Let’s talk a little bit about casting. Casting is extremely important, but when you are doing zero budget feature filmmaking you can’t afford to hire the celebrity actors, of course. In fact, you’re limited on who you might be able to get on the local level, too. However, what I found out is that when you advertise for local actors, many times you will get those actors that are excited to be a part of a film project – any film project – and will volunteer to get a role. This is for a good reason in itself, because many of these actors have little or no experience, and to get a role on the resume is huge. That is also not to say that these actors are subpar. I have worked with some very talented actors with limited experience, who are hungry for roles, and because of such will give it their all – including research, rehearsal, and creative ideas. This is definitely a great example of people scratching each other’s backs, because without actors, no project would get made, and without film roles, no actors would get credits.

Where can you find these actors?  You can advertise on craigslist for one, but many cities have local film/video/theatre sites that are dedicated to advertising for the latest projects.  Many colleges and universities also have classified pages where you  can advertise, as well as theatre troupes, community theaters, regional arts organizations, even facebook and other social media. Ask around and seek these out.  The best of the local talent looking for work knows about these sites and peruses them frequently.

Take the time to work through the actors who audition and you will find the people you need. You will find those that are passionate and excited about the craft of acting, and perhaps your project, too. These dedicated, hungry actors will be very excited, and thus, will be responsible and will show up on time – will come early – will do all the extra work to make this role the best it can be. I will take this any day over an actor with more experience whom perhaps won’t show up on time or not at all. Sometimes (most times???) the level of commitment goes down with the level of pay – and rightly so I must agree – because these same actors (when you DO get a budget and they DO get paid) become the actors with great responsibility and dependability. But for zero budget feature filmmaking, you will have to work harder and dig deeper – par for the course – harder and more work for the same level of artistry and production value. That’s OK – the price is right.

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