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How To Work With Actors?

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  • How To Work With Actors?

    Hi, i am 14 and i have already finished my script for my Tropfest Jr film. I need some actors for the roles. But since i am only 14 years old, what are some things i can do to look and feel professional during the audition and actually putting out and setting up the audition. And if i end up getting some actors, are there any things i need to know to work with actors. Any things i can give in return, (since i cannot pay)? Anything to do with the audition process and working with actors and looking professional would be gratefully accepted. I would like have a meaty, fully explained answer as i really want this to go well. Cheers!

  • #2


    • #3
      Originally posted by Aaron Jones View Post
      What do you mean? I would like a real answer, please.


      • #4
        IndieMovieMaker, he subscribed to the thread so that he can hear potentially useful information since people other than you can benefit from the info provided by members that answer, seeing that many threads get answered and provide info that is commonly desired by by filmmakers on the site and in general. Now onto acting... during auditioning, you want to set up a comfortable although formal rehearsal, well planned out and scheduled. First identify where this audition will take place. After that, then decide how the rehearsals will go. Are you going to send out portions of the scripts, or have the actors read cold? Next move on to sending out the forms and notices so that actors can find out about these rehearsals, providing them with the information necessary, with the preferred age/sex/weight/height/hair color/etc. Now once these actors show up to audition, decide the way you are going to approach them. Sometimes you have other people involved in the production there, other times it's just you. Sometimes you give them incredibly detailed instruction, or a rough idea of what you want, or perhaps just let them go ahead and do their own spin on it. Although I've found it most effective to let them do their own interpretation of the scene, then give them more specific instruction if you weren't satisfied with the scene. Remember not to talk down to them, seem uninterested, get angry, make the environment uncomfortable, be rude, lie about the production and the quality of it, tell them to do things they do not feel comfortable doing, or anything else that could be potentially damaging. You want to start them off by laying everything out on the table: how they will be payed, transportation, schedule, catering provided, your past work, what to expect, basic distribution idea, and anything else that they will need to know. Don't tip-toe around the truth or try to hide things, tell them everything they need to know, and if they don't like it, then you can respectfully tell them that you are not who they're looking for, then move onto the next person. One important thing to remember during auditions is to not only examine the acting capabilities and acting method of each actor. Sometimes people can pull off great performances, but can be difficult to work with. Since this is a simple indie production, you're going to find yourself struggling if someone will not cooperate, which can lead to having to recast, rewrite, or simply cancel the production, three things that are stressful and often have undesirable aftermaths. Make sure you are FRIENDS with them. You get along with them, you can talk to them, it's easy going and un-stressful... like talking to a friend. The minute there is hostility, awkwardness, intimidation, or discomfort, it's time to find someone else. Any of the just listed things appearing on set can lead to a poor aftermath. Another thing to remember is to not lie afterwards. Don't tell them they did wonderful and get their hopes up if you know they're not the person. Tell them the honest truth, but still be polite and nice about it. Oh, and call people back. It's just rude to keep people hanging, sitting by the phone and wondering if they're going to be involved in the film. And if someone did pull off an OKAY performance, still keep in contact with them! At some point, you may want to have them in another film production. When working with actors, develop a style with working with them. On an indie production, the best method of working with actors that I've found is to create a friendly atmosphere, openly communicating your thoughts but not being rude. Sometimes directors want actors to not memorize their lines, and instead immerse themselves into the character they are playing, then learn their lines quickly before the camera starts rolling on set so that they get more realistic reactions... a technique that can work but also be disastrous. Some directors like improvisation, and other directors like people to memorize lines like the back of their hand. Decide which style you are going with, and make sure you clarify that with the actor beforehand so that the actor shows up on set the way you want them to. Before production, sometimes you might want the cast (and/or crew if there's a limited crew) to meet and get to know each other, and if you have time on your hands, you can do table reads, something useful if it doesn't conflict with your desired method of directing actors. Regarding your statement about actors, you can let them know that they can use your film as something in their portfolio if they wish. Or perhaps that they could get recognized (but don't exaggerate about the distribution or realistic goals of success for your film). Although you should always have catering on set, providing a good selection of FOOD and DRINKS. Actors sometimes desire pay, but more than anything they want to be well fed and hydrated on set. During the audition process, you should ask the actor if they have any allergies so that once they show up on set, they're unable to eat anything there. You should provide healthy food, with things such as veggie trays, pieces of cheese, sandwiches, etc. NO donuts, BurgerPeasant, McWTFisInTheirMeat?, or RedBull, which gives you wings! Right?! Actually, that's interesting. RedBull gives you wings. What's that old saying? The higher you fly, the farther you'll ____. I'll let you fill in the blank. Anyway... unhealthy food can lead to lack of productivity, laziness, tiredness, crashes, irritability, headaches, and many other things which can lead to stuff that you don't want. Healthy food and plenty of drinks (good juice and WATER) are what you want, alertness and awake cast/crew. Speaking of a well fed, awake cast and crew, have normal sleeping schedules. Make sure you're not overworking the actors, the actors up too late and too early. Make sure they're well rested. Oh, an important thing you have to remember is that they're helping you bring your film to life, and without them, you couldn't. I mean, fire horrible actors, but if you're working with a dedicated cast and crew that helped you complete your film, remember to thank them and show your sincere gratitude.


        • #5
          Wow... thanks for that! That was very informative! I was a bit confused what Aaron Jones meant, but now i understand. I will take in all of your advice. So, you think people will still show up if i say i am 14 and have only done a few short films?


          • #6
            Originally posted by IndieMovieMaker View Post
            So, do you think people will still show up if i say i am 14 and have only done a few short films?
            First off, make sure you get legal permission, and that you're not breaking any laws or putting yourself at risk, etc. etc. etc. Basically, make sure that you're being safe and you have proper permission to do what you are doing.

            To answer your question: you can only know if you actually go ahead and do it. So yeah, go ahead and do it. See how it turns out. Maybe or maybe not.


            • #7
              Could you suggest how to get permission, avoid breaking laws etc.? Or will i have to contact my local council? Anything else would be appreciated.
              Last edited by IndieMovieMaker; 03-26-2014, 04:19 PM.


              • #8
                There's nothing that makes professional people special. All they have that you don't is experience. Carry yourself like you know exactly what you're doing, and people will think you know exactly what you're doing. When that happens, you'll actually start knowing a bit more about what you're doing, but I don't think anyone ever knows exactly what they're doing.

                Fake it until you make it, man. Just because it's cliche doesn't mean it's not true.

                Good luck!