talent email me their audition in a video. However, I'm finding that it's not a very effective method; and I was just wondering if anyone could tell me how to go about holding live auditions? Like at a local theatre or civic center or something like that. Who do you call? How much would it cost? How do you get the word out to talent?

3 Comments

The experience give to you the good elections. You can until that ask to some people that you trust, like friends. etc

April 21, 2015 at 2:46AM

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Rag├╝el Cremades
Film producer and director
7606

Hi Dan - I wrote this about the casting process on our low budget feature 'DON'T. STOP. RUNNING' - see if it's useful at all!: http://bit.ly/dsrcasting

Alex.

April 21, 2015 at 6:29PM, Edited April 21, 6:29PM

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Alex Richardson
Director
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Firstly, if you haven't already, look on Facebook etc for local groups that do theatre, filmmaking, poetry reads, stand-up nights. They are likely to have links with venues and will understand what you're trying to do (with very little money). Avoid just searching for 'venue hire' because the prices quoted will be commercial rates - i.e. way more than you can probably afford. I'm UK based, so we also have access to things like Scout halls, churches. All you really need is a space that's easy to reach via public transport, has a bathroom and light/heat. If possible get somewhere with a waiting area so you don't have actors watching each other audition.

Don't do auditions at home. It's weird and creepy for actors (esp. female actors) plus if some psycho turns up - and it happens - you don't want them knowing your address . The same goes for your email - set up a specific one for the film, not your personal one.

Contact the usual casting organisations, local theatre groups, arts centres - even Starbucks in large cities can be a place to advertise casting. Be honest about how much you're paying, if anything. Get them to send photo/CV and set a deadline.

Don't be put off by a lack of experience if someone looks perfect. If someone submits a selfie and a CV full of errors I'd steer clear as it suggests they are just messing around.

For the actual auditions, select your ideal bunch then a couple of wildcards. Schedule each about 15mins, set up a simple spreadsheet and then send them the details, along with a copy of the script, highlighting the part they're auditioning for.

On the day have plenty of bottled water plus any props you might need. Ideally have a buddy along just to give a second opinion and help with logistics. Make sure you have pens and copies of the script. Do a simple signing-in sheet so you can keep track of who turns up. It sounds stupid but at the end of auditioning 20 people they all merge into one, so take good notes! You can film auditions but ideally get someone else to manage that because it will distract you from interacting with the actor. And always check the actor is okay with you filming them.

How you run the actual audition is a little like your directing style - it depends on what you want (i.e. if you're planning loads of improv, incorporate this into the audition). But typically you'd tell them a bit about the project, why you're doing it, what resources you have (be honest!). Then do a 'flat' read-through of the script just to listen to their voice. Then give some simple direction, try again. Even if they're great, give a note just to check they can use it - you don't want someone who can only do stuff one way. Finally, if your film has anything physical or crazy, get them to try it. I made a short that had a bit of violence and I needed to be sure the actors could really let rip if needed.

At the end of the day you'll probably know exactly who you want. Contact them asap to offer the role and confirm they can make the shoot dates. Once everyone has confirmed, contact the unsuccessful ones and send a short, polite and personal email - don't just mail-merge some generic rejection letter. Remember you may need these people if your actor drops out, or even in future projects. Offer feedback - 99% won't ask. If they do, be honest but polite and encouraging.

I think that's about it! Main thing is to look for a good fit for the role and your production. Make sure you pick people who feel right, feel like people you can hang out with and enjoy spending time together.

Good luck!

April 22, 2015 at 3:18AM

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Jon Mills
Filmmaker
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