Casting Chaos/The Curse of Smith’s Bar.

Putting together a cast for an independent, low budget or student film is always difficult as most of the time the actors are working for little or no pay, they’re normally doing it as a favour or as a credit or film for their porfolio, possibly leading to paid work.  I wrote a film in 2009 and still today that film is not complete due to many reasons, one is constant cast changes.

We knew we wanted Gary Diggines to play the PI from the start, he proved reliable and good at acting from my project from the first unit False Reading. I contacted, he came in and read and everything was fine. He is also available on our filming date.

For the role of the femme fatale we asked a few actresses to come in to read, we weren’t 100% sure on what we were looking for and wanted some kind of choice. However I found even getting people to come in and read is difficult. Part of the casting call was being able to do a New York American accent. We had quite a few apply. We looked through the resume of one asked her to come in a read, however the day for the audition she told me she can’t do the accent and is from Poland.The next actress seemed pretty keen to do the role but on the morning had to cancel and was unable to make any future readings.

Things were getting scary and our last actress came into read. She did all the lines and didn’t actually realise she had to do an American until I asked her, but she did it and it was spot on, she seemed to completely understand the script and the femme fatale character. The only problem was she worked everyday and was also busy during evening times for the next few weeks. Looked like we were in trouble, getting people to come in to read was difficult and we’d been through a lot. She mentioned a bank holiday Monday was coming up and she was able to film then. We had to make a decision and went with this, the only problem this only gives a week to edit until the deadline but I think it’s possible if we put our heads together and crack on.

Everything is sorted for the location, photo storyboards are all complete too. We have done as much pre-production as we can for our day of filming on the bank holiday monday. The actress is even able to do her own hair, make up and costume.

Although, yesterday we hit another bump. Gary was supposed to come in and do the voice overs in the sound booth at the university. However whilst parking that morning he had a slight accident and smashed his windscreen, he had to get it sorted asap and so we cancelled the recording.  Since we are running out of time and don’t really want to waste a potential editing day after principal photography is wrapped  we decided we’ll have to record the voice overs on the day of filming, just in a quiet room with the boom mic. Although we don’t get as much control doing it this way, the boom mics record nice quality sound and will do the job just fine!

These are the kind of problems that occur in film making, especially low budget short films. Sometimes you’re lucky and things run smoothly, sometimes you’re not.


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