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Casting by the Seat of Your Pants

Wow. I have never even met an actor in Colorado and I was about to shoot a movie here. I was scratching my head wondering how and where I was going to find and attract talent. Off to Google!

I watched a few videos on YouTube regarding how to coordinate and handle auditions, and I read a number of similar articles. I took the best of each and documented a clear plan of attack. I asked a friend if I could use his conference room over a weekend and I was set.

I found a few local casting sites on Facebook. One in particular seemed to have a large following. I found a few professional looking ads on that site from other, much higher budgeted films, copied their format, and edited them for Army & Coop. I posted an ad and, voilà, I started getting responses. The responses kept coming and soon I had to increase auditions from one weekend to three!

I drafted a sign-in sheet and a form the actors completed when they arrived to auditions. It included information about them and asked if they had any conflicts with the planned shooting dates. I scheduled each audition 15 minutes apart (I’ll cut that down to 10 minutes next time) and asked that they bring a headshot. I also sent them sides (“sides” are simply a few scenes from the script) so they could prepare before their audition.

My wife greeted each actor at the front desk. We had donuts and refreshments. She would staple their headshot and completed actor form together, and the actor would bring that into the audition. We had a camera set-up and a backdrop to look official. During the audition, we took notes on the actor form and ranked each actor a 1, 2, or 3.

At the end of six days of auditions we had three piles of actor forms: 1’s, 2’s and 3’s. I notified each actor directly whether they got a part or not. I spent as much time as they wanted discussing our decision. It’s the least you can do for these people who gave up part of their weekend to audition for you!

We had our cast! And they were great! This is getting real! What’s next?

Next week we’ll talk about FREE locations and sponsors in guerrilla filmmaking!

Checkout the Army & Coop Trailer at: Available on Apple iTunes and Amazon Video now!

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