Spotlight: Lessons from choosing my cast...
I am pleased to announce that after receiving 3500 submissions, doing auditions, callbacks, and chemistry reads, we have cast my film "Hide/Seek"! We saw 25 actors in our callbacks, and ultimately had to choose the our actors that made the most sense for our film. Here's how we did it.
We had two strong options for each character, a main choice and a backup, based on hair color, talent, casting a "family", and how everyone fit together based on their chemistry reads in the callbacks. I knew that whoever I cast would be amazing so I wasn't worried about it. I had Kimberly Graham put "pins" in our actors right away, like 30 minutes after we finished. Because what's the point of waiting? I had my choices, and I didn't want actors to be waiting in agony for no reason (I hate that). I didn't need to review the tapes (I did that after auditions), and as the day went on I got a better sense of who I was going to use (although there were some amazing surprises). A "pin" is when you are very interested in someone, and you want them to know that they are probably going to get it (although sometimes pins "fall out.") Meanwhile we have to work up the official deal memo, and figure out all the logistics (housing, per diem, transportation, title card billing, etc.). You'd be amazing at how much goes into simply giving an offer. On top of that, we had to make sure our lead actor Ned Van Zandt could do the shoot dates, as he is currently on "The Blacklist," in which case we would have needed to go with our second choice. Luckily it worked out. We had to keep it secret until the offers were officially accepted, because you never know if an actor is going to suddenly be unavailable. Meanwhile, for those I called back who were students of mine, I emailed every one of them with their feedback. Basically, it was "You were great. It was about hair color. Or age. You impressed the hell out of me." Everyone killed it. Hardest decision ever.
Our first table read is this Friday, March 18th with the cast and producers. This is the first time I will be hearing the entire script out loud with the actors, picturing the shots in my mind, figuring out what lines work and don't work, and how they are interpreting the characters.
Meanwhile, I'm spending every waking moment working on this film-- doing test footage, storyboards, shot lists, calling catering companies, meeting with editors, sound guys, doing phone interviews with local newspapers, talking through shots with director friends of mine, location scouting, raising extra funds, negotiating with people, blogging, running an acting studio, coaching on Blue Bloods, and having the time of my life learning about the process of making this film. I'm really enjoying sharing this process with you, and this film is going to be great!
Check out our cast below, and please consider donating to this film. We are offering lots of perks to contributors, like audition taping, Skype lessons, business consultations, demo reels, copies of my book, dinner with the production team, and even a producer credit on the movie!
NED VAN ZANDT (Actor, "Tim")
Ned is a veteran actor of stage and film, currently has a recurring role on the hit NBC show The Blacklist, and has a supporting role in the upcoming Jay Roach film, All The Way, starring Bryan Cranston and Anthony Mackie. Other credits include The Iceman Cometh on Broadway with Kevin Spacey, WEEDS, LOST, THE RIVER, NURSE JACKIE, PERSON OF INTEREST, LAW AND ORDER, SPIN CITY, and dozens of other TV shows and films.
BRYAN MANLEY DAVIS (Actor, "Jake")
Bryan has appeared in dozens of television shows and films. Next up, Bryan will be filming the lead role in the feature film "The Unexplained Disappearance of Karla Marks" produced by Invasive Image. Bryan currently trains and coaches with Matt Newton of MN Acting Studio.
MICHELLE VESILJ (Actress, "Sherry")
Film: Ovum (Best Picture at the 2015 Big Apple Film Festival), Lonely Boys, Heart of the Beast, Police Humor. National Tours: SPANK! The Fifty Shades of Grey Parody (Tasha Woode - Anastasia). Music Videos: "So Be It" by Drink Me Up (Won "Best Music Video" at The LA International Film Festival), "Karma" by Drink Me Up (The NYC Independent Film Festival). For free download of Drink Me Up's EP: www.drinkmeup.net.Michelle is repped by Prestige Management, and is currently studying under Matt Newton at MN Acting Studio in New York City.
SOPHIE KNAPP (Actress, "Sophie")
Sophie Knapp, 7, Actor, singer, dancer. Most recently seen as Ivanka in Once in Broadway and in the equity national tour. NYC: Dream Street, A Little Princess; Broadway Kids; Annie. On Camera and commercial appearances include DR. Oz; Nickolodean Shimmer and Shine Promos; Smartcar; In the Haunting of. Vocal performances: Broadway Sessions; Lyrics for Life. Thanks to CESD, Zoom Talent, family, coaches, and Matt.