Split this one into two entries as I was having a bit of a panic the night before the auditions:
So the week isn't technically over at this point but I wanted to write a pre-auditions bit, hoping that my post-audition entry will be overwhelmingly positive in comparison. So out of the fifty or so actors who applied we chose sixteen to audition - roughly four per role, give or take one or two. As of right now at least eight of those people have cancelled, including two who were auditioning for the lead. Most of the cancellations came in over the course of the week and as we were still getting new casting applications in we were able to plug some of the gaps. The thing is, at the start of the week we didn't have enough men. Now we've got loads, but the majority of the women aren't coming.
Also, the Shooting People casting website (which has actually been pretty useful so far) went down due to server problems meaning I couldn't access my casting messages. This wouldn't really have mattered at this stage but I did have a couple of last minute applications that I couldn't access so obviously started to worry that those could be the perfect cast members and I had no way of looking at them.
I'm also wondering if it was a mistake to send people the script before meeting the actors. Two of the roles are pretty small and though I think they're interesting (they're the bad guys - what's not to love about playing bad guys?) I can see that maybe they're not that appealing to aspiring superstars. But perhaps if they didn't like the script it's better to know now rather than to cast people who weren't that into it. And maybe I am just being paranoid and the excuses about suddenly contracting flu or having too much work on are genuine. Also, I think honesty can be over-rated sometimes - I'm not sure that in reality I'd actually prefer a load of e-mails from people not coming to the auditions because they didn't like the script.
Anyway, I'm hoping the people who are coming are awesome. They kind of have to be.
So one more person dropped out on the day but in the end we still saw ten people in total, instead of the sixteen we had originally arranged to see. One thing I have learnt from the experience is that ten people may be the maximum it's sensible to see in one day. By the end my introductory speech had been reduced to a few sentences and I kept getting confused when people asked questions - 'didn't I already answer that question?' I kept thinking, before realising the previous person had asked the same thing. Maybe all those cancellations weren't necessarily a bad thing.
Everyone we did see was indeed awesome and very enthusiastic about the project, which was a relief! We've got some difficult decisions to make now, although we may try to see some more people for balance.
I don't really want to draw too much attention to my inexperience, but working with the actors in the auditions did make me start to think about rehearsals and character development. I was asking for a few different readings of the lines mostly to test the actors, but it also became clear in doing this that there were quite a few different ways for these characters to be played and that I don't have a definitive version in my head. But it seems like the fact that I'm even concerned about this is a step in the right direction. Every short film I've done before I've been happy for the actors to just turn up and do it their way while I worry about a bunch of other stuff that the director really shouldn't be worrying about. I've got a lot more help on this one and it's made thinking more creatively about the scenes and characters much easier.
Despite the extra help I'm still bouncing between two alternating levels of stress. Half the time it feels like everything is sorting itself out and I'm free to leave it to one side for a while. But then if I don't do anything film-related for more than 24 hours I get really panicked, curse my previous inactivity and start making lists of the billions of things that need doing. Then I do some of the things and phone some people which makes me feel much better and like everything is fine so I go back to stage 1.
So hopefully by the time I next post one of these we'll have made some decisions on the casting front and will also have finally confirmed shooting dates. Let's see how that works out.
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