The warning – everything below is based on my personal experience for this production and I firmly believe in customizing experiences and processes to achieve the best end result possible. As always this is my ramblings so please forgive any grammar or spelling errors cause I surly did not notice them.
So with the top two people per role selected I prepared to meet everyone again before making my final decision. I figured going in this wouldn’t be an easy decision but I had no idea how truly difficult it would be.
Everyone I had selected in my top two per role was an outstanding candidate who brought exactly what I was looking for to the production. There was a wealth of experience, expertise, education and all had the right attitude to give us the greatest chance for success, so picking just one per role was not going to be an easy task. I had set up my process properly and designed it around what I was looking for and I was able to move to the final selection stage with the best of the best to meet the unique requirements of this production.
A little about how I work which shaped the selection process: my management style is pretty simple and honed from years in management consulting and business ownership. I hire the best people I can, give them general guidelines offer ongoing guidance and oversight and get the hell out of their way so they are empowered to do their very best at the job I hired them to do. That being said a lot of my interview, selection and decision-making process comes down to personality and natural commitment and relies less on resume. Success in anything whether it’s a film or a sandwich shop starts with knowing your management style, hiring the right people for the job and that management style and empowering them to exercise those very skills and traits that made you hire them in the first place.
So I went into my meetings with an open mind but obviously some leanings from auditions and initial meetings and other interactions. As meetings went by I was able to start seeing my cast come together. From this highly talented and skilled pool I started to make my selections; a process which required much deliberation, and to be frank an equal amount of Jack Daniels. With my selections done I sent out the script to those I selected (this was the first time they actually got to read the script, which may be a bit unusual but I wanted them committed to the project much more than the script since they were going to get a lot of liberty to change and adjust things based on the character they create) and I waited for them to either accept the role or pass. Luckily all accepted it and I got some great comments on the script, ranging from “gave me shivers ….great writing” to “How does one human come up with all this in his head?!” to “Holy. Fuck. I spent the last 10 pages with my hands covering my mouth in suspense and disbelief. “ All great reactions and really assured me I had a great story and a great script and because of my process was able to find great actors to bring these characters to life.
THE SUCK BEGINS
Ok for the suck part: having to let awesome and talented people know they didn’t get the part, oh and to make it suck even more I really personally liked everyone of these people and look forward to working with every one of them in the future. I tried to be as kind and honest as possible and most of all I wanted them to know that this is a fluid process and there is always a possibility that cast members need to be replaced so there is always a chance I will be back in touch. That is a reality every filmmaker needs to be prepared for. Actors fall out of projects for any number of reasons all the time and for me I tie no ego to the process just the end product so while I am confident in my casting decisions I also give myself the liberty to be wrong and will correct a wrong real quick. So as we go through the table reads and rehearsals if I made a mistake along the way I will quickly make it right so that we have the best end product possible given our resources. You also never know when an actor will back out of a project, which they have the right to do so you want to keep other options open just in case. Fortunately for me I have now have a pool of people to pick from before I even have to consider another open casting call.
Ok so with everyone on board offer letters are being drawn up and schedules are being made and soon we will have our first full cast meeting and the official cast announcement should follow so stay tuned!
Make sure to follow me on twitter @abiproductions1 to keep up to date with what is going on.