First Steps - Making Your Film Project


Creating a film is something that requires an immense amount of planning and preparation. One of the most common pitfalls of new filmmakers is to not allow enough time between casting and the first shoot date. For feature films, the casting process should begin three months before your first shoot date. Casting for TV shows or commercials usually progresses quicker, and can be started closer to your first shoot date. Keep in mind that SAG requires a lot of paperwork to be filed in advance, so proper planning is crucial. You’ll need to know your production dates and budget, have your final script written, and have all LLC documents and production insurance in place in order to get SAG paperwork completed.

Before sending out any information about your casting, make sure you have a legitimate audition location secured. Announcing that auditions will be held in the living room of your apartment or your neighbor’s backyard won’t bring in many respectable actors. Hotel conference rooms and community theaters are good places to hold auditions and won’t send out red flags to actors. Colleges and universities, vocational schools, and office buildings may have spaces you can rent at a reasonable rate. Make sure your space is large enough, clean, and has easy access to water and toilets. Also consider how your actors will get there; does it have a parking lot or is it easy accessible by public transportation? All of these are important considerations for a good audition space.

You must also make sure you’ve secured enough staff to run the auditions. Along with yourself, you’ll need someone to run the camera and someone to read with the actors. It’s also a good idea to hire someone to check actors in and usher them in and out of the audition space. Make sure you have professional and reliable staff so that your casting progresses smoothly.

Once this is done, you can begin the four step casting process: announcement of the casting, auditions, callbacks, and offering of contracts.

Overall, just remember that mistakes are made and a lot of stress is created when you have to rush. Make sure you know everything you have to do and get it settled in a timely fashion. Plan enough time for each actor to audition so that your days don’t run over the allotted time. And always have a Plan B in mind and don’t assume you’ll get your first pick for an audition space or a lead actor. With proper planning comes a successful and smooth casting.


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