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Old 04-04-2011, 08:45 PM   #1
Robcbh
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When actors drop out 4 days before shoot time....

I was in contact met with an actor that seemed like a cool guy was willing to work with me then bam day after we met hes out, he has some prior engagement he had forgotten about. Does this happen all the time or did i have a shitty pitch or something. To be clear this kid saw everything before hand as far as script and such. So now 4 days before filming and im back at square one. I have put ina ton of work and the filming WILL happen, its just a moral blow.

Last edited by Robcbh; 04-05-2011 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:02 PM   #2
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It happens.

The show must go on!
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:11 PM   #3
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Let me ask.... was the role a paid one?

Look I get how everyone is trying to save money. I am on a budget too. But if I have to make a decision about paying bills and doing something for free, can you guess my decision?

Yes, this is cold and impersonal, despite my own personal feelings, if I have to choose between a job that is going to pay me to help me make rent, and in another in a project that cannot pay me anything more than some pizza, sorry, I have to look after my well being. Guess what choice I will make? And that is where the cold facts come into place. I do try to avoid auditioning for conflicting roles, but it does occasionally come up. But as soon as I hear something I relay that info to the director of the non-paying gig. That is what really sucks about not having a budget for talent. But if both roles are paying, regardless of amount, the first one cast is priority. Heck even if it was just $20 bucks or gas money.

And in the future, I would always make sure to factor that aspect in. Hey, actors have to live too.

I guess the best analogy is: You have two competing gigs as a "fill in the blank". One is paying, the other is not. You have bills to pay. Which one do you choose? Unfortunately business and art do collide sometimes. Sure we can have an altruistic view of it, and claim it is strictly the art that rules.

But many artists also look at what they do as a source of income as well. No, they didn't sell out. They are scrambling to make ends meet, like all the rest of us. You can't begrudge an actor for choosing not to have to eat Top Ramen for a week, over maybe something better.

Look, you got 4 days notice. It is better than just not showing up. But before you judge them too harshly, maybe you ask if you truly know the situation they were in.

Last edited by Indie-Arms; 04-06-2011 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:19 PM   #4
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I'm an optimist and a producer, at this financial level - that gives you 3 days more to recast than most actors that have left me high and dry gave me... they just failed to show up, even after reminder calls the day before that rendered positive responses.

Take that time to recast and don't call them for the next projects. This is when you find out who works with you and can be trusted to show dedication.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:37 PM   #5
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Like Steve said, it happens. It sucks, but it's just something us low-budget guys have to deal with.

I once had a lead actress drop out 15 minutes before shooting was to begin. I couldn't re-cast. It completely killed the project. This was a friend from work -- a waitress, aspiring actress. We couldn't stop talking about the project, everybody was excited about it. She had the script (and read it) well in advance of the shoot. But then, at the very last second, she got cold feet, claiming that the script was too offensive for her tastes (it was a raunchy comedy, with some low-brow sexual humor). I can't fault her for taking a moral stand, but her timing could've been better.

I no longer work with just anybody that will fit the role. I now only work with people that I know I can trust, based on recommendations/references. I got to this point by having the good fortune of working with a dude who was both talented and dependable. I thought to myself, I'll bet you his actor-friends are also talented and dependable. He introduced me to his friends. And his friends' friends introduced me to their friends, and it's true what they say -- Birds of a Feather Flock Together.

The same way that Hollywood directors often pair up with a particular DP, or editor, or composer, I think it can be very beneficial, at the low-budget level, to pair up with a particular actor or actress. Find one that you can really trust, and let them introduce you to their friends.
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:34 AM   #6
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robcbh View Post
Does this happen all the time or did i have a shitty pitch or something. To be clear this kid saw everything before hand as far as script and such.
This happens often.

It might have been your pitch. It might have been he saw everything
before hand and decided he was no longer interested, he may never
have been interested but said he was, it might be he loved your
project but realized it was more than he could handle, it might have
been a prior engagement he had forgotten about. It is less likely to
happen when it's a paying job - but even then, it happens.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:09 PM   #7
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That's why I no longer cast one actor for any role and I am refining my system for backup actors. I cast leads for more than one role.

With low/no budget casting, most of the actors coming your way will be untrained. lacking with the ability to act, spreading themselves too thin, and are down right flakes. This past Sunday, I had 7 actresses coming in for one role. Four flaked from the night before right up to less than an hour before.

For the 3 that showed, one is fresh out of school and rusty with her stunts. She needed coaching with her reading, but got better. The second just isn't cut out for acting and has no range of emotions. The third was BRILLIANT and aced and double audition. She audtioned for 2 roles and was brilliant with both and is very interested in working in my production. So, she's in. This coming Sunday 2 others are coming in to audition for her bigger role. I told her what was going on. She asked me to let her know what she would have to do to top them to retain her front runner status.

Always cast more than one actor for any role. You never know.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modern Day Myth Prod. LLC View Post

Always cast more than one actor for any role. You never know.
I'm still, even after seeing a previous thread of yours on the same subject, not fully understanding your definition of "Cast".

When you say, you "cast" more than one person for each role, are you telling the actors that they have the role, or are you mistaking casting for "Shortlist"? (I have a feeling it's more along the lines of an "Understudy")

Merely because, for me, it doesn't instill the greatest sense of trust in your talent, or the capabilities of the Director to run the project successfully. If i was an Actor, and you where to tell me that I have the role, but, due to previous occurrences that two others are also close at hand to take my place at the drop of a hat, i wouldn't feel confident in the stability of the project. That's not job security. It wouldn't feel as though it was my role.

I have a feeling you mean to say that you have two other folk, that where second and third in auditioning, and that you have kept their details, and spoken of the mere possibility that your number one should drop out.

Last edited by Papertwinproductions; 04-05-2011 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:00 PM   #9
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You can call it a short list. By the time we are ready to shoot, more will drop out. With all of the money invested in the production, the show must go on. Actors dropout for various reasons. I am working to prevent have to use a crew member as an actor again.

What I'm doing this time requires too much training to pull someone off the street or th crew the day of a shoot.

Also, the actress who aced both auditions has training in multiple forms of martial arts, stage fighting, and weapons and she obviously is in current practice with them. She is a character actress who will change her appearance and personality for a role. She has a collection of wigs, contact lens, body enhancements, and costumes for the goth, horror, and science fiction roles in her collection.

My production was designed to make actors interchangable with actors and stunt dummies. We can also swap out our better stunt people for a novice because they are dressed identical and wigs are available for the stunt dummies and actors too.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:13 PM   #10
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I'll say this: for an unpaid production, 4 days notice is really not that bad. It's a difficult one but the life of a jobbing actor or actress is tough and you've got to do what you can, when you can. It's always annoying from the point of view of the director or producer but I can understand why it happens so often...

To address the point about 'casting' more than one actor for a role: For me that's a big 'no no'.

I'm assuming that I'm still misunderstanding you but you have to cast one actor for one role. If you want some insurance then cast similar actors in smaller roles so that if your leads drop out you can 'promote' then- this should also apply with stunt work. But you certainly shouldn't cast more than one person in a role that will ultimately only be performed by one of them. As I said above being a jobbing actor is hard enough without the frustration of having producers giving and taking away jobs and time just to make their lives easier...
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:19 PM   #11
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I agree.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:27 PM   #12
Robcbh
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Yeah i suppose 4 days isnt THAT short of notice but its part of a competition and we only have a week to film it (starting tomorrow). He did say he was till interested in working on it so ive been trying to figure out a schedual he can work around. Finding actors has been the most difficult aspect of the process thus far, thats where my frustration is rooted, but thanks for the perspective.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:55 PM   #13
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robcbh View Post
Finding actors has been the most difficult aspect of the process thus far, thats where my frustration is rooted,
We have all been there. Finding dedicated actors who have not only
the free time you need but the talent is one of the most difficult
aspects of making a movie. Especially when you have a schedule you
cannot change.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:52 PM   #14
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I can sympathize with your frustration, my last project had two great voice actors bow out of a role (which I ended up voicing myself)... you can't really be too hard on volunteers though, they have every right to do so. We're all human, never forget that.

All I can say is don't always wait for people to come to you when casting auditions, go out there and find people too. I'm pretty sure there are people out there who don't go to auditions yet are talented actors... give them their chance to step up to the plate. You have very little to lose.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:21 AM   #15
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Just like a location you ALWAYS need a plan B, and probably even a plan C.

I do pay my "lead" actors (not much $50 or $100 a day) just because it reduces (but does not eliminate) this problem.
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