Wednesday, October 31, 2012
An Open Letter to Student Filmmakers
You are all so beautiful and eager. You can’t wait to get out of the classroom and start making your films. You’re excited to find actors to bring your vision to life. You can already picture the thunderous applause at your Academy Award qualification screening.
As an actor who has auditioned for and worked on many student films, I applaud your enthusiasm. You are the next generation of filmmakers and yes, many of you will go on to be Oscar nominees.
So with all due respect, here are a few things you really need to hear --
1) Don’t make us drive out of town to audition.
Ensure the largest talent pool for your auditions by holding them in town. In Los Angeles, CAZT is free for producers and Space Station is affordable as well. You can also hold auditions via Skype or invite actors to put themselves on tape. Come to us and we’ll come to you.
2) Tell us where we’re going.
And for goodness sake, put a sign on the door that says “Auditions Are Here!”
3) Be clear about what you want to see in the audition.
Oh, and if the role is for a non-dialogue film, don’t give us five pages of dialogue from Sleepless in Seattle for the audition because you think it’s a similar character. You’ll just get a Meg Ryan impression that is unlikely to help you cast your role. Plus we think it’s weird. And monologues? Nooooo...
4) Respect the relationship between actor and student filmmaker.
Christopher describes it as a symbiotic relationship. We need each other. I know you think your short film will be the next THX 1138, but you’re not doing us a favor by allowing us to be in your masterpiece. Understand and appreciate that we’re taking time and energy out of our lives to work on your project for free. Respect us and you’ll earn our respect.
And perhaps the most important thing student filmmakers need to learn about working with professional actors --
5) Say “thank you” as often as possible.
Thanks for listening. We’ll see you at the audition for your next film!