The Australian film industry is growing fast. So you have the script ready and hopefully some idea on how to get funding for your first indie movie. If you’re based in Australia you’re lucky to have so many spectacular places where to shoot your movie, but, before you get there, you need to find actors for your production. When you’re new to this industry you probably don’t have the fame or the money to attract big names to star in your movie, but that’s OK. You can find undiscovered talents and give them a chance to shine.
Where to find actors
They have a saying in Hollywood, ‘Directing is 90% Casting’ which means that no matter how brilliant your script or your director are, the film will be a flop if the actors are bad.
As an independent film producer you have to start small. It’s not unheard of to use family members or friends to star in your movie project. However, if you’re aiming for more than that you should seek out people with some acting experience.
The best place to find new talents is at local drama schools or amateur acting schools. Most people there are young and enthusiastic. Just like you, they’d give anything to be discovered and they are likely to work hard and even give helpful suggestions from their own experience.
Best of all, they won’t ask for a lot of money. For young aspiring actors, money is less important than the chance of having a part in a movie to add to their resume.
Word of mouth might help you fill some of the parts, but it’s generally a good idea to place an ad in the local media or even put posters around town.
Another way of finding actors for your movie is to contact a local agency. They might know of actors who would be interested to work with you, especially if they find your project interesting.
How to choose your actors
The first thing is to secure a location for your casting sessions and work out a schedule to interview actors for each part. Inform each participant of their allotted time and make sure you don’t keep them waiting. Nobody likes that. Send them the script, marking the scene each of them is expected to prepare for the casting call.
Introduce yourself and the other members of your crew to each aspiring actor and thank them for their time. Videotape each performance.
Making sure you got the right people
You’re not expected to make a decision on the spot and don’t rush into one even if you like an actor’s performance at the casting call very much. Talk to your partners, see what they think and review the tape if necessary.
Once you’ve made up your mind, check out your stars’ backgrounds. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but choosing an actor with a questionable past might spell disaster for your movie.
Check out each actor’s social media to see if they share the same moral values as you and make sure they’re not involved in online scandals. At the same time, verify the person’s background with something like an australian national character checks to do a quick “good character check” on your candidates. Everything is done online and if one of your actors has committed an offence in any part of Australia you’ll know about it.
Just imagine the backlash if it’s discovered that your protagonist has a record for sexual harassment, child molesting or even driving under the influence. If word gets out of such a thing, few people will bother to see the movie and you might be faced with a public boycott. In such cases, it’s best to get rid of dubious people and only hire trustworthy people with a clean record. Things are hard enough when you’re just starting out so why make them even more complicated?
Now that you have your actors it’s time for Action!