Chapter V: Getting others to do the Impossible [Part One: Casting]

This post will concentrate on how you go about finding actors.

The single-most important element in a movie (sometimes even more important than the director), is the casting. If your actors suck, no matter what else you do, the movie will fail (at least on a critical level). Therefore, be wise in your casting choices, and spend the most time finding the right people.

The How

  • You have to like the person on a personal level, as a friend. Some directors even go as far as to say you must love your actors in the real world. This will help you bring out the best in them.
  • You must meet them at least three times prior to making a commitment. During these meetings you must talk and share personal stories, and see how they respond. Is there a chemistry?
  • You must audition them in front of camera. Does the camera love them? Are they photogenic? Do their emotions look real on camera? Can they perform on camera?
  • You must test them to see if they take directions well. Can you control them? How do they behave with your assistants? How do they behave with their assistants?
  • Are they on time? Are they flaky? Can you depend on them?
  • Interview many people. Don’t be too clingy on one person. Plan to spend a lot of time on casting.
  • If you can afford the services of an experienced casting director with a track record, do so. Don’t work with people who don’t have a good record.
  • Forget about models who can’t act. They have pretty faces, but they will ruin months of hard work that you have put in on your characters
  • Looking for answers to the above questions will finally reward you with the right person for the job.

    The Where

    Where do you find good actors? For stars, you need to get in touch with their secretaries, agent, close friend or whatever. For the other actors:

  • Look for good actors in theatre groups like Barry John’s, Anupam Kher’s, etc. You will find great actors here without a doubt.
  • Talk to casting directors or modeling agents/reps. They have a huge database of people whom they will scan to find a suitable fit. Use their wisdom with a grain of salt. They show favoritism, and many modelling agencies promote their weaker models just because they have taken money from them. Beware!
  • Conduct an audition in a nice air-conditioned audition room in front of camera. If in Mumbai, there are cheap rooms available in Andheri that also have large mirrors. You can book a hall for a day and audition a hundred people easily. If you have two cameras, you can even double that!
  • Use and craigslist to search for actors.