Casting

Monday morning. I am researching possibilities for the role of Sarah and then will start going through the script and tracking the spiritual journey of our lead character. If I assign a number to the level of intensity, when on set, I can then guide the actors to where they should be emotionally in any given scene.

Anyway, last week was nuts. I spent all day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Bev’s casting. It was an incredibly productive week. We saw tons of actors, some really strong and some not so much. We saw friends of friends, people who have read for Bev before, and of course a ton of strangers to us all. I really did not know what to expect…everything I have cast before, was done on my own. I have never used a casting director, so was a bit hesitant going in but that hesitation disappeared immediately. Bev was great. She has a very sweet spirit and is incredibly nice to her actors. That may sound odd, but having worked in Hollywood for over twenty years I can attest that actors are not usually treated with kindness as a general rule…unless of course they are “name” actors, then it is a whole different deal. Bev made it a point to put every actor that came in at ease as much as was within her power. She remained pleasant throughout the incredibly long day, again a testament to her character and why I am glad we are working with her on this project.

Brent and I have had many conversations regarding casting…it makes or breaks a film. It is really that simple. We discussed and prayed about a casting director and finally settled on Bev. So far so good!

Bev has a few great people working with her. Jessica read against most of the people on all three days. Elise [not sure on spelling] read for a few and then Brett came in to read against the girls reading for the role of Audrey. All three readers were professional and a help to the actors for sure. Bev has a small conference room set up with a table, a few chairs and a small digital camera on a low tripod that sits on the table. Jessica or one of the other readers would sit just off camera and the actors could roam the room, sit in a chair lean against a wall, whatever they wanted to do. I personally like this style, as it is loose and seemed to be very conducive to the style of acting that I am looking for. She gave me a printout listing all of the scheduled people for the day…one every five minutes! I was drained by the end of the first day…but I have to say, seeing a good actor bring a character to life is such a treat. Conversely, hearing a bad actor kill the words…well, let’s say…it is not an amazing feeling. Fortunately, the majority of the actors were competent, even if not right for the part.

When I first got there, before seeing any of the guys reading for Ezekiel, Bev showed me a few tapped auditions she had conducted for another project a few months back. I think it was the first or second tape she showed me, I knew about five seconds into this actor’s read that he WAS Ezekiel. I did not have to continue watching. His look was perfect, his acting style was perfect and his attitude and subtleness was exactly what I was looking for and thinking when writing Ezekiel. And now here he was on tap, in this same room, a few months earlier. I hopped online and googled him. I got to his website and it turns out he is, in a round about way already associated with a human trafficking organization…kind of. I can’t say too much, but it was pretty cool to see that he shares our passion for the subject. I tried not to sound like I was too excited [not sure if it worked or not, you’ll have to ask Jessica or Bev] and asked about him, who was this guy, was he available, how old was he, etc. Bev gave me his particulars and said she was check into his availability. I asked throughout the day as she would get a little more info on him…he is a regular on a soap, he does not live in LA, etc…but, to me I had seen Ezekiel and put him on the top of my list from the second I saw him. He became the standard for the casting sessions from the first morning on. It turns out he could be available. Great! Again, I am reluctant to say too much…but, things are moving forward. I will continue this story when it has an ending.

So, having that happen before even starting the first day of casting was pretty cool. Day one was long. There were good actors throughout the day that kept us all hopeful. I think we saw four or five solid choices for Ezekiel on the first day. A great ratio, based on how many people we saw read for the part. I left feeling really good. Day two was similar. Good actors smattered in with not so good actors. Friday had more Audrey prospects in the mix, so it was a good change of pace for all of us in the office. We saw two girls I really liked. It was funny, I really liked one of the girls and Bev really liked the other one…but, ultimately we both liked them both.

Well, as it normally goes with these blogs, I get interrupted…by all sorts of things, today some good and…some not so good. The good one is that Brent rang me [I love getting good news from him. He is always so excited and has such a wonderful spirit] and said he spoke with Bev and someone we sent out an offer to responded saying “they are interested.” This is very good and exciting. Now, we shall see how it goes from here but like they say, that’s better than a kick in the teeth.

I better gets this over to Jessica for her to proof, clean up and make me sound semi-normal before it is posted.

As always, thanks for reading and following Not Today. Things are certainly heating up and I will try to keep you posted at least once a week. I am back in casting all day tomorrow and then again on Thursday…so, hopefully I will report back with some good news on Friday or early next week.

God Bless.
J

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