We needed three main actors to fill the roles of the three main characters – Ted, Grace and Levis. Setting a provisional filming week was incredibly important so we gave ourselves approximately one month from start of producing to the filming dates – 18th-22nd March.
StarNow had been very reliable in the past and with continued recommendations from peers, myself and my fellow producer created a casting ad on the website. We had heard negative things about Casting Call Pro so we decided not to use that casting website; negatives including having a great deal of applications only to either a) drop out at the last minute b) not turn up at all c) poor communication. We had a very small number of applications for our ad, 3 for the role of Grace, 1 for Levis and none for Ted. This surprised us at first because we were something expecting less. One of the female applicants looked perfect (good-looking but not model-like – someone who was in the same league as the main character) so we initiated talks with her and eventually arranging to see her on a day that she was going to come to Coventry (she was from Manchester).
To find the actor for Ted we started being a bit more pro-active and manually searched on StarNow for male actors in Coventry. The thing that happened next was very surprising. My fellow producer recognised an actor who was close to his brother. That actor was beyond perfect for the role of Ted (he is small and looks very shy and timid and has potential to fill someone with no confidence). It is all about seeing the person who you think is perfect for the film at first sight – when you have no doubts. The good thing was this actor was local to Coventry and knew his way around. He also recently graduated from Coventry University in Theatre with a 1st degree so it was clear he was talented.
Cherry-picking for actors on StarNow using its ‘search’ function and getting in contact
We managed to organise a meeting with our (so far) two main actors to see what kind of personalities they had, etc. Since we did not have any people to audition we were putting our faith into this meeting hoping that these potential actors were suitable. The meeting was fantastic, my fellow writer/producer talked to them through the story and I was able to discuss logistics such as expenses and their travel arrangements. Honestly, they were great people and once we had met and talked with them we knew we could rely on them not quitting or dropping out. What I should have done at this stage is give them some contacts to sign, but due to my inexperience as a producer I did not do this. At least I know for the future that this is a very important thing to do. Nevertheless these two actors never did us bad. Since the casting ad for Levis was unsuccessful we posted up an ad on ShootingPeople for Levis (anything to avoid Casting Call Pro). Eventually I came into contact with an actor who proved very dedicated (at first) and we kept in contact. I kept in regular contact (updated in changes to the script and schedule) with all 3 main actors all the way up to the day before shooting, this was a good to keep motivations and tensions high.