Recently I've been involved in casting, producing and directing some films for a corporate client. It's a great insight into all the processes that go into making any film - I'd recommend it to all actors.
I've done a lot of this work before with voiceover production, but there are so many more factors to consider in film; even something as simple as organising when stuff is going to happen becomes harder when you have to get crew and cast together on the same day.
- Voiceover? Simple, when is someone to record and someone to voice available? Spread it out over whatever time you've got and fit editing in between.
- Film? These people share a scene, these people share a location, these crew members needs to be engaged for the whole day, not an hour here and an hour there, we can't magically hop from one scene to one in another location across town, etc.
However, the most interesting aspect for me was casting. As an actor I have always appreciated the time casting professionals take to make life easier and more pleasant for their actors. This can take the form of providing information in a timely way, making the wait to be seen relaxed and comfortable, a warm welcome and a friendly manner during the casting itself or many other simple and often small gestures.
My personal favourite is an odd one in a way - because it's for when I don't get a job. I simply LOVE it when I get told I didn't get the job! Yes, I prefer the message that says I did get the job, but it's so rare to be told, "We have now cast and you weren't successful" that I always appreciated those who take the time to do this.
In the process of this recent filming work, I've spent a fair bit of time on casting and I made it a mission to personally contact each applicant, including those who didn't meet the criteria I'd set out. It was a pain in the proverbial. There were some people who had no business applying for the job I'd set out, though there were also good actors who weren't right for reasons beyond their control. For me, it was just a short amount of time and a couple of cut and paste texts to send out, but it still felt like a job I could easily have skipped.
So, I can see now, that for casting directors who deal with applicants in the hundreds (or even thousands) and multiple castings with tight deadlines, really DO have an excuse for not contacting all their applicants, or even all their auditionees to say, "Not this time!" and it means I appreciate those of you who do take the time that little bit more. And I always remember you and look forward to our next casting just that little bit more too.