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    Actors for low budget films
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    For my low budget film, I rationalize finding an actor who is most natural in character as they are in person. I've never had any experience in acting or directing so i'm not sure if this is common sense for directors but for my first film I am scouting by simply meeting new people, hanging out with them and auditioning them without them even knowing it. I sort of picture their personality on film and try to fit them into characters that I have written about. They might change my idea about how my character should be and bring a whole new perspective to the character and the story as well. This is great because it is natural and that is the hardest thing for directors to achieve. However, getting them that comfortable infront of a camera is another challenge for you and that person and you have to judge if they will be comfortable or not.

    The film I have in mind might be a tad easier than most because as it is low budget, I have written the story to fit things that are available to me. I have chosen the story to be set in an area where I and the other actors live. I have chosen events that are likely and therefore easy to visualize for the actors. Other scripts may consist of sets that are foreign to even yourself and contain actors with qualities that are not very friendable.

    Casting actors is, I feel, a difficult challenge because for one, you don't have that much money so you can't promise anything big for the actors who are taking time out of their day to come participate. They have jobs, you might have a job but you are passionate about this and you have to work your ass off to make it happen. They don't. You just call them up and they may or may not be available. So if you are ready and they aren't, well you're screwed because your lead roll is working second shift at Spinelli's Pizzeria and your shot is suppose to be at 8:30 PM during the sunset. One day lost. But the good thing is that you don't have Paramount funding your film, so it won't be taken away from you. The point though is that by finding people who already have the qualities that you are looking for, befriending them you will have a better experience.

    The best thing about this is that even if they don't fit the part or aren't available to be an actor in your film, you just made a friend


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    #2
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    The thing is, it's actually not that difficult to find committed actors who will work for free. Don't assume that they're not passionate about their craft just because they're not getting paid; they wouldn't be actors otherwise! There are many actors starting out who are looking to build a reel and/or get some experiences and they'll gladly donate their time for free and work their asses off as long as you treat them well. This means good food on set, a supportive working environment, a copy of the film and if you can afford it, a token stipend. Look into local casting network and hold auditions and you'll be surprised who'll turn up.
    "Local studio seeking young female actresses for short film in which they definitely will NOT be killed. Lack of identifying scars, dental records, or concerned family a plus. Payment to be discussed after shooting...uh...filming."

    www.hiddendreamsmedia.com


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    #3
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    Huy is right. You don't become an actor to be rich; those that are, are extremely lucky and worked hard at it for a long time before garnering respect and million dollar deals . So depending on where you are located is really the restricting factor to your available talent pool. I know in LA and NY there are so many solid, talented actors just frothing at a crack to audition! Let alone be cast in a film, paid or not. Copy, credit, meals and an enriching workplace do make all the difference. Money is icing on the cake. A good idea is to go see plays or audit acting classes in film/tv/stage for possible talent. You can also reach out to a casting associate working under a CD who's looking to cast his/her first project on thier own. Best of luck on your project.


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    If you are in LA you might want to check out my Documentary on how to get name actors to be in low or no budget projects...it screens August 13th at the Sunset 5 at 4pm...here's the link.
    http://hollyshorts.bside.com/2009/fi...ollyshorts2009
    Getting experienced actors is always better...and they will work for little or no pay IF you have something of value to show them...If the script is good, you'll be surprised who you might get. As a director, you should look to doing an acting class at a reputable place...it is an art...the story is also the core of your work so educating yourself in these areas will help you to draw the best talent...because they will believe in you..

    Best on Your project,
    Stan The Man


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    #5
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    You are all very right, and in most cases this is exactly what someone should do. However I forgot to mention that for this film in particular, I am scouting for the characters in people who may not even be actors as a profession. If they are, Great! But I am experimenting with this approach of finding people's personalities who I think would be great in my film. It may fail completely but film is an art and with this I am trying to come at it with a different approach.


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    #6
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    Thats a great idea in theory and I hope it works. But trying to extract a certain character trait that you see in an individual and have them extrapolate upon that trait is easier said than done. Most folks are very social and are "themselves" when in a social setting, say at a dinner party where you strike up that conversation and see the glimmer of your character in them. Put that same person in front of a camera and 9 times out of 10 you are going to see them try to "act". Couple that with an individual with possibly no performance training, on camera technique and general nervousness and you get what you get. I'm not saying it will never work, there are people out there that are natural in any setting, but I can see it being difficult to have an entire cast of non-actors. I compare it to putting crews together, I don't normally bring anyone on that doesn't know what they are doing because I'll end up having to do it myself. In any case, the very best of luck to you on your project. Take care.


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    You're absolutely right. I have no idea how this is going to turn out. I'm hoping to write the script in such a way that they won't feel compelled to act. I know..Whenever I figure that trick out i'll probably become a millionaire as i'm sure thats one of the many paradigms of the preformance arts. But we'll see... I'll probably end up with a bunch of stage fright and "acting" as you said. I'll probably give them a couple pages of the script to act out before I set them in stone.


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    #8
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    Well, I guess I didn't credit your thread properly. It seems that you are telling us what you want to do and why you are doing it...I originally thought you might be looking for some opinion on your approach...

    Huy and Ricky offered some nice stuff that perhaps you should at least consider. I don't mean this in any way to sound condescending, truly, but If you say you have no experience in acting or directing...well, deflecting all these ideas is not a great way to gain experience.

    Best of luck,
    Stan Harrington


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    #9
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    Very true Stan. It does seam as if I am dodging the whole process of posting for actors, auditioning and thus accomidating throughout the shoot. The problem is I am in every position that this film requires to be put together. I am the producer first and formost, the directors, DOP...i'll have to direct what "gaffers" I can put together.. In other words I really don't have a knowledgable crew. No who I am working with on this has any experience in any kind of film making or preformance arts. I think the closest they've got is making skate videos with a consumer camera. I want to bring something more to the table. So i'm trying to organize and plan a short film to get them started so atleast they and I can say that we've done one. After that we may do another and hopefully be good enough to do a few more.

    So my point is we're not actually a film crew. We're just a bunch of friends who want to put a film together but have no experinece doing so. I'm not sure what constitutes a ligitimate film company but I don't feel comfortable reaching into the pool of professionals to drag them to some shabby set with a few cameras and people who have no experience.

    I'd love to get actual actors. To know that I have actual actors preforming for my picture would be awesome. One day soon I hope I can.


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    #10
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    You can and you will. Just keep at it, it's very difficult to get started and learn the ropes if you have no one mentoring you, guidance is a huge help. Thats what these forums are for (a wealth of knowledge with many talented people here)...and books. I can't tell you how many books on acting, directing, lighting and producing I've read on top of classes and experience. Keep forgeing away and before you know it you'll be an old salty know it all, able to handle situations in a single bark to an underling!


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