[custom_frame_left] F40Studios[/custom_frame_left] Yesterday, we did a casting call for our ultra low budget film Lullaby.  Many thanks to the folks at F40studio in Huntington Beach for letting us use their facility for a few hours to do the actual casting.

All in all, the casting went really well.  During the four hour period, over 20 people auditioned for both the main male and female roles.

For me, I always want to raise the bar as far as the experience for everyone.  Here are a few things I did which the actors seem to really appreciate.

  1. Send them the sides and character breakdown in advance.  I’m not worried about someone stealing the overall story idea because they simply won’t get it by reading the sides.  For those who don’t know, sides are 1, 2, or 3 pages of script you ask the character to audition for without giving them the entire script.  The character breakdown was also important in that the actors had a frame of reference to approach the character.
  2. Make the actors feel welcomed while waiting.  A bottle of water can go a long way with someone who is nervous.  We also had granola bars and a bathroom standing by.  Always shake their hand when the arrive and shake their hand when they’re leaving.
  3. Collaboration.   I let the actors know the direction I wanted them to go and told them to run with it.  Obviously I had an idea in my head about how the character are but I wanted the actors to bring their perspective.  I saw the range from energetic to subdued and all were equally as creepy.  The biggest question for us: what kind of creepy do we want?
  4. Be prepared.  Nothing is worse than wasting people’s time.  My time is valuable and so is theirs.  Our coordinator had a schedule to check them in.  We printed out each actor’s bio who was scheduled and had that ready to go.
  5. Break the ice.  If I’m going to work with someone, I want to know them a bit better.  I asked each actor a few questions at the beginning to get them to relax a bit.  The audition can be stressful enough so why not make people feel relaxed.  When they are relaxed, they focus more on their performance and less on the audition.