Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Other Side of the Casting Process

Had a fantastic experience recently as a First Assistant Director to Mr. Brian Jaynes on his latest film "Patient Zero". He was also gracious enough to let me do some acting work as well. One of the most eye-opening experiences for me came when we were looking at video auditions for a key role for the film.

Now I have always held to the notion that casting is a very interesting process where the CD is faced with multiple videos of great folks and one of them just leaps out among the others for whatever reason. In other words, you come in with your game face on as an actor, give your all and still don't get the role, but not for anything you did wrong.

I got to see it first hand and was amazed. Two of the videos were from people I have worked with and greatly respect as actors. One delivered a great read. It wasn't in line with the sinister nature we were looking for as the character, but the read was interesting enough that the role could have been redefined. The other read was wonderful, with some great moments. Finally, there was a read from the guy. I mean, he was the character we were looking for. After that, I personally didn't even bother to finish videos from other actors. Everyone got compared to how perfect this guy was for the role. In the end, he booked it.

The most important thing I learned was how important the slate is. Especially, if it's the first thing on the video. You need to look like the character, talk like him and give the CD/Director that punch immediately. The guy in question nailed it from the beginning and even the way he said the character's name in the slate screamed "I AM THE GUY!". Sometimes the slate is all you get before the CD skips to the next one. It's important that they see the character right away.

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