Casting Revealed, 2nd Edition
A Guide for Film Directors
By Hester Schell
194 Pages - 14 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
Casting is an essential component of any film or video project, but the core skill-set needed to cast effectively is little understood. Casting Revealed: A Guide for Film Directors is a straightforward manual on the art and craft of casting. Here, director Hester Schell offers her insider perspective on casting workflows, industry standards, finding actors, running auditions, what to look for in a performance, contracts, and making offers. This new edition has been updated with fresh interviews with casting directors, full color head shots, new information about online video submissions, and a companion website featuring forms, contracts, and sample scenes for auditions.
Gain a fuller understanding of the misunderstood art and craft of casting actors for film and video production.
Learn to find the right actors for any production, run auditions, interview actors, effectively judge performances and video submissions, evaluate suitability for a role, discover what it is you need from an actor, view headshots, draft contracts, make offers, and navigate current industry standards, unions, and procedures.
This new edition has been updated to include full color sample head shots, new content on online video submissions, listings of casting wesbites, film resources, and film commissions and a companion website featuring interviews with celebrated casting directors from New York, Portland, Boston and Austin, necessary forms, sign-in sheets, contracts, and sample scenes for auditions.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE: SAVE MONEY — DO IT YOURSELF: DIY
INDEPENDENT FILM AND MARKET SHARE
HOW THIS BOOK WILL SAVE YOU MONEY
Do It Yourself
Collaborate Or Die
Anyone Can Make A Movie
Yes, But Is It Worth Watching?
Why So Many Films Don’t Make The Film Festivals
Raise Your Standards
All About Editing
Inexperience Costs More Money
The Best Actors Are The Right Actors
TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGES EVERYTHING
The Headshot Submission Process Has Gone Green
SAVING MONEY RECAP
CHAPTER TWO: YOUR DIRECTING CAREER
BETTER CASTING IMPACTS YOUR LONG-RANGE CAREERGOALS
Shorts Are Your Stepping Stone
WHERE TO CONNECT WITH ACTORS
BREAKINGBARRIERS: HOW TO TALK TO ACTORS
Blame the Media
CHAPTER THREE: AN OVERVIEW OF THE CASTING PROCESS
WHY DIY: Do It Yourself
WHAT ARE YOU CASTING
Families And Lovers
Principal, Background Casting
TYPES OF AUDITIONS
Appointments: Script Readings, Cold Readings And Improvisation
Keeping It Professional And Confidential
Actor Are Looking For You As Well
Agents Are Looking For Projects For Their Clients
Los Angeles And New York: United States Casting Centers
CASTING IS NOT
About Your Ego: Get Over Yourself
TO UNION OR NOT
Thoroughly Evaluate Your Decision
One Member Makes A Union Shoot
Experience Gets More Done
The Less Experience The Longer Your Day
Questions For Discussion
WHEN TO START
What Do Actors Look For When They Read Your Audition Announcement
Plan Ahead To Stay Ahead
WHAT YOU NEED TO START
You Need A Script
You Need "Sides"
Know The Window Of Time You Plan To Shoot
You’re Going To Need A Place To Hold Your Auditions
You Need Your SAG Paperwork Done
CHAPTER FOUR: INDUSTRY STANDARDS
ACTOR MARKETING MATERIALS
What Makes A Good Headshot?
Warning Signs Of The Less Experienced
WHY LOOK FOR THESE STANDARDS?
CHAPTER FIVE: ACTING — WHAT IS IT?
The Actor’s Toolbox
Approaches To Craft
SCRIPT ANALYSIS: If It Ain’t On The Page, It Ain’t On The Stage
The Moment Before
What’s My Motivation?
GO FURTHER: Who do you like?
GO FURTHER: Character types
GO FURTHER: Character type attributes
ACTING 101 FOR DIRECTORS
How You Feel Is A Result Of What You Do
The Magic Verb
Understanding The Craft: Where To Go For Help
CHAPTER SIX: TIMELINES —
WHEN TO START AND WHAT TO DO BEFORE JUMPING IN
ANNOUNCEMENTS, AUDITIONS, CALLBACKS AND CONTRACTS
WHERE TO HOLD AUDITIONS
Keeping it Professional: 1st Impressions Count
THE CASTING TIMELINE EXPLAINED –
SCHEDULES: WORKING BACKWARDS
Two Weeks From First Shoot Date: Rehearsals
One Month From First Shoot Date: Contracts
Six Weeks From First Shoot Date: Callbacks
Two Months From First Shoot Date: Auditions
Ten Weeks From First Shoot Date: Distributing Audition Information.
Three Months From First Shoot Date: Preproduction Breakdown
The Producer Is There To Help You
Union Preparation Recap
CHAPTER SEVEN: THE CASTING BREAKDOWN — SPREADING THE WORD
Local Or Regional
Flyers: Other Places To Put Your Breakdown
International And Regional Web Site Distribution
Who Represents Whom
CHAPTER EIGHT: STAYING ORGANIZED
Who Follows Instructions
Turn On Your "Flake Radar"
Sample Initial Contact 1: SET APPOINTMENT
Sample Initial Contact 2: SELF (VIDEO) SUBMISSION
Creating Script Sides From Your Screenplay
THE FIRST ROUND — WHAT YOU NEED AND WHERE YOU NEED IT
Provide Scripts In Advance
Make A Schedule
Allow Enough Time For Each Actor
HOW MANYACTORS DO I SEE FOR EACH ROLE?
WHO DO I CAST FIRST?
Cast Your Leading Actors First
INSIDE THE SESSION
Controlling The Room
Casting Sessions Are Job Interviews
Casting Sessions Are Private
Using A Reader
Recording The Casting Session
Adjustments And Direction When You Have Something To Say
MORE BASIC DO’S AND DON’TS
Do Expect Actors To Be Prepared And On Time
Do Expect Actors To Arrive With A Headshot And Resume
Nudity, Scars And Tattoos
Don’t Ask Actors To Sign A Release Form For Audition Footage
Keep An Open Mind To All Potential And Opportunity
Ending The Session
Sorting The Session: Do You Need More Options?
CHAPTER TEN: THE SECOND ROUND — CALLBACKS
CONFIRMING YOUR CHOICES
CALL BACK FOR SURE
CALL BACK MAYBE
NOT GETTING A CALLBACK
CALL BACK PROCEDURES
Set Call Back Appointments
Test Your Communication And Directing Approach
Put On Your "Poker Face."
Sleep On Your Decisions
CHAPTER ELEVEN: OFFERS AND CONTRACTS
THE OFFER AND THE ART OF NEGOTIATION
PAID PROJECTS (Union or Not)
CONTRACT: Get it in Writing
LOCAL HIRES ONLY
STATE PRODUCTION INCENTIVES
A Word from the SAG-AFTRA Office
CHAPTER TWELVE: DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT —
FRIENDS CHIME IN
FAST, CHEAP, GOOD—PICK TWO.
A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS
Actors Do A Shout Out
Directors Do A Shout Out
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: CASTING DIRECTORS —
DO YOU NEED ONE?
The Job Defined: Potential Meets Opportunity
Types Of Casting Directors
The Interview And Checking Credentials.
Job Tasks And Responsibilities: What Will They Do For You?
When In Doubt: Hire A Professional
What’s It Going To Cost?
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: SO YOU WANT TO BE A CASTING DIRECTOR
OUTREACH AND MARKETING
Michael Druck, Austin, Texas
Ken Lazer, New York City, New York
Sarah Kliban, San Francisco, California
GLOSSARY OF COMMON FILM TERMS
THE PARTS OF SPEECH: Just For Fun
NOTES, BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RESOURCES
SAMPLE COURSE OUTLINE / SYLLABUS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hester Schell is a recovering academic, award-winning director, master acting teacher and author. Hester has been either in front of the camera or part of a crew, on stage or directing for over 45 years. The first feature she acted in, shot in Portland, Oregon, won an Oscar™. Hester took a side-trip into academia, graduating highest honors with a Master of Fine Arts in directing and landing a tenured position teaching theatre and film at a California college. She has a column at SCRIPTMAG.com and her articles have appeared in CineSource, Movie Maker Magazine and Coastviews Magazine. Schell is a contributing writer to Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson’s NOW WRITE: Writing Exercises from Top Writers and Teachers, 2010, Tarcher/Penguin, and HOW TO BE A WORKING ACTOR, 5th Edition, 2010, Watson/Guptill Publication. She’s a member of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Harvard Square Screen Writers. Speaking engagements include London’s British Film Institute, Burbank’s The Writer’s Store, Drama Books in New York, Connecticut Screenwriters Association, and the San Francisco Black-American Film Festival. For more information, find Hester Schell at IMDb.com, the Internet Movie Database, or hesterschellcreative.com. Hester is available for workshops and seminars on a variety of topics, and is interested in hearing from producers and writers with comedies. She is finishing a novel and working on several scripts with roles for middle aged and senior women.
"I wish I had Hester’s book when I first started in Hollywood. It would have saved me a lot of heartache because it spells-out in clear and concise language the necessary tools for successful casting every filmmaker needs to know. Reading this book reminded me of how much the Academy needs to award an Oscar® for casting directors. Because casting is an art form, and Hester’s book is the best I’ve read on demystifying the process."
—Jon James Miller, producer, Pooka Productions/Gravity-Squared Entertainment
"While nothing can replace the benefits of hiring an experienced casting director, this book has some great insights for beginning filmmakers."
—Lana Veenker CSA & Eryn Goodman CSA, Cast Iron Studios: Wild, NBC/Grimm, Twilight
"Hester, I have to compliment you on taking on this mystery of a job and making it so enjoyably clear as to what we do as a process and how we take young people who are interested in filmmaking - who don’t understand the first thing about how the casting process is done - making it enjoyable to read and very informative of how this works and how they can use their time and their effort and money to the best of their ability… to get good talent."
—Carolyn Pickman, CP Casting, Boston: Mystic Pizza, Black Mass, Straight Outta Compton, Gone Baby Gone
"Expect an informative lesson on the rules of the game, with strict outlines from every phase of production. Whip out your pens and highlighters and start jotting down notes, because this will surely be on the desks of up-and-coming writers, actors and directors for years to come."
—Kyle Rupprecht, MovieMaker Magazine, on the first edition of Casting Revealed
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