The Art & Business of Casting Your Film
The Casting Process – How Can It Improve Your Final Product
Your script is written. You’ve got a team assembled to shepherd this project along. Now it’s time for your cast. Understanding this is independent cinema and most of your cast, if not all of them, will be working for lo/no pay. (Something that indie cinema needs to fight against being the norm) You need to look at your cast as a way to improve your product. Bring life to your content. You can have the greatest script in the world, but if you have a subpar cast than your script will be bungled. So how do you use the casting process to your advantage and have it improve your final product?
Friends Are Not Your Friend
Now, I understand you may have a treasure trove of great actors that you call your friends and that’s fantastic. Have them audition like everyone else. You need to see your words come to life. Your friends, even if they’re Marlon Brando incarnate, may not be right for the roles you have written. Some actors are better suited for certain roles. If you shoehorn your friend, who’s great at slapstick comedy, into a dramatic role, you’re doing them and yourself a disservice. Holding an audition will help you find the perfect fit.
Do your actors tweet? Do they regularly promote their projects on Facebook? Do they snap behind the scenes stills from other projects on Instagram? These are not the ultimate factors that should go into hiring your cast. Clearly, get the best-suited actor for the role you’re looking for. That should always be the largest consideration in your decision, but if your options for a role come down to two people; maybe check out their social media reach.
Diversify Your Portfolio
Seeking diversity in your project isn’t about making sure you have a diverse cast for your final product. On the contrary, diversity means being open to making changes to your characters from the page to the screen. I know your first thought is race, but also think about the possibility of changing your character’s gender. If you at least open up to the idea of being able to change your character, you’d be amazed how diverse your cast will be. But why diversity you ask. Well, because diverse casts have been shown to perform better worldwide. Check out (insert article link) for more information.
These ideas are so inherent to quality filmmaking and great storytelling that all you need to be is open to these suggestions in order for your casting process to be effective, even if you realize it at the time or not. Your production will be the better for it nonetheless.
Some more resources on casting:
Indie Film School: Casting
The Casting Process & Casting Call Dos & Don’ts!
How To Cast An Independent Movie With A Casting Director by Thomas Beatty & Rebecca Fishman
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— Michael Field is a filmmaker from Connecticut. Check out his website and current projects at michaeldfield.com