Where to begin! So the day started pretty awfully with an 8am phone call from the Central Rooms booking. They said that we no longer that the room because it didn’t show up on their system that it was booked out. This was not the ideal way to be woken up. However after alerting the others of the news we all got on the ball and started to try and find other rooms that were available. Anca discovered that the Dome room was free, and so we booked it out from 12-5. This gave us plenty of time to set up the table in reception and sort the room out a little. We had a table in reception with the name ‘International Affairs’ on, and put a poster up outside the building saying ‘INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, PLEASE SIGN IN AT THE TABLE’. We thought that would get the message across loud and clear!
Setting up the table was the easy part, but getting the Dome looking any good was difficult. As the Dome was our only option, we had to make do with the horrific acoustics in the room. The holes in the wall and the huge ceiling meant that everything you said echoed a million times over. The place was also horrifically messy, but we cleared the chairs to one side and moved the table, so it looked a bit better for when the actors came in. We had a system of Shaun being on the desk and Anca and G going down to bring people up as me and Sam watched the auditions. This worked well, and I feel we all worked very well as a team. The only thing I would have done differently would have been to bring up a copy of all the names for Sam and myself to see, as I left them with Shaun. This meant we didn’t know who was auditioning and who had arrived. My bad! Will remember that for next time.
We had a few hiccups, such as when we were deciding on what the actors should read out. I had created some paragraphs of dialogue for the actors to read, which worked well. I felt they helped show the actors skills better than the script. This is because the script is mostly stage direction and not much speech. However for an audition I felt there had to be a lot of dialogue in order to truly see the actor’s capability. As well as the paragraph, if we liked the actor we got them to read a little from the script, and do some simple stage direction. Unfortunately, not as many people turned up as we were expecting. Out of the 17 “Yes” replies, it seemed that only 5 people came! This was annoying, as it means we still don’t have a Marek part (as no-one auditioned for him or looked right when we asked them to read his part). However the good thing is two people came in who were perfect for the parts of Elina and Simon! We just need to finalize our decision and contact the two actors, and then we’ve only got Marek to find!
What I liked about the two actors who portrayed Simon and Elina the best was the fact that they really understood the characters and got into the frame of mind of them. Our Elina was excellent when we asked her to audition, and the way she got emotional on cue when reading the script made for a powerful performance. The only slight downside of her auditioning was that she was somewhat different to what we pictured. Our vision of Elina was a perfect, slim, beautiful brunette girl who Simon loves. However the Elina actor that auditioned was not slim, had black hair, and had tanned skin. This could however be even better for our short, as it means that we stray away from the “conventional” TV-accepted style, and make it a true romance, where he loves her for what she is, rather than what the world tells him beautiful women should look like. This would also give the film a slight twist, and challenge people’s perception of what true love means, showing that it is not about the physical, more the emotional.
Our Simon character was great because the man who played him got his personality and facial expressions spot on. He played Simon as a nervous hopeless-romantic who fumbles to say anything for fear of being rejected. This is exactly how we pictured Simon, so hopefully he is up for accepting the part! This whole day was a fantastic learning opportunity. I’d never been behind the desk of an audition before, and know how daunting it is being the one auditioning! I found it hard not to say “Fantastic!” after each performance, even though some of the acting wasn’t up to standard. I don’t know why, I just felt like I couldn’t react badly to any of them incase they took it personally. I don’t think I’m cut out for being a brutal casting director anytime soon!
Today gave me so many pointers and skills as to how to approach something professionally and get it done. Everyone in the group did amazingly, and considering it was our first time ever doing something like this, it went very well. All the actors were very co-operative and didn’t mind waiting for a while whilst we set up the camera and lights. The offer of juice and biscuits that Sam and Anca went to buy helped the actors feel relaxed and taken care off.
There is still the last but very important part of the day… the script! We have still not decided on an ending for our short film. We are torn between Elina and Marek coming into Costcutter then leaving together saying “Goodbye” to Simon. Or, Marek comes into Costcutter looking for Elina, but Simon has not seen her. Thus showing the audience that in the end she didn’t want either of them, and decided to leave. This will empower Elina as a character and show her as a strong independent woman who is no longer controlled by Marek. This is a big discussion as to what to end on, and so far none of us are sure what one we like best. We’ll have a decision before the end of the weekend though, and will contact the successful actors on Saturday at the latest. I briefed them all on the fact that the shoot is next week and late at night, and everyone seemed happy with that, which is a relief! So for now we need to contact the actors and decide on the final script. Wish us luck!