On Thursday, I was auditioning teenagers for the role of Freddy, the central character in my short film (note: he's not the protagonist but he is the heart of the story). It's a particularly tricky but exciting part because Freddy doesn't have any dialogue but he expresses everything by NOT speaking, and reveals more emotionally with what he's trying to hide.
It was the first time I led a casting session. Initially, I was unsure how to audition the actors, and what to get them to do. I decided to improvise a scene within the context of the story but is not actually in the film. That way, I could get the actor to use whatever dialogue he thought relevant (in a Freddy fashion) and then I could direct them for the second take to remove all dialogue, and keep the responses to shrugs, glances, pauses, silences, avoiding eye contact etc. It turned out to be a good approach, and the actors seemed to dig it. I saw about a dozen teenagers, all with varying acting abilities and performances.
Fascinating stuff, and hugely enjoyable. There were a couple who didn't quite perform but would look good as Freddy, while there were a couple who were excellent but may be a little too old, or tall, for the part. Hmm, decisions, decisions.
I do have one actor lined up for the role of Jimmy, Freddy's father (for those of you who are familiar with the script). I won't say his name just yet but he's a terrific actor, he's on TV all the time (clue: he's been in Robin Hood recently) and I've been a fan for years. In fact, I always imagined him for the role when I was writing the script, so for him to say 'Yes' is just amazing. I'll wait until I have Claire, the mother, cast before I reveal who the actors are but that should come together next week. I start shooting on Thursday 26th, after all.
Ben, my amazing line-producer, has managed to set up a production office in the heart of Soho (wahey!) so I'll be there for most of next week as meetings, locations, crew, cast are all finalised. Then, squeeze in a day of rehearsal, and, um, start filming. Whee!