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Actor issues

We originally looked for actors on the casting website  ‘Mandy.’ We received approximately ten replies, of which 6 were suitable. We invited them for an audition and only two people replied, one said he could not make that particular date whilst the other said he was now on a paid job so will be unable to take part. When our planned audition day came, we had no one to audition! I was going to struggle being director with nothing to direct, but we still had a very keen guy who wanted another interview so we arranged a Skype interview when it was most convenient for him. We sent him the script and asked for his Skype details. We waited and waited then had to accept that he was not going to audition. This was quite disheartening for us all because we were excited about doing the interview then got let down by all those who applied on Mandy, but I knew my group would be able to find someone if we looked harder so that’s what we did. Instead of relying on just one website, we applied to as many as we could find! I signed us up to Gumtree, The Casting Website and Star Now. The hardest one to use was The Casting Website because you had to be a confirmed user by calling them up and talking to them. They were engaged for a while but I kept trying and eventually got through and signed onto the website. This one was different to all the other ones we had tried because you scrolled through the actors and chose what people you would like to invite to audition, so you can find those with the right ‘look’ for your film. I took a while scrolling through all the actors and emailed approximately 15 actors. We instantly had two replies saying they were interested so this was a good start! We emailed a variety of theatres such as

  • Concordia Theatre
  • The Loft
  • Cubbington Players
  • The Saints Amateur Drama Society
  • Priory Theatre
  • Ruby Theatre

We contacted drama tutors at the University to see if they had anyone suitable and had a few email addresses from our lecturer. After going on this actor rampage the group as a whole was more optimistic and we wanted to audition in the next few days to film at the next weekend.

Many of those we contacted did actually reply even if they were not interested or could not help us out. It is common curtsey and makes you look good if you always reply back so we made sure all emails were replied to, even if they were saying they could not help us out.

We had quite a few people interested in doing a Skype audition and arranged to do our interviews on the Thursday. We had two definite interviews set up for this by Wednesday and hoped for more replies but unfortunately we only had these two. We booked out a room in Ellen Terry and rented out speakers for our interview. We got there an hour early to set up everything and to ensure our Skype was working. We then added them as contacts, then arranged ourselves in front of the webcam so we could all be seen. I was placed at the front so I was closer to the microphone in the computer because I am the director so was leading the auditions. Our first person to audition was an actor called Chris Skinner, he is slightly younger than our original aim and was from the website, the casting website. The second person to audition was Richard Nicholls who was slightly older than our original aim and was from the Bedworth Theatre Company. Chris Skinner was perfect with his timing, I asked him to tell us a bit about himself then to start his monologue. This was well put together and he had good expressive facial expressions. We went over a part of the script and he did not say it word for word and put it in his own words instead. We liked this because it made it sound more smother and natural. Our second actor was also on time and had more questions than our first audition. These were about the film and what we want the audience to think from it. We liked how we wanted to know as much as possible about the film before going through the script. He had a different approach to how he said the script and it worked well. After these auditions we discussed our two actors to see who we all thought was more suitable for our short film. We decided Chris Skinner was more suitable so emailed them both to say thank you and let them know who got the part. We then emailed Chris about what he needed to do next and to arrange a date for filming with him. We were hoping to film the coming weekend and luckily, Chris was free and we had our actor!

Even though this was stressful at times, it was a good experience. I have learnt that you cannot advertise enough! If we had put more adverts in a variety of places to begin with, we could have found an actor sooner. We all assumed just Mandy would be enough and were encouraged by the responses we received so did not think we needed to advertise elsewhere. In the future, I will advertise as much as possible and will not expect everyone that replies saying they are interested to follow through. I will continue to always reply to those who email me and will keep in touch with those I have contacted for future references.  This process has reminded me of how much easier it is if you divide up tasks. If I had just been searching for an actor on my own, it would have taken much longer, but with all the group looking, we worked together and posted our advert to a variety of places.

This was a good experience and I think myself and Matt stayed the calmest about the process. I have learnt that you cannot advertise enough for actors, if we had put more adverts in a variety of places to begin with, we could have found an actor sooner. We all assumed just Mandy would be enough and were encouraged by the responses we received so did not think we needed to advertise elsewhere. In the future, I will advertise as much as possible and will not expect everyone that replies saying they are interested to follow through. We also went to an agency, they wanted to be paid £250 a day but we had other options around us that meant we could keep the costs of our short film lower. If I had just been searching for an actor on my own, it would have taken much longer, but with all the group looking, we worked together and posted our advert to a variety of places.

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