Many projects require hired talent so casting becomes an important part of pre-production. We assist our clients with casting and offer the option to hold auditions at our studio. Clients can attend these sessions or receive video files to review. Either way, we offer guidance to clients in selecting the right talent for their project by keeping a few tips in mind.
1. Keep an Open Mind
Oftentimes projects will call for a fairly general talent description. For example, it may be as broad as looking to fill a “gender neutral, any ethnicity, age 25-40” role for a product demo. Even if the client has a picture of someone in mind for a role, we encourage keeping an open mind during auditions. Someone may surprise you! We have actually had auditions that helped redefine a role because the actor auditioning offered something we had not considered for the character.
If the role is not confined to a specific gender, ethnicity, age, or look, casting a wide net may provide you with options you were not originally envisioning.
2. Be Specific
While this tip is polar opposite of the first, it can come in handy. If your project does require a specific look, details are important. For example, when casting for a family, a historical piece, or promoting a product or service for a targeted audience/consumer, particular features should be considered for intentional reasons. Clients tend to shy away from providing detailed character descriptions, especially if the description may be considered undesirable. For example, if a role calls for an “average Joe” type character with a short, stocky, unathletic physique, you won’t want to cast as wide of a net, and that is okay. You won’t want to waste the talent’s time or yours by calling them in to audition for a role you know they don’t fulfill.
Adaptability is a skill we look for that may not even be on a client’s radar. It can be a good indicator of a talent’s acting ability. Pro Tip: Creative Director, Craig Bass uses this tactic when auditioning talent: If he feels the actor has given a strong delivery, he will ask them to either cold read for a different role or provide a second take of the same script with a much different approach. The new delivery may be completely wrong for the role, but offers a way to gauge how well the actor can take direction and adapt.
This may seem like an obvious one, but pay attention to personality. An actor may come prepared and nail the audition, but doing the job is only part of it. From in-person interactions to digital correspondence, one’s personality can come through and affect the hiring decision. Especially in a character-driven project, when you may be working with the actor closely and for long hours, you want to feel comfortable with them on set. Consider personality while hiring. Actors are artists too and they can be key in creative collaborations.