Monday, November 29, 2010

Ramblings on Casting, Auditions & Working with a Family

It's Casting Week here at Elgin Road!  Which means, we're holding auditions in Victoria & Vancouver - a feat in and of itself.

According to the ACTRA low budget union agreements, we're supposed to shoot in a location where the actors can return home every night - which means, we either can't hire actors from Vancouver & shoot in Victoria, or we can't hire Victoria actors and shoot in Vancouver.

Or option C: we don't sign with the union.  We had planned to just rent a house with a garage (since our film is set in 1 location - "Locked in a Garage Band" - get it?), and accommodate all our traveling actors in the location for the 2 week shoot, but now we have to rethink that plan.  If we go union. 

Oh and one more strike against going with the  union is that we can't hire any non-Canadian actors.  So, if an actor from Seattle comes up to Vancouver & nails the audition, we can't hire them.  If we go union.

Or, we could just say, "&&^$ it! We're doing our own thing!"

Which is much more our style anyway.  We won't be shooting ridiculously long days.  Jen has 3 kids, ages 8, 4 and 1 so there's no 12-15 hour days happening on our shoot - she hardly gets any sleep as it is!  Plus, we're not A-holes.  We treat people really well, feed them great food and are doing this movie for fun so, hopefully everyone will enjoy working on the set and not complaining that we're dickheads for not going union.

The only down side is that great, experienced, union actors want to audition and they can't if we don't sign.

Ugh. Big decision folks.

So, what else is happening?

Oh yeah - all these resumes & headshots are pouring in.  It's absolutely amazing to see how many incredibly talented people want to work with us.  There are a tonne of musically inclined actors applying because of the garage band theme, and I have to admit - I'm kind of intimidated by their resumes.  But maybe they won't be nearly as cool in person?  Some are sending in You Tube video clips, which are really great.  Most of the time.  Some are random - of course. It wouldn't be an open casting call without some randoms right?

We've been shooting funny videos on Jen's Nikon D90 all night to test it out & see if we can use it to shoot auditions this weekend.  It only runs for 20 minutes at a time, but so far it's holding up really well.  The auditions are planned for 8 minutes each, with a 2 minute break between each actor for Jen & our amazing Casting Director to take notes, discuss quickly and reset the camera.

Jen's kids are super-hyper about being on camera, which we mistakenly did right before bed-time, so I type while Jen & her hubby try to get the kids wound down & ready for bed.  They love their routines and tonight was definitely not a normal night in the living room.

Seriously, how are we going to shoot a movie without dirsupting their family routines too much?  The kids are in bed by 7pm.  

The joys of casting, auditions & working with a busy family.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Casting Call - Locked in a Garage Band

Can't believe we've already put out the call for actors for our little feature film.  I've already received 80 CVs and headshots, and it's only been 24 hours.  Some are seriously random, but most look really amazing.  I guess that's what happens in an open casting call right? 

And now we have our first scheduling conflict - I've announced the audition dates on a tonne of sites, and now...I might have to schedule them for one week later.   But I'll sleep on it and see if somehow by the time I wake up, it will have sorted itself.  C'mon universe - make it easy will ya?

We also have actor-friends in LA, Austin and London, England who want to audition virtually, which I really want to figure out how to do.  Surely, others have held Skype auditions in the past? 

Here's the casting call:

'Locked in a Garage Band'

Elgin Road Production Company is casting Locked in a Garage Band, a non-union micro-budget feature film in which a garage band is inadvertently locked in a garage for a day. 10-12 day shoot on the Red Camera scheduled to start mid-Apr 2011 (paid).

A teaser/trailer is being shot on Dec. 11th 2010 in Victoria or Vancouver (TBA) - - Meals/transportation provided.

Auditions in Victoria on Dec. 2nd and Vancouver on Dec 4th & 5th. Read on for details.

Seeking—Richie: 18-20, Lead Guitarist (with some musical skill, but not necessary), very good looking, any ethnicity, manipulative, ladies man.

Scott: 18-20: Lead Singer (less than 20 seconds of actual singing involved), any ethnicity.

Jason Schinder: 18-20, Drummer (again, very little actual drumming involved), Jewish, comedic actor, our comic relief.

Abby: 18-20, good girl, wants to be the lead singer (should be comfortable singing), any ethnicity.

Meadow: 18-20, rebellious, edgy. Guitarist (again, very little actual strumming), any ethnicity.

Laura-Kate: Goodie two shoes, daddy's girl, preppy, any ethnicity.

Send pix, résumés, and email address no later than November 30th, 2010. Successful candidates will be sent sides and details about their audition dates/times via email on or before Dec. 1st, 2010.

Food & Transportation provided for Teaser/Trailer, & 10-12 day feature film shoot is paid.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Films & Filmmakers I loved at Austin Film Festival 2010

The Austin Film Festival was amazing, as we all knew it would be.  Here are a few of the flicks I managed to catch and my two cents on why I loved them.  I'm no film reviewer, but figured you might want to hear my brief thoughts on each movie I managed to catch.

I'm sure you've heard the hype.  It's all true. It's awesome.  Go see it.  You'll see what I mean.  Natalie Portman shocked me at how frikkin' amazing she was in the role.    It was well worth the long lineup down the street to see Black Swan.

Made in Dagenham - so funny!  I saw this directly following Black Swan, and it was such a lighthearted treat to watch.

Sons of Perdition is a documentary about three boys that leave their polygamous compounds and head out into the world.  Fascinating stuff, very well done.

Okay I'm not a big Monopoly player, but I met the filmmaker and he's a cool guy so I had to go and see his movie.  This doc was a surprisingly sweet movie, and reminded me of the documentary about the kids who go to the National Spelling Bee Championships.  What was that one called again?  Anyway, it was very sweet.  Go and see this doc if you can find it!

This movie was AWESOME.  Seriously, funny movie in a Shaun of the Dead way .  We saw it at the Alamo Ritz, which deserves a post all to itself. 

Mark Potts is a really great guy, so I went to see his film but it was sold out.  Which was pretty sweet for a student film!  He gave me a DVD afterwards so my sister & I watched it when we returned from Austin.  I saw Mark speak on a couple of the panels at AFF and he has some good DIY stuff to say for indie-filmmakers.  I like his "just do it!" approach to filmmaking.  My favourite Mark Potts quote from the panels was his response to the "how did you get your budget?" question - which was simply "Student loans."  Spot on.  The movie is cute, well worth a watch.  Reminded me of Trailer Park Boys.

My sister & I saw A Savior Red on opening night because we really liked the filmmakers.  I especially enjoyed chatting with them daily at the Driskill Pub.  It's definitely an intense flick with a soundtrack that matches the tone really well.  I can see these guys doing really well.

I missed all of Ed Burns' talks, which frankly, was very lame of me!  But my reasoning was that I kept meeting all these cool filmmakers at the Driskill and if they asked me to see their movies, I just had to go & support them & their projects.  Next year, I'll make sure that I set myself some clear objectives so that I don't miss anything I really want to see. 

I met some amazing people at AFF and can't wait to return next year, hopefully with our movie being shown.  That would be very cool.  Watch this space for more news on how our feature film is coming along.  My head is swimming in legal-speak of pre-production, but we're about to shoot our teaser.  I'm stoked to say the least!

What about you?  Any films I should see that you recommend?  I'm particularly interested in independent films, but of course I will take all recommendations.  Thanks!