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Old January 31st, 2006, 08:42 AM   #1
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Self run casting calls?

OK.

I have tried to get some folks interested in working on a small music video production but am not getting anywhere with family and friends, etc. I thin I may need to hit the local colleges and maybe high schools with theater departments. Has anyone gone out on their own, without a casting agency for smaller productions?

I only need 5 specific people. Can anyone give me a step by step process for approaching theater departments?

Also, on the call itself, there are no speaking rolls and it's a non-paying gig. I am not making anything on this one and in fact am paying for my own gear, expendables, time, etc. It's an art thing I suppose.

What's the best way to handle a casting call of this nature? Get a room someplace? I thin kthat scares off a lot of potential folks, especially females, and I don't blame them. Do it at home? Potential issues there too. By mail? Just send in head shots, etc?

What have others done to fill out their castings?

Sean
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Old January 31st, 2006, 09:51 AM   #2
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About a year ago I found myself in the same position. I had to cast and crew a feature and my friends were too non-commital to lend a hand.
The first thing that I did was to find an A.D., who I caught on a public access show while he just happened to be comparing the Indiana Jones films to the conflict in Vietnam...so he was perfect.
After meeting with him, showing him the sscript and getting on the same page we set out to find a hall that would house us.
We ended up holding 3 auditions.
The first was at a beat up, run down community theater. They gave us the place for the day, which was awesome. My AD and myself would sit in the basment changing room area and we had a friend bring the actors in one by one. I felt very professinal.
The second was a travesty. All that i can say about this audition is that i ended up guzzling whiskey in the basement of a NASCAR shop cold and alone and with a fat lip. Don't go this route, nascar shop basements are not a conducive enviroment to find potential actors and crew. in fact, its a condusive atmosphere to get beat up in.
The thrid audition was held at a Holiday Inn. I got a meeting room for 25$ all day! I just had to ask. It had 2 couches, a couple of big round tables, and plenty lighting. The fact that it was a meeting room and on the first floor helped clam the nerves of the females that stopped through. Well, that and the sign that I hung on the glass door read, "Please enter. You will not be sexually assulted."
I would suggest that you lock the rooms, start making flyers, and call the newspapers.The big turnout at my 3rd auditons was a result of having a couple of newspapers come by the first one.
I would also suggest that you bring music (again, not the "welcome to my hall of seduction" music) pizza (becuase everyone loves pizza, even more than raymond) and a video camera.
The camera you cant forget. There are several obvious reasons why a camera is obligatory, all which i'm sure that you are aware of. it's invaluable.
So thats my input.
Good luck with your auditons
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Old January 31st, 2006, 12:31 PM   #3
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I only need 5 specific people. Can anyone give me a step by step process for approaching theater departments?

Find a notice board and pin up a sign listing your requirements (gender, age range, ethnicity, etc.) Post an ad online (mandy.com and craiglist.com come to mind).

Also, on the call itself, there are no speaking rolls and it's a non-paying gig. I am not making anything on this one and in fact am paying for my own gear, expendables, time, etc. It's an art thing I suppose.

So be honest about it.

What's the best way to handle a casting call of this nature? Get a room someplace? I think that scares off a lot of potential folks, especially females, and I don't blame them. Do it at home? Potential issues there too. By mail? Just send in head shots, etc?

Don't do it at home, for various reasons. A meeting room is a great idea, but all you really need is a quiet, non-threatening place. An empty classroom works fine. Choose a place that is easy to locate; put arrow signs up to guide people, if need be. Make sure that one actor does not walk into the room while another is being auditioned. Have a separate waiting room with copies of the sides for them to practice. Have them slate themselves when you begin recording so you can remember who's who.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 08:54 AM   #4
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Dont do it at home. That's the first rule that most actresses learn-never audition at someone's house.

Do Like Jason did and start making calls. My local library has free meeting rooms and space in the hall for waiting chairs. Other places abound, you just have to dig them up. If you go the hotel meeting room just state in the flyers or postings that it's in the hotel meeting room, not the honeymoon suite.

Post on Mandy.com, you will probably be overwhelmed by the response. Just be clear that it's no pay but that everyone will get a copy and credit. People are fine with that, it's normal, just as long as you're up front about it.
After you post on Mandy other casting services will grab the posting and send it to their own people. It can snowball, I've had people willing to travel hundreds of miles...

Present as professional an appearance as possible. You don't have to rent a tux, but you can print out things for those waiting, like character bios, etc.
Get info/contact forms for everyone. You'll be using them in the future. Conduct yourself like a business person going to work.

Seriously consider Sag/Indie. You'll get professional, experienced talent. Yes, it's a hassle, but it's worth it and it raises your cred level. My last project would have tanked without pro talent.

Contact EVERYONE that shows up for the audition as soon as you have cast the parts. And that should be within a day or two for something this size. And tell them "everyone will know by Tuesday night"...

Relax and have fun. Some actors will be nervous. You'll be learning how to run an audition, "read" a talent resume, and work with actors. Again, have fun.

Find a friend to bring along so that you can compare notes. Bring a vid camera as well.

Good luck.
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 04:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean McHenry
OK.I only need 5 specific people.
IMHO you should audition at least 100 people for 5 roles. We did all the usual stuff...ads in magazines agencies etc etc we had them send their CV and photo and I found that alot of them do not look like their picture.

There was one guy who we had pegged as the leed role and when i got back from picking an actress up i was confronted by this 5 foot guy with a side show bob hair doo and I thought some guy had been passing by and seen the audition sign and decided to try out .iI was only when the director told me who he was i nearly wet my self laughing (in private of course).

After we gave him a call back saying we went another way he WOULDN'T leave us alone, he kept text messeging us saying he has always wanted to kill someone on screen.....psycho . I still get the odd e-mail from him to this day cause he knows our web site.

Anyway we learned to things
1)audition EVERYONE who shows interest
2)never give out your cell phone number

good luck =)
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 12:05 PM   #6
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I have booked a conference room at the main branch of the public library. It's a central location with a coffee shop right outside the conf room and a waiting area. Plus it's actually in the outer area of the main library for Columbus, Ohio so there are places to sit and rest, read and have coffee and bagles, etc. The library actually has a parking garage that is free for the first hour and several pay lots nearby. Easy to get to in downtown Columbus, near the Art Museum, Columbus College of Art and Design and Columbus State Community College.

I am writing up the casting call notices now. I figured I have several scripts I am working on at the same time so I can hit several of them at once. I will send notices directly to the local college theater and journalism departments as well as the local papers and on several web sites.

I will bring a professional video camera and tapes, print out several nice copies of the scripts, supply bottled water and have at least one assistant. I'll try to co-op with the coffee shop on muffins, coffee and so on.

Thanks for the input everyone. I hope it goes really well.

Sean
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 08:30 AM   #7
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My .02 is not to worry about providing water or snacks. You'll be doing plenty of this when you're shooting. I haven't been to a lot of auditions as an actor, but I've never seen it and have never heard an actor complain it wasn't there.
There is certainly nothing wrong with providing it, its just not expected, nor is mileage reimbursement for auditions. (Please don't everyone flame me about how cruel and cheap I am, blah, blah,blah)

I would focus on one project for now. Trying to cast multiple projects at once can be confusing and you probably don't have them all schedule, so the talent won't be able to commit anyway.
Keep their headshots on file and take notes. You can always say, "we've got too many women already cast for this one, but I'm doing another project in the summer, can I call you for that".

Use Mandy.com or something similar to post sides. At least have them printed out or email them to the respondents. Cold readings suck for everyone. You want the best actors, not the best improv artists. Some actors are very particular about their technique.

I've gone back and forth with scheduled times. Actors love the idea so they are not sitting around all day, but few actually show up for their scheduled time. If people are asking for it you can book in 30 minute chunks. And still, half of those who responded just won't show up.

Again, consider Sag/Indie, especially if you're doing a short. You just have to cover mileage and it's so worth the hassle of the paperwork. You need a month lead time for the paperwork to clear though.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 09:52 AM   #8
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[\QUOTE](Please don't everyone flame me about how cruel and cheap I am, blah, blah,blah)[/QUOTE]


LOL...I totaly agree with you when you start shooting providing food for them all costs alot of £$£$, we never provided anything at the auditions...we just used the tea that the church had in their kitchen ...hehehe.

Andy.
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Last edited by Andy Graham; February 3rd, 2006 at 01:58 PM.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 09:52 PM   #9
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Casting call at home

I guess I didn't read this thread early enough in the process, lol. I have been holding the auditions for my feature at my house for several months in ones and twos as people replied to my ads and everything seems to be going very well so far. I will probably do the rest from home, it seems silly to rent a place at this late date, but for the next project I will get a meeting room for professionalism.

~David Perrine~

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Old August 13th, 2006, 01:12 AM   #10
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I've cast several films and stage plays...

This is actually pretty easy.

As everyone says, put up ads everywhere - in your college theatre department, at libraries, at hip coffee shops and depending how often it's used in your area, Craig's List and Mandy.com. If you live near a large city served by lacasting.com or nowcasting.com, you can use them as well. Contact local theatre companies as well - anyone within, say, fifty miles. They'll usually be willing to mail the audition to their members. And since it's a music video, I'd contact local dance companies and schools as well. Since there is no dialogue, you don't have to worry about the actors having trained voices.

People are happy to appear in non-paying gigs if they need the footage (which all theatre majors do) or if it's just a lark. They aren't going to be put off by not being paid in the least. Don't even sweat that. You'll have no fewer applications than if you do pay.

State that you'd like headshots, but if they don't have them, to send a full face or 3/4 body snapshot - preferably blown up. Tell whoever you call in, to bring another copy of the headshot with them.

Call the actors and schedule the auditions five to ten minutes apart depending upon what you want them to do. Tell them to look nice, because you'll be taping, but to wear comfortable clothes they can move in. Make sure that you write the actor's phone numbers down next to their name. Stack the headshots up in the order that auditions are scheduled.

Get a room in public place somewhere. Lots of churches have space they rent out reasonably. My church has a big sunny room with mirrors and windows that's $50 a day and that's in LA. Libraries, whatever. You don't need to provide refreshments - they aren't expecting that. Make sure it has plenty of parking near by, a convenient restroom and a place where actors who are waiting to audition can sit comfortably - even if it's just a dozen folding chairs right outside.

In the audition room, you need a table to sit behind, and chairs for yourself, whoever else is attending and a few extras chairs for the actors who are auditioning. Don't forget pens, notepads, a file folder, water and snacks for yourself. You also need someone sitting outside the audition space checking actors in, and calling the next auditionee in. This person should have a table to sit behind as well, and a copy of the schedule as well as a notepad where the actors sign in - this is important and will keep things in good order. Personally, whenever I walk an actor into a room, or if I'm running the audition, I ALWAYS introduce everyone in the room to the actor. Less mystery is good. Tell the person to walk the actors into the room, and say, "okay, this is Joe, and Joe, this is X the director, this is X the producer, and this is X with the band. " Ask the actor if they brought their headshot with them and if they have any questions. Then, go.

When they get done, double check that you have the right contact info for them and thank them for their time. If you're crazy about them, put the headshot they bring with them in a different file. If you want to make notes, do it on the back of that one.

Lessee - anytime you can hire an Equity actor for anything, you are almost certainly in better hands than with anyone else. People who will behave professionally on your set will manage to send even snapshots that look professional and that look like them. Girls who send in suggestive headshots are almost always a nightmare to work with.

That's it. Good luck.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 04:53 PM   #11
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I don't know if anyone ever followed what we ended up doing but we scrapped the original music video we were planning with this casting call as we couldn't get a church to shoot it in. Actually several huge churches were volunteered but were eventually pulled out from under us after they were in the schedule do to folks in upper positions at the churches deciding the content might not fit the use of a sacred space.

So, I gave up on shooting that one since I couldn't follow my muse on it. I did however get a nice cast for the next short we shot. An amusing little number we called "Cat Fight at OK and Corral".

Since it's debut on Google Video a little over a month ago, it has been watched or downloaded nearly 6200 times. I think a few folks must have found something interesting about it.

Just so you can follow up, it's on my web page. It isn't perfect but it was one heck of a lot of fun to shoot.

Sean
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