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The Director’s Chair Issue #125 – December 12, 2011 (Directing the Audition)

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December 12, 2011                Scene 12 – Take 12

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Website: http://actioncutprint.com
Blog: http://filmdirectingtips.com


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1. Introduction
2. Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. NEW: Join me for a Live Online Filmmaking Chat
4. Social Media Contact Information
5. FEATURE ARTICLE: Directing the Audition
6. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
7. The Modern Moviemaking Movement
8. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
9. Filmmaking Links of Interest
10. Independent Filmmakers Discussion Forum
11. Blog – Film Directing Tips
12. Filmmaking Workshops
13. Product Promotion and Film Workshops
14. Suggestions and Comments
15. Copyright Information

1. Introduction

Welcome to Issue #125 of The Director’s Chair Dec. 12, 2011

1) Feature Article – The feature article this month is called:
Directing the Audition. “Casting is the bottleneck of the
film industry. It’s a place where both sides of the table have
only a few minutes to make choices – choices that can affect
all of our careers.” (Read full article below.)

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Peter D. Marshall

2. Two Bonuses For Subscribing To The Director’s Chair

Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.

BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download Day One (30 pages) of
“The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 26 pages of
the “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course.”

3. NEW: Join me for a Live Online Filmmaking Chat

I have started hosting a series of Live Online Chats. Each
chat session will focus on one specific filmmaking topic.

To find out when the next Live Chat will be, check my website
at http://actioncutprint.com. Look at the bottom right of the
page and you will see a blue bar that will say “Live Chat
(Date & Time TBC)”.

I will also send you a notification email before each session
along with the topic for that evening.

I have also created a Live Online Chat Discussion Forum where
you can ask questions and post relevant links:

Check out the notification from a previous Live Online Chat
session with the topic “Casting Actors.” http://bit.ly/rR1Prs

4. Social Media Contact Information

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broader network of professionals. Here is my LinkedIn profile
page: http://www.linkedin.com/in/peterdmarshall

5. FEATURE ARTICLE: Directing the Audition

Casting is the “bottleneck” of the film industry. It’s a place
where both sides of the table have only a few minutes to make
choices – choices that can affect all of our careers.

The Casting session (the “audition”) can be a terrifying place
for any actor. It takes a lot of guts to walk into a small,
windowless room and have 5 – 10 minutes to “show your stuff”
in front of complete strangers.

But it’s just as tough for the Director as well! How can we
correctly decide, in less than 10 minutes, who is right for a
particular part?

Actors, by the very nature of their profession, need to be
vulnerable in order to express their deepest emotions.
Remember to treat all actors with the utmost of respect – just
like your crew and the general public.

Also, please make sure the Reader is either an actor or at
least someone who will put an effort into reading the scene
with emotion. This will help the actor during their audition
and also give you a better idea of the actor’s abilities.

NOTE: Casting sessions are not just to pick actors for a role
they are also a very useful way to improve your script. When
you listen to actors performing a scene in the script, you get
a real feel for the words and how they flow when different
actors read the same scenes.

You can see (or hear) what works and what doesn’t. It’s from
the casting session that many of your script changes will

(1) The Audition (Casting Session)

1. Actors should be scheduled every 10 minutes, but some
auditions will be shorter or longer depending on the director.

2. When the actor comes into the room, there is usually a
cameraperson, the reader, the director, the casting director
and producers.

3. Before the actor begins, the cameraperson records their
name, the role they are reading for and their agency.

4. The director asks them if they have any questions. He
should then show them the area of the room where they can
freely move around.

5. The camera starts and the director calls action for the
first take.

6. The director makes an adjustment (change of objective) with
the actor.

7. The camera starts and the director calls action for the
second take.

8. The director thanks the actor. The casting director tells
them they will be contacted if there is a callback. When the
actor leaves the room, the director and producers make their

9. The next actor is brought in and the process repeats.

10. At the end of the casting session, the director, casting
director and producers compare notes and decide on a short
list for the first callback session. For this first callback
session, the director will usually want 3 – 4 actors to come
back for each role.

(2) Reviewing Auditions

The most important thing to remember when auditioning actors,
is to “Cast for performance first, and look second.”

Whether you review the auditions just from your notes or from
looking at the tapes, here’s what to pay attention to before
deciding on who to callback:

1. Assessing the performance: Look at both the actor’s
physical characteristics and their acting abilities

2. Critique the performance: Judge the strengths and
weaknesses of the actor’s performance from the director’s
adjustment. (Was the performance believable?)

3. Type casting vs performance casting: Think outside the box
when it comes to actors portraying characters

4. Character Relationships: Which actors could play well

5. Decisions to be made for the callback:
– Which new scene should be used
– What qualities to look for in each actor
– Which actors are the best match (good chemistry)
– Where to raise the stakes (adjustments and subtext)

(3) First Callback

Callbacks are a little different than an audition. This is
where the director wants to spend more time working with the
actors. You also want to pair the actors up and watch the
chemistry between them. Budget about 10-15 minutes per

You also want all the actors to show up at the same time so
the director can mix-and-match actors as he sees fit. And if
you can, you should also choose different scenes for them to
perform then they did for the first audition.

The most important job a director needs to do before a
callback, is to make a list of the actors he wants to read
together. Depending on their schedules, you want the first
actors that read for you to be the ones you are most
interested in. If they work out, those first reads are the
standard by which you can gauge the other actors’

1. The director tells the casting director which 2 actors he
wants for each session. When the 2 actors come into the room,
there will be a cameraperson, the casting director, the
director and the producers.

2. Before the actors begin, the cameraperson records their
names and the roles they are reading for.

3. The director asks them if they have any questions. He then
shows them the area of the room where they can move around
freely. The director may also add additional props for the

4. The camera starts and the director calls action for the
first take.

5. The director makes an adjustment (change of objectives)
with the 2 actors.

6. The camera starts and the director calls action for the
second take.

7. The director thanks the actors and asks them to go back to
the waiting room. When the actors leave the room, the director
and producers make their notes.

8. The director tells the producer which 2 actors he wants for
the next session. The next 2 actors are brought in and the
process repeats.

9. At the end of the session, the director and producers
compare notes and decide on a short list for the second
callback session. For this last session, the director will
want the top 2 actor choices to come back for each role.

(4) Second Callback

This final callback is where you now have 2 actors competing
for each role and you have paired the actors up so you can
watch the chemistry between them. Budget about 15-20 minutes
per session.

Like the first callback, the actors all show up at the same
time so you can mix-and-match actors as you see fit. You
should also choose two scenes for them to perform together if

1. The audition process is the same as the First Callback

2. At the end of the session, the director, casting director
and producers compare notes and decide on the cast.

3. Always pick a second choice for each character in case your
first choice gets sick or becomes otherwise unavailable.

(5) What’s Next?

After the actors have been approved, the director will want to
have a read through with them and then start the rehearsal

6. Do You Want To Write An Article For The Director’s Chair?

If you would like to contribute articles, tips, links of
interest, industry news, interviews, special event dates or
other resources to The Director’s Chair, please email me at:

7. Give This to a Filmmaker – The Modern Moviemaking Movement

If you have been following filmmaking trends you know the
world of indie filmmaking is changing fast.

Inexpensive production technology coupled with the decline of
traditional movie distribution has forever transformed the
ways in which movies are marketed, seen and sold.

These days, filmmakers must not only make great movies, but in
order to prosper, modern moviemakers must now master
crowdfunding, internet marketing and social media.

To help you succeed as an independent filmmaker, I
collaborated with TEN of the most prominent filmmaker thought
leaders in the world to provide you with a complementary
filmmaking Action Guide on how to survive and thrive in this
ever changing industry.

It’s called “The Modern Moviemaking Movement” and it will
provide you with over 100 pages of useful, modern, no-fluff
filmmaking information.

So if you want an action guide that will help you survive and
thrive in this ever changing industry, grab your complementary
copy now of “The Modern MovieMaking Movement:”

Also, if you like this 100 page Action Pack, PLEASE GIVE IT
AWAY to your closest filmmaking friends. 🙂

8. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion (Free Advertising)

The Director’s Chair gives you an incredible opportunity to
get Free Advertising for your services and your films.

Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this

So if you want over 5900 filmmakers around the world to know
about you and your films, please send me your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to 300 words. I reserve the right
to edit the promotion for length, spelling and formatting.

Hmm… No one sent me a shameless self-promotion this month.

9. Filmmaking Links of Interest

1) Characteristics of the “Democratized Filmmaking Era”

2) Oscar-Winner Kevin Brownlow Continues His Labour on Behalf
of Cinema’s Past

3) Chinese production companies seek Canadian writers

4) Cinema reaches newer heights, says Bertrand Tavernier

5) Jim Sheridan – a director to survive the final cut

10. Independent Filmmakers Discussion Forum

I have created an Indie Filmmakers Discussion Forum on my blog
at: http://filmdirectingtips.com/indiefilmmakersforum#

So far there are four discussion topics:

1. Live Online Chat Discussion Forum
Ask & Answer Questions – Post Links

2. Filmmakers Help Forum
Ask Questions – Get Crew – Find a Job

3. Filmmakers Discussion Group
Discuss Your Favorite Filmmaking Subjects

4. Indie Filmmaking News
News & Articles About Indie Filmmaking

Please take a moment to have a look and participate in this
new Indie Filmmakers Discussion Forum.

And if you want me to create more filmmaking topics you can
participate in, please email me and let me know.

11. Blog – Film Directing Tips

Please take a look at the many articles on my blog,
http://FilmDirectingTips.com and make some comments on the
posts. Your feedback is important to me because they will help
me decide on the content of this blog.

12. Filmmaking Workshops – Peter D. Marshall

I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over 38
years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First
Assistant Director and Series Creative Consultant. I’ve been
asked many times to share my Film and TV production knowledge
with others. As a result, I developed several workshops that I
have successfully presented over the past 18 years.

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the link
below. If you are interested in any of these four workshops
for yourself or your organization, please contact me to
discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.

13. Product Promotion And Film Workshops

From time to time, I will contact you to inform you of film
workshops, filmmaking products or Online courses that I feel
are beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you are
under no obligation to purchase anything – I only offer this
information as a service to subscribers of this free ezine.

14. Suggestions And Comments

Send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice to:

15. Copyright Information

Copyright (c) 2000-2011
Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved