Casting the net

Production diary #02

Night sky 01

It’s taken a little longer than planned, but the Watch the Skies casting process in now underway.

Here’s what’s happened so far.

I put together a short synopsis for the film, including a general idea of the schedule and logistics, and posted it to a couple of online casting sites: StarNow and Casting Call Pro.

The character description for Amy was intentionally broad in terms of age and physical appearance. I’m much more interested in an actor who can bring something interesting to the role than in any particular physical trait. The only other real requirement – for logistical and expense reasons – was that they be local.

71 actors applied for the role.

I watched showreels, read profiles, looked at photos; anything to give a feel for who might be the strongest prospects. There’s a limit, though, to how useful any of that can be. Most actors at this level don’t have particularly extensive lists of credits; those films they list are often not available to watch; and showreels are often years out of date, which seems like an unfair marker by which to judge someone still learning their craft.

It’s also true that, as much as you want to give every actor a fair shot, there’s a practical element that comes into play. Namely, I don’t have the time to audition 71 people.

I narrowed the field down to eight applicants (this may grow slightly), thanked them for their interest, and invited them to audition. I sent each the full script, an audition scene, and asked them to put themselves on video.

The challenge is that WTS is dialogue-free, and doesn’t lend itself to the audition process. I considered using a scene from a similar-but-existing movie/TV show (I looked at Moon, Midnight Special, and The Leftovers, among others), but ultimately decided that something original would work best.

The scene I ended up writing is set within the film – if Amy were talking to herself, this is what she might say. You can read the scene here. You can also find the full script here.

And that’s where things are at the moment.

I’m waiting for the auditions to come in this week, and hoping that Amy is out there.

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