It's time to talk about casting! No matter how many actors we get to know, I never have enough of the right ones available when we want to shoot something. That means that we have to do a casting call or Breakdown. Our feelings are decidedly mixed about these. On the one hand, a casting session is the first indication that a project is real. There is also nothing like hearing the dialog spoken by actors for the first time. That can also be the first time you realize that the dialog needed to be polished something fierce. But there is another side to casting that makes us cringe.
Before I get to that, let me show you an article that gives a clear and concise description of how a casting session should be.
Jon and I can add some numbers to that list that makes us dread going into a casting session.
Number 21 – Please, keep your clothes on unless we ask you to remove them (and we won't).
This has happened during the auditions for Demon Under Glass. The part was for a man who is mistaken for Molinar in the hooker sting. More than one actor thought, well if I'm about to get in bed with a hooker, I need to get naked. We are not talking about lifeguard physiques here. I thought the casting director was going to dive under his desk.
Number 22 – Please, make sure that your headshot is within ten years of your actual age.
We have had some actors come in that were decades older than their headshots. In one case, many decades older. Time makes many changes in one decade. Come one people, 70 is NOT the new 30!!!
Number 23 - Please, make sure that the height listed on your headshot is within six inches of your actual height in either direction.
We've expected a 5'8 inch female and gotten 6'2 inches. And we've expected a 5'8 inch man and gotten 5'2 inches. With an ensemble cast, we cast relative to the height of the leads. These numbers are important.
Number 24 – If you insist on using a prop, please make sure that prop makes sense.
We were auditioning for a tough guy space pirate, as you do, was using a waiter's cork screw as a substitute for a switch blade. It took us forever to figure that out, and then we were fixated on what happened during this man's day that he thought switch blade and came up with corkscrew. We didn't hear a word he was saying.
Number 25 – If you come up with your own stage direction, please try to remember it.
An actor during a call back decided to do a long monologue while pretending to be tied to a chair. Ballsy, we thought. But then, he kept getting out of the chair to dramatically stalk about the stage. Even after Jon reminded him twice that he was supposed to be tied up by his own choice, he kept getting up. Even when Jon made it an official adjustment to the performance, he didn't remember. Next.
Number 26 – If you don't know how to pronounce a word or what it means, PLEASE ask!
That's self explanatory and should be common sense. It really isn't. And while the guesses at words and how they are meant in sentences can be highly entertaining, it really isn't good for anyone. Casting is difficult when it's running smoothly, because you are rejecting people who are putting themselves out for your judgment. It's worse when things are unnecessarily difficult.
With all of this weighing on our minds, we have put out a casting call. You can read the character http://demonspawntales.blogspot.com/p/demonspawn-web-series.html. There are very mild spoilers in the descriptions. We've had literally hundreds of submissions for each part. We also have suggestions from the cast and crew. It's a lot to go through. It's quite daunting. However, we'll be having the finalists do scenes with our leads. This is great, because we can really get a feel for the actors that have the best chemistry with the cast. If all involved agree, we will record these sessions as a perk for the donors and for the DVD release!breakdowns here:
Next up, more on the final script!