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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old January 24th, 2004, 03:16 PM   #1
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Finding Actors?

I am currently in the pre production stage of my film, and though I have made past films, I have never actually hired any (good) actors other than my close friends.

I live in a small town in Michigan; this means that I won't be able to find good actors readily. I'm thinking that I should go to the High School's drama teacher and ask him if he would talk to some of the people in his class about being in my film.

What are some of your experiences with finding actors? This is a full length film, and I don't know wether or not the actors would be nice and not make me pay them, or if I would have to in order to, basically, pay them take 3 days a week (out of 10 or 11 summer weeks) to shoot this film. Since this is in fact a small town and I am probably the only (serious) filmmaker around here, It might be true that people would gladly do it just to see themselves on the screen. Then again, I don't want money to motivate them. Since they are actors, I am only half worried about this.

What are your experiences?

Thanks,

C. Cook
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Old January 24th, 2004, 03:53 PM   #2
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The high school is clearly the best place to start. Being a small town, your less likely to run into resistance from overly-cautious administrators (I tell you, lawyers are ruining the world) than you would in an urban area. I'll bet local churches put on the occasional play too. It also looks like your going to have use a few people who aren't real actors. Sometimes people like that can have more natural presence, because they don't overact. They just say their lines. I've seen it work. Having the right look, especially for bit parts, is 90 percent of it. Need to shoot in a store? Ask the owner if he wants to be in a movie. Now you got a location AND an actor. He'll have his own authentic looking wardrobe and props too. :)
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Old January 24th, 2004, 04:45 PM   #3
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I loved the bit in Robert Rodrieguez' book "Rebel Without a Crew" where he talks about asking the local news anchors if they wanted to have parts in El Mariachi. Got him a couple actors and put the local media on his side!

Cheers,
Brian
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Old January 24th, 2004, 05:16 PM   #4
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Hi, maybe you could try the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Drama dept. It might be worth a shot. Good luck!
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Old January 26th, 2004, 01:09 AM   #5
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Only cast high-school kids if that is those are the parts you are tying to fill. You'd be surprised at the turnout if you ran an ad seeking actors.

Dont worry about pay. Clearly state this in your ad (you know, no pay, but copy and credit)

Start with the local theatre, church actors, school, etc.
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