Casting Process

Monday 12.14.09

I am furiously trying to get my shot list finished…at least a first pass.  This is like shooting the film for me.  It is like my first cut and it is taking me a while.  The created film language for each character has to track and change as their arcs change.  Sounds easy enough until the characters collide in the story and the film language for each of them mashes into a mess!  I am making headway and am happy with the way the film is “looking” in my head.  Only 70 more pages to go!  Yikes!

We will be finalizing our main character today.  Just waiting for Brent to return home from Florida [congrats to Maddie!] and get to a computer.  I will then be happy to let you all know who our Ezekiel and Audrey are!!  God has been so good to this project.  Bev has been wonderful.  She recommended we give this particular actor (Cody) one last shot, as she knew he had a heart for the material.  He came in a few times.  Bev always says that we do not want to move forward, unless we have seen everyone and gotten the best actor for the role.  Of course, I agree completely! So, I drove to LA last Friday and met with this actor (Cody) and an actress (Sarah).  But first, she suggested I get on the phone with this Cody and let him know exactly what I was looking for.  Lucky for us, he agreed to chat and last Thursday night we spoke for about ten minutes.  He was very polite and cordial.  A nice guy for sure.  I expressed to him that I thought we had not given him a fair shot at the chem reads.  Let me take a moment to mention…Everyone has bad days.  All actors are to be commended, in my opinion, as I could never do what they do…nor would I want to!   Anyway back to Cody…when I told him that…He mentioned that he had not prepared a second scene, as he did not think we would do it at the chem reads. He let me know that I had already seen him give a hundred percent.   He also mentioned that the script really got to him and it stayed with him…the second scene is emotionally tough and complicated to play.  It does stay with you.  I agreed with him and told him I had been there four times and it does affect you.  Inside, I was thinking that his struggle with the material was a good thing…He would not just be acting, he would be feeling it deeply and living it out.  Exactly what is needed for whoever plays Ezekiel! But, my heart sank a little as, as much as that was exciting to hear, I still needed to see him go further.  Bev thought he could go further.  I hoped he could and wanted to give him a another shot…so, I asked if he would be interested in coming in one last time and reading against another actress.  He sort of reiterated that I had seen him give a hundred percent…BUT, he loved the project and would do whatever I asked of him. Excellent!  That was the answer I was looking for.  I then told him what I needed to see from him…I needed him to go all the way to broken.  He needed to take this character to the edge of himself.   We ended the conversation by saying we would let our “people” sort out the details, but that we would meet again the following day.  By the way, he also said the next day – Saturday – he would be leaving for his hometown for Christmas.  Again, God working right before our eyes, in tangible and active ways!  Super cool to see.  So, I called Bev and said he agreed and she set it up.  I finished up work here at the church and went home and watched Cody’s first and second reads again and again…he had all the beats, the moments and every woman who saw him was gaga over him…my wife included!  I knew he had the look we were aiming for, a great personality, and loves the material…all amazing things and great assets…now, I just needed to see him go all the way with the character.

Brent just called me.  He just got back and watched the tape of Cody and Sarah.  He loved them.  We will offer them both the roles.  So, by the time this blog goes to Jessica she will probably be able to remove all the “guy” and “girl” references and say their actual names…if the details can be worked out by then.    My only request was to be able to tell the Cody that he got the part.

Anyway, where was I?  Anyone who takes the time to read this mess of a blog knows by now that I have an incredibly short attention span and tend to wander.  It is just my brain.  I get bored easily.  Oh yeah, more posters on sale tomorrow!!  One of my favorite artists – Tyler Stout look him up, he is awesome, has some new work out

I called and left a message for Cody.  Have not heard back yet.  Still working on my shot list…all day.  It HAS to be right.

Tuesday – 12.15.09

Meet Brent at the church for a drive to Bev’s for another day of casting.  We made offers to five principals:
Ezekiel
Audrey
Bill
Eli
Z
I am lucky enough to speak with Cody and tell him we chose him for Ezekiel this morning.  He is super excited.  I give him some homework, wish him a Merry Christmas and tell him I look forward to seeing him in India.  Then we go into Bev’s.  Once again I have to say how fun it is to see her and Jessica.  They are quickly becoming two of my favorite people.  We look at an actor the second time, for the super complicated and extremely important role of Bhupinder.   I spoke with him by phone last night and told him what I was looking for.  He came prepared for sure today!  Thank the good Lord.  He sure has had his hand on this casting process.  Bev even suggested today that the credit should read: casting by God and Bev!!  It is so great to be surrounded by people who get that this is first and foremost God’s film…always has been from the day he gave me the story.  Brent and I have made a point to hold this project loosely from day one and I firmly believe that He is blessing it as a result…from the actors chosen, to the crew God has brought together…a team we would never have dreamed of.  So today, we saw the Bhupinder actor who was very strong and will be offered the role.  He made great changes and took the notes well.  I know I can work with him.  Then we saw an amazing actress for the role of Sarah (Shari).  She is a friend of Bev’s I have seen before.  Bev brought her in for one of the Bible study ladies…she was so beautiful inside and out that I asked if she could read the Sarah role.  She did and blew me away.  I told Brent I would be happy to offer her the role immediately.  Brent wanted to meet her…Chris and Denise also stopped by to meet her…everyone loved her so much and we called her right after she left to offer her the role.  She cried and thanked us!  Welcome Shari!!  You truly are Sarah and I couldn’t be happier.  I can’t wait to get to do what I love to do…work with amazing talented actors that love the Lord!

After an amazing morning, we headed off to Christmas shop Brent’s youngest.  His kids are so cool.  I have practically watched them grow up.  Sophia is going to be very happy Christmas morning…I can tell you that!  Then home.  I rushed home, threw on my bike clothes and headed out for a ride…I raced the sun as it was setting and had to trudge through mud and water…but I made it, finishing the ride in the dark.  Now, I will eat dinner with my wife…then get back to work on the shot list!  It has been a wild ride…now I can focus on my shot list and India…oh yeah and I get to meet with Jonathan about music tomorrow!!!  Something I absolutely love.  He is the musical voice of Ezekiel.  His music will be the soundtrack to Ezekiel’s spiritual journey.    We will meet tomorrow so I can spot the music for him, at least give him an idea of what I am thinking, so he can work on it while I am in India.  He is always a bright spot and I am such a music guy.  Music is such a huge part of this film…score and now, after having met Jonathan and heard his music, songs will be a major contributor to the end result that you will eventually see on your local film screen…God willing anyway!

Thanks to all of you Friends Church of Yorba Linda members who came out for the day of casting at the church!  It was so cool to see the support and passion you guys have for the film.  You are all a vital part!  Whether you are in the movie or not, your prayers will drive it and we can feel them…so, thanks and keep praying for the film!!!  God is listening.

Thanks again to all who read this.  You guys are why I make time to share our journey.  Be sure to respond with any questions you might have, Jessica sends us everything you guys write.  I will happily answer whatever I can.

Thanks and God Bless.
Until next time.
J

PS.  More Tyler stout posters on sale!!!  I had to pick up one of each.  They are really cool.
Which reminds me, I talked with Dan our poster artist and he assures me our poster mock up is coming in the next day or two.  I can’t wait to see what he has come up with!  I know it will be cool.  Keep checking back as the plan is to make a super small limited edition signed and numbered run of the first posters.  Probably there will only be 50 or maybe 100.  Stay tuned if you are a poster nut like I am, this will be one you will want to have for sure!

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