Casting Tips for Micro Budget Films

auditionThe casting director is essentially the link that holds a studio and a talent agency together. Casting directors are multi-faceted people; they will spend hours researching and auditioning hundreds of hopeful actors in search of the one who best fits the part. But most importantly, they must stay actively involved with the process and be in complete understanding of the script and the director’s vision for the film.

While the casting director is in charge of finding and auditioning actors, it is certainly not their job to micromanage them. When an actor is called back for a role, he is expected to already have the talent and the training necessary to perform to the best of his ability. In the end, the actor is ultimately responsible for his performance. He needs to be prepared every step of the way.

The director of the film should be present for every part of the audition process. Although the casting director is hired for this specific job, it is important that the director is able to experience each actor and see who catches his eye. Ideally, multiple crew members will also be present, especially the writer. It’s eye-opening to see your dialogue read by multiple people of multiple different backgrounds and acting styles. This could broaden the perspective of the crew members, and allow for beneficial input from several people.

When casting for a film, it’s extremely important to remember that it’s not always about getting the “big name” actor for the movie. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to cast unknown actors. If you had to choose between casting a “familiar face” or an unknown and potentially more talented actor, always choose the no-name, and here’s why: big name actors will typically be paid more and have higher demands. The no-name actor, on the other hand, needs you and needs a spot in your film as much as you need them. They want to build their reel and establish themselves in the industry, so they will be willing to jump through more hoops for you and your film.

An article from LA Video Filmmaker says it best, “Actors who are difficult to work with are simply not worth the trouble.”

Lastly, a valuable piece of advice when casting your film: Don’t plan too much. Dan Mirvish, creator of the microbudget narrative film Between Us writes, “Every director has some sort of list in mind about your dream cast. Forget it! You will never get your dream cast… And then when you do cast someone else, you will always view them as inferior to the person you had in mind when you wrote the script or made your list.”

By Amy Nordberg

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