reb•e•lu•tion (reb’el lu shen) n. a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.

10/26/2005

CFA: 11:15 A.M. - 10/26

One of the most incredible segments during Ken Carpenter's lecture (and it was all incredible) was when he shared a comprehensive, step-by-step outline of the casting process:

Step 1: Determine schedule for auditions. Mr. Carpenter likes to do all the casting sessions in close proximity. That way he can remember everyone he's read.

Step 2: Figure out "where" to hold the audition. You'll need a place with two rooms. One for talent that’s waiting to read and the other room for the auditions.

Step 3: Crank out a casting breakdown. A casting breakdown lists the title and a one-line story synopsis of the story, the production company, and director. It will also designate whether your production is a union or a non-union production and whether the acting positions are paid or not. Normally, Mr. Carpenter advised, you only need to indicate pay when there is no salary. Finally, your casting breakdown sheet will list the roles that are being cast with a one-line description of each character.

Step 4: Send our casting breakdown to the local (or even statewide) newspapers, drama groups, and talent pools. Mr. Carpenter advises that you put out a wide net.

Step 5: Then, hopefully, the mailman will start coming with dozens and dozens of headshots and resumes from prospective actors. Go through the headshots and decide who you want to read and then go about scheduling them.

Step 6: Your audition schedule should allow 10 minutes per audition. Make sure you are strict about this schedule. You don't want people getting backlogged in the waiting room. As Christians we need to dignify talent and show them respect.

Step 7: On casting day you need someone to check the talent in and to hand out sides. Sides are excerpts from the script for each character. When the talent checks in you should know that they were coming (since you invited them), know what role they're auditioning for, and you should have sides for their character ready.

Step 8: In the audition room you will need a six foot table with a chair or two on one side for the talent and then room on the other side for the director, the producer, and casting director. Finally you will need someone to read against the talent. The reader against the talent will need to have a copy of the sides. Make sure your reader is not going to give the actors too little (meaning nothing but words, no emotion, no rapport) or too much (this isn't their Shakespearian moment, this isn't their show). The director must always observe. He should never read against the talent.

Step 9: Now it’s time for a lady to come in and audition for “Aunt Ruth." Do a little chitchat to find out if they’re a nice person. After all if you'll be working with them, you better like them!

Step 10: Now you're ready to begin. Allow the actors to sit down or stand up if they want. When they are ready, begin. However, don't tell them what you want from them. You want to see what they are going to bring. Furthermore, you don't have all the answers, they might bring something good and unanticipated. Watch carefully.

Step 11: Very important. Even if you love what they brought, have them do it again. But this time give them an adjustment. Say “this time, Aunt Ruth, let’s do like you just got a call from Aunt Mary with terrible news.” The reason you do this is because you want to see how they’ll adjust and how they’ll respond. If they do it the same way the second time you know they aren’t for you. On the set you will constantly need small adjustments and your actors need to adjust and respond to your instruction.

Step 12: Go through lots of people. Read lots of people. It’s hard, but it’s necessary. And it is one of the most important parts of filmmaking.

Step 13: After you finish the intitial casting process you’ll have call-backs. This operates much like the initial auditions except that you are only watching people you specifically wanted to see again, and this time you can feel free to share the script with the actors before they come to call-back.
So helpful. Thank you Mr. Ken Carpenter. Thank you Vision Forum.