If you have a casting director, he will be the one who sets up actor auditions. Without a casting pro, the auditions will fall to the director or producer. Unless you're considering an actor whose reputation speaks for itself, you'll want to hold auditions for all of the major roles you're casting.
It's said that Charlton Heston wasn't the first choice for the part of Moses in Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 epic
Actors typically attend auditions with their portfolio, resume, and head shots in tow. If the actors are unfamiliar with your storyline, you may want to give them a short synopsis of your film. There are several types of auditions you can conduct. Sometimes directors will have an actor do a combination of the three types of audition in order to better establish his acting range and ability. These audition types include:
Side auditions have the actor reading an actual scene from the script. These “sides” often constitute what is called a cold reading, or one with little or no time to prepare.
Improvisational auditions are just what they sound like. In this case, you decide on a certain scene and allow the actor to improvise the character. This will give you the opportunity to gauge an actor's personality in regard to a character.
Monologue auditions are a bit different. In this instance, an actor doesn't read opposite another person, instead choosing a single monologue from a different film or theater production. These performances can be more polished, as the actor often has time to rehearse.
Auditions are typically held in a quiet place, where a director can focus on the actor and where the actor can concentrate. If you would like to videotape your auditions, then you'll need a cameraman present.
Once you've run through the audition process, it's time to hold
Take this opportunity to mix and match in order to find the perfect combination. If you're casting a western, take note of how the good guy and bad guy match up on a physical level. If you're casting a romance, gauge the potential onscreen chemistry of your two leads. Allowing the actors to audition with one another can make a huge difference to your final cast list.
Remember that hiring actors is much like hiring an individual in any other industry. In addition to experience, you want to assess an individual's work ethic, manners, and personality. If it's someone you're going to be working with for long hours every day, make sure you hire someone you can indeed work with. It's unrealistic to think that there isn't going to be any conflict, as there is at any workplace, but hiring the right people will only make everyone's experience more pleasant.
More than a few of Hollywood's legendary stars have failed screen tests. The enormously popular Shirley Temple, for example, flopped when she auditioned for the
The nature of rehearsals largely depends on the director, the type of production, and the experience of the actors involved in that production. Typically, all productions will at least have a cast
Inexperienced actors will need more rehearsal time, so that must be built into your schedule. Obviously, the more rehearsal time you allot, the better off you'll be when it comes time to film the actual scenes. Actors who don't know their lines cost valuable production time. On the other hand, you don't want to over-rehearse. Part of the believability of film is that dialogue sounds real and not forced. Over-rehearsing your actors can sometimes cause crucial dialogue to become stale.
Scenes are typically shot out of sequence. For this reason, it's important to rehearse the film in sequence at some point so that everyone sees the big picture and confusion is avoided as to the film's proper sequence. This will also help those working on the film to maintain the film's continuity.
Dealing with Agents
Agents represent individuals in the entertainment industry and are licensed by the state. They're wheelers and dealers who typically get a percentage of an actor's salary, usually around 10 percent (see Chapter 5). In general, it's the casting director who deals with an actor's representation. If you are dealing directly with an agent, make sure you fully understand the contracts you're presented before signing anything.