Whether you’re a student filmmaker, beginner filmmaker or are finally ready to begin your first Indie film, casting takes up a lot of time. It’s an important part of the process that shouldn’t be overlooked. We’re here to break down how to cast an indie film without breaking the bank or losing your sanity!
How To Cast An Indie Film: A Step-By-Step Guide
So, you’ve been working on your indie film idea and are super excited to get production moving. Where do you start with finding your cast? This is arguably one of the most important elements of crafting a film, as the actors are the face of your production. Your film relies on your actor’s ability to translate your ideas to audiences, so here’s how to cast an indie film correctly!
How To Find Actors
As you’re casting for an indie film, budget may be of concern. Therefore, you should firstly consider who you know with acting experience that could fit the roles. Ask around your crew/anybody who is working with you to see if they know anybody that would be interested. Maybe you even have family members or friends that could jump in for smaller parts!
You could also try sites such as StarNow, Backstage and Spotlight. Be clear with your intentions and capacity for pay, though. These sites contain working professionals who will usually expect compensation or a certain rate of pay. Therefore, be sure to state what you can or can’t offer. Some actors will work on the project if they enjoy the script or subject matter, for extra show reel material or resume credits.
You should also check out Facebook groups. There will be some around your area, or general actor groups that you can post the details in to find those near you. Examples of these can include ‘London auditions and casting’ or ‘UK actors’.
Lastly, you can utilize acting agencies. This may involve a higher rate of pay, but you may still find some gems who will work for exposure, credits or bonus footage. Research some local agencies and email them with details on the production.
How To Cast Actors
Here is a helpful step-by-step guide for how to cast actors if you choose to meet with actors found online or through any agencies.
1. Find A Place To Host The Audition
Do you have a spare room at your college that you can use? Are there any other private spaces that are available to you?
Pubs and cafés can work well, as they often have function rooms that you can hire for free. If you can, try to have a waiting room area and a separate room for the audition. Ask around for any local spaces that are free or low-cost. You can even offer your services to smaller spaces or venues. This could include flyering, social media promotion, adding them into your film’s credits or even writing a blog post about them. If you can show that you are willing to offer something in return, establishments will be more keen to help!
2. Choose The Audition Scene
Usually for auditions, actors will read a few pages from a scene. If your film involves singing or other special skills, you can ask the actors to prepare a song or show their skills. Consider which scenes show as many facets of the character as possible, and ask yourself what’s important to convey to the audience. Remember the genre, and compile a list of qualities that you would like to see from the actor. Don’t forget that you may need somebody to read out any other lines in the scene for the actor!
3. Time Slots
Plan ahead and think about how much time you will need with the actors. Let them know a time slot and time to arrive, and don’t forget to give them a copy of the script before the audition. Give them plenty of time to prepare, plus a breakdown of the story, characters, inspiration and so on.
4. Communication With The Actors
Make sure to converse with your actors when they arrive. Discuss the project, ask them about any past experience, their availability and so on. It’s important to give your future cast a good impression, as this is a two-way street and you need to get on. You are auditioning for them as much as they are auditioning for you, so creating a comfortable environment is key. You also want them to have a good experience for any future collaborations, and to get the best result possible for your film.
5. Film The Auditions
It’s helpful to have a camera for filming auditions when you are casting an indie film. This way, you will be able to see how they come across on camera, and have a reference for their performance when making decisions. You may also want to take some photographs of each actor and add some notes about their performance.
6. Thank The Actors
This seems obvious but makes all the difference! Make sure to thank the actors for attending and let them know when they can expect to hear back from you. Once you have made your decision, let every actor know the results in a timely manner. If you are finding the decision difficult, you can always hold further auditions. This can be helpful for seeing how two actors work on camera alongside each other. Keep hold of everybody’s details just in case your first choice has to pull out of the production for any reason.
7. Find Your Cast & Get Moving!
By now, you will hopefully have found your perfect cast! Be sure to keep communication open with your actors, find schedules that work for everybody and provide as much as you can. Providing food on set is usually expected, but you can keep costs low. Take care of your actors and you will have a brilliant end result that you can all be proud of. You will also have happy and enthusiastic actors for future projects!
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