Casting Revealed: A Guide for Film Directors, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Casting Revealed

A Guide for Film Directors, 2nd Edition

By Hester Schell

© 2017 – Routledge

194 pages | 14 Color Illus. | 3 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-09-07
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Description

Casting is an essential component of any film or video project, but the core skill-set needed to cast effectively is little understood. Casting Revealed: A Guide for Film Directors is a straightforward manual on the art and craft of casting. Here, director Hester Schell offers her insider perspective on casting workflows, industry standards, finding actors, running auditions, what to look for in a performance, contracts, and making offers. This new edition has been updated with fresh interviews with casting directors, full color head shots, new information about online video submissions, and a companion website featuring forms, contracts, and sample scenes for auditions.

  • Gain a fuller understanding of the misunderstood art and craft of casting actors for film and video production.

  • Learn to find the right actors for any production, run auditions, interview actors, effectively judge performances and video submissions, evaluate suitability for a role, discover what it is you need from an actor, view headshots, draft contracts, make offers, and navigate current industry standards, unions, and procedures.

  • This new edition has been updated to include full color sample head shots, new content on online video submissions, listings of casting wesbites, film resources, and film commissions and a companion website featuring interviews with celebrated casting directors from New York, Portland, Boston and Austin, necessary forms, sign-in sheets, contracts, and sample scenes for auditions.

Reviews

"I wish I had Hester’s book when I first started in Hollywood. It would have saved me a lot of heartache because it spells-out in clear and concise language the necessary tools for successful casting every filmmaker needs to know. Reading this book reminded me of how much the Academy needs to award an Oscar® for casting directors. Because casting is an art form, and Hester’s book is the best I’ve read on demystifying the process."

—Jon James Miller, producer, Pooka Productions/Gravity-Squared Entertainment

"While nothing can replace the benefits of hiring an experienced casting director, this book has some great insights for beginning filmmakers."

—Lana Veenker CSA & Eryn Goodman CSA, Cast Iron Studios: Wild, NBC/Grimm, Twilight

"Hester, I have to compliment you on taking on this mystery of a job and making it so enjoyably clear as to what we do as a process and how we take young people who are interested in filmmaking - who don’t understand the first thing about how the casting process is done - making it enjoyable to read and very informative of how this works and how they can use their time and their effort and money to the best of their ability… to get good talent."

—Carolyn Pickman, CP Casting, Boston: Mystic Pizza, Black Mass, Straight Outta Compton, Gone Baby Gone

"Expect an informative lesson on the rules of the game, with strict outlines from every phase of production. Whip out your pens and highlighters and start jotting down notes, because this will surely be on the desks of up-and-coming writers, actors and directors for years to come."

—Kyle Rupprecht, MovieMaker Magazine, on the first edition of Casting Revealed

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: SAVE MONEY — DO IT YOURSELF: DIY

INDEPENDENT FILM AND MARKET SHARE

HOW THIS BOOK WILL SAVE YOU MONEY

Do It Yourself

Collaborate Or Die

Anyone Can Make A Movie

Yes, But Is It Worth Watching?

Why So Many Films Don’t Make The Film Festivals

Raise Your Standards

All About Editing

Inexperience Costs More Money

The Best Actors Are The Right Actors

TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGES EVERYTHING

Prescreening Footage

The Headshot Submission Process Has Gone Green

SAVING MONEY RECAP

CHAPTER TWO: YOUR DIRECTING CAREER

BETTER CASTING IMPACTS YOUR LONG-RANGE CAREERGOALS

Shorts Are Your Stepping Stone

WHERE TO CONNECT WITH ACTORS

BREAKINGBARRIERS: HOW TO TALK TO ACTORS

Blame the Media

CHAPTER THREE: AN OVERVIEW OF THE CASTING PROCESS

WHY DIY: Do It Yourself

CASTING DEFINED

Principal

Background

WHAT ARE YOU CASTING

Professional Language

Preliminary Considerations

Families And Lovers

CASTING IS

Principal, Background Casting

TYPES OF AUDITIONS

Open Calls

Appointments: Script Readings, Cold Readings And Improvisation

Callbacks

CASTING STANDARDS

Keeping It Professional And Confidential

Never Settle

Actor Are Looking For You As Well

Agents Are Looking For Projects For Their Clients

Los Angeles And New York: United States Casting Centers

CASTING IS NOT

A Party

About Your Ego: Get Over Yourself

TO UNION OR NOT

Thoroughly Evaluate Your Decision

One Member Makes A Union Shoot

Experience Gets More Done

The Less Experience The Longer Your Day

Questions For Discussion

WHEN TO START

What Do Actors Look For When They Read Your Audition Announcement

Plan Ahead To Stay Ahead

WHAT YOU NEED TO START

You Need A Script

You Need "Sides"

Know The Window Of Time You Plan To Shoot

You’re Going To Need A Place To Hold Your Auditions

You Need Your SAG Paperwork Done

Reality Check

 

CHAPTER FOUR: INDUSTRY STANDARDS

ACTOR MARKETING MATERIALS

Cover Letter

Headshots

What Makes A Good Headshot?

Headshot Samples

Resumes

Reels

Video Submissions

Warning Signs Of The Less Experienced

WHY LOOK FOR THESE STANDARDS?

 

CHAPTER FIVE: ACTING — WHAT IS IT?

Acting Defined

The Actor’s Toolbox

Approaches To Craft

SCRIPT ANALYSIS: If It Ain’t On The Page, It Ain’t On The Stage

Given Circumstances

The Moment Before

What’s My Motivation?

GO FURTHER: Who do you like?

GO FURTHER: Character types

GO FURTHER: Character type attributes

ACTING 101 FOR DIRECTORS

How You Feel Is A Result Of What You Do

The Magic Verb

Understanding The Craft: Where To Go For Help

CHAPTER SIX: TIMELINES —

WHEN TO START AND WHAT TO DO BEFORE JUMPING IN

ANNOUNCEMENTS, AUDITIONS, CALLBACKS AND CONTRACTS

WHERE TO HOLD AUDITIONS

Keeping it Professional: 1st Impressions Count

THE CASTING TIMELINE EXPLAINED –

SCHEDULES: WORKING BACKWARDS

Two Weeks From First Shoot Date: Rehearsals

One Month From First Shoot Date: Contracts

Six Weeks From First Shoot Date: Callbacks

Two Months From First Shoot Date: Auditions

Ten Weeks From First Shoot Date: Distributing Audition Information.

Three Months From First Shoot Date: Preproduction Breakdown

The Producer Is There To Help You

Union Preparation Recap

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE CASTING BREAKDOWN — SPREADING THE WORD

BREAKDOWN ELEMENTS

SAMPLE BREAKDOWNS

BREAKDOWN DISTRIBUTION

National

Local Or Regional

Social Networking

Flyers: Other Places To Put Your Breakdown

Press Releases

Physical Geography

International And Regional Web Site Distribution

CONTACTING AGENTS

Who Represents Whom

CHAPTER EIGHT: STAYING ORGANIZED

WORKFLOW

Who Follows Instructions

Turn On Your "Flake Radar"

MANAGING FILES

Confirming Auditions

Sample Initial Contact 1: SET APPOINTMENT

Sample Initial Contact 2: SELF (VIDEO) SUBMISSION

HANDLING REJECTIONS

OTHER FILES

Creating Script Sides From Your Screenplay

Sign-In Sheets

MASTER SPREADSHEET

CHAPTER NINE:

THE FIRST ROUND — WHAT YOU NEED AND WHERE YOU NEED IT

 

PREPARATIONSANDPROCEDURES

Provide Scripts In Advance

Make A Schedule

Setting Up

Allow Enough Time For Each Actor

Information Form

Keep Secrets

HOW MANYACTORS DO I SEE FOR EACH ROLE?

WHO DO I CAST FIRST?

Cast Your Leading Actors First

Supporting Actors

Background Extras

INSIDE THE SESSION

Controlling The Room

Casting Sessions Are Job Interviews

Casting Sessions Are Private

Memorized Sides

Using A Reader

Recording The Casting Session

Adjustments And Direction When You Have Something To Say

MORE BASIC DO’S AND DON’TS

Do Expect Actors To Be Prepared And On Time

Do Expect Actors To Arrive With A Headshot And Resume

Nudity, Scars And Tattoos

Don’t Ask Actors To Sign A Release Form For Audition Footage

Keep Track

Keep An Open Mind To All Potential And Opportunity

Ending The Session

Sorting The Session: Do You Need More Options?

 

CHAPTER TEN: THE SECOND ROUND — CALLBACKS

CONFIRMING YOUR CHOICES

CALL BACK FOR SURE

CALL BACK MAYBE

NOT GETTING A CALLBACK

CALL BACK PROCEDURES

Set Call Back Appointments

Test Your Communication And Directing Approach

Put On Your "Poker Face."

Sleep On Your Decisions

CHAPTER ELEVEN: OFFERS AND CONTRACTS

THE OFFER AND THE ART OF NEGOTIATION

UNPAID PROJECTS

PAID PROJECTS (Union or Not)

CONTRACT: Get it in Writing

UNION CONTRACTS

LOCAL HIRES ONLY

STATE PRODUCTION INCENTIVES

A Word from the SAG-AFTRA Office

 

CHAPTER TWELVE: DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT —

FRIENDS CHIME IN

FAST, CHEAP, GOOD—PICK TWO.

A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS

Actors Do A Shout Out

Directors Do A Shout Out

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: CASTING DIRECTORS —

DO YOU NEED ONE?

The Job Defined: Potential Meets Opportunity

Types Of Casting Directors

The Interview And Checking Credentials.

Job Tasks And Responsibilities: What Will They Do For You?

When In Doubt: Hire A Professional

What’s It Going To Cost?

Other Resources

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: SO YOU WANT TO BE A CASTING DIRECTOR

LOVING ACTORS

OUTREACH AND MARKETING

Industry Connections

Getting Started

INTERVIEWS

Michael Druck, Austin, Texas

Ken Lazer, New York City, New York

Sarah Kliban, San Francisco, California

 

GLOSSARY OF COMMON FILM TERMS

THE PARTS OF SPEECH: Just For Fun

VERBS

NOUNS

COMPOUNDWORDS

FINANCIAL TERMS

COMMON PHRASES

 

WEB RESOURCES

NOTES, BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RESOURCES

 

RECOMMENDED READING

 

SAMPLE COURSE OUTLINE / SYLLABUS

 

INDEX

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

FAN MAIL

About the Author

Hester Schell is a recovering academic, award-winning director, master acting teacher and author. Hester has been either in front of the camera or part of a crew, on stage or directing for over 45 years. The first feature she acted in, shot in Portland, Oregon, won an Oscar™. Hester took a side-trip into academia, graduating highest honors with a Master of Fine Arts in directing and landing a tenured position teaching theatre and film at a California college. She has a column at SCRIPTMAG.com and her articles have appeared in CineSource, Movie Maker Magazine and Coastviews Magazine. Schell is a contributing writer to Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson’s NOW WRITE: Writing Exercises from Top Writers and Teachers, 2010, Tarcher/Penguin, and HOW TO BE A WORKING ACTOR, 5th Edition, 2010, Watson/Guptill Publication. She’s a member of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Harvard Square Screen Writers. Speaking engagements include London’s British Film Institute, Burbank’s The Writer’s Store, Drama Books in New York, Connecticut Screenwriters Association, and the San Francisco Black-American Film Festival. For more information, find Hester Schell at IMDb.com, the Internet Movie Database, or hesterschellcreative.com. Hester is available for workshops and seminars on a variety of topics, and is interested in hearing from producers and writers with comedies. She is finishing a novel and working on several scripts with roles for middle aged and senior women.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PER004010
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Direction & Production