By Hilary Dorst
While making my short films during film school, I had the fortune of having actors and crew available for me to work with. Once I got into the internship with The Initiative Production Company, I had to go outside of the school. Which lead me to the dilemma of “Where do I find people to work on my film?”
I did have a couple of people for crew, but I did not have any access to actors. The most helpful resource I found was a website called Star Now. It is a worldwide web database of actors, models, dancers, and crew. Signing up is free, as is listing yourself and jobs. It’s a great way to cast and crew a film, especially if you don’t know a lot of people in the area you are filming.
For this demonstration I am going to be casting a short film. I need to have the script, story, and characters needed before I start the listing.
Signing up is straightforward, it’s just like signing up for a new email address or social media site. What I want to go into is how to list the job. It is pretty easy to follow, but the more prepared you are to answer the questions the better your listing will be.
Step 1: Get to the Listing.
At the top of your home page, by the envelope icon, are the words “list a job”. You click on that to go to the first page of information you need to provide.
Step 2: Put It In a Box
Now you are ready to categorize your project. Click on Choose a Category. As you can see below there are all sorts of jobs you can send out a listing for. I want two lead actors, so I will click on “Actors & Extras Wanted”.
Now I need a subcategory to clarify what the job is for. I want to cast for a short film. So I click on that and then I click on “Let’s Get Started!”
The reason for categories and subcategories is to give you a template of questions and information to fill out tailored to what you are hiring for. If you want crew, the questions and information required would be different.
Step 3: Show Me the Details
As you can see above, they have added your categories for you to the Listing Details page. The key here is your headline. As it is going to be a student film, I need to make sure I put that clearly where it will be seen.
Remember that anything with a red star requires an answer or description as specified. I always list the phone number and photo as required, especially the phone number. Messages via Star Now aren’t always seen in a timely manner by yourself or the actors. The audition location is wherever you are holding the audition, since I am in Brisbane that is how mine will look.
Keep the project description short and spoiler free yet interesting. I went with the plot more for the example. They can get more information later, you just want to draw actors to your project.
Click on the green next button to go to the next step.
Step 4: What Do You Want From Me?
Now you can add your roles. It allows you to enter one role you are hiring for at a time. Above is the initial important information for the role. If age is irrelevant, then give yourself a wide range on that one. I need a young man, so I went for 20 to 25 years old.
Role requirements can be as narrow or as wide as you want them. As you can see I wanted someone with more experience for the lead role and speaks English. If the roles were supposed to be set in the US I would put American for accents. This is followed by a lot of optional physical attributes. I choose not to use them as it can limit some great actors who would be right for the role. Below is an example of this.
Click next once again.
Step 5: Summarize Me
Here we have the summary of the male role I entered. If I need to make corrections, I do so by using the edit role button at the top of the page on your right, directly across from where it says “Lead Male”.
As I am also casting the lead female, I click on add another role and do the same as step 4 for the female’s role. When I am done that I click next. Don’t click next until you have entered all roles you are casting for.
Step 6: Extra, Extra!
End date is the end of the listing. You don’t want to put it too close to production, as you need time to rehearse, but too short of a time frame for the listing won’t give you many people to choose from. For a short film I like to give it a week for the listing. You can hold the auditions at any time and you can also close the listing if the role is filled before the end date. Don’t feel like the end date is the day people have to be auditioned on.
For the project I want only Queensland actors to apply, as that is where I am in school.
Since it is a student film, I listed the film school. Some actors have worked with us before so they know already a bit of what it is like to work with us. The important part here is that it is unpaid. This needs to be clear to avoid confusion. You can even put it in your project description. After this, hit the green button once again.
Step 7: We Need to See Your Notifications
I use the email I signed up for Star Now with and I only want daily emails for the demonstration. This avoids constant notifications as well as filling up the inbox with application emails when you are busy on the school. I use that more for when casting extras though as there are more applicants to choose from.
Step 8: You Choose
I scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “skip this step”. It is only if you want to pay to have your post boosted. As a student, I choose not to and it isn’t required.
Step 9: So, We’re Ok Now?
Now you just go over the information, make sure there are no errors in spelling and grammar.
If your information is all correct then hit that green button that says “Run my casting call”. If not, then click on the edit button, fix the errors, and click next until you are back to the confirmation page.
Congratulations! You have just listed your film!! Take a breath, and check on it over the course of the day. Soon you will have you cast and you will be on your way to making your film.