Day 1: The Casting Call (Plus, More About the Short Film)

Hey there! In my last post, I announced that I am a Production Assistant (PA) for a short film being entered in a local film festival. Since this is my first accredited short film, I will chronicle each day of the production to share my journey. This is beyond exciting for me so I can’t think of anything better than to share it with you all! Written and produced by Gricelda Ocegueda and directed by Narmandi Parker, the short film is called Regrets of A Dying Man and tells the story of a young man who has lost his way on the streets of Sacramento. Since it is for the Place Called Sacramento Film Festival, the Frijoles Entertainment film will premiere at the Crest Theater on October 7th AND will include a red carpet! So cool, right! Unfortunately, since I’ll be all the way on the other side of the country at school at that time, I won’t be able to attend the premiere. Even though I can’t be there, I would love for everyone to go and see the amazing job the cast and crew has done!

So, what have I done so far exactly? Last weekend, my first day as a PA was working the casting call for the film. My job for the day was to register actors who would be auditioning by marking what role they are reading for, collecting resumes and head shots, and instructing the actors which scenes they would be reading. It may not seem like the most exciting job, but I learned a lot about how actors come to casting calls by doing the smallest of jobs. Before, I was a little confused about how filmmakers working on local projects are able to get the word out to actors in the area. Working in high school theater, it was pretty easy to get people to audition. Put up a billion flyers, spam students’ emails with information, and have an info meeting and you’ll get all the actors you need. For my own projects I just forced my friends to be in them (sorry Nicole), but what do you do if you want professional actors? Is there a secret club? Maybe a bird call? While that sounds awesome, no. To get the word out about the casting call, Gricelda went through an acting agency to reach actors right here in Sacramento and posted an ad on craigslist. Since Gricelda’s script was one of the “A Place Called Sacramento” winners, Access Sacramento, the organization that runs the film festival, was another great avenue to release information. And in this age of social media, posting information on the Frijoles Entertainment Facebook page was just as useful of a resource to spread the word.

Another major thing I learned that day was that when the door is closed while an audition is in session, DO NOT GO IN! So when it was time to take my break from the registration table and the door was finally open, I decided to go in to watch the next audition to see how the process works. (I also needed a snack but I was really in there to watch too.) Gotta learn any chance I get, right?  I watch as Gricelda works the camera and makes adjustments as needed. I watch as Narmandi clearly gives the actors directions of how to use the space in front of them. They communicated well not only with the actors auditioning but with each other as well. While they are getting ready to begin the next audition, they realize that they need another stand-in, the person who is acting with the person auditioning but not auditioning themselves, . . .and I’m the only other person in the room. I, of course, say yes when they ask like it was no big deal (which it wasn’t) even though I was kinda freaking out. This girl does not like to act or be on camera in any shape or form, hence being a theater techie all of high school. But luckily I didn’t have to actually say anything so that was perfect!

I may not have any interesting in acting myself, but it was really fun to listen to the actors practice in the hall before it was their turn. People may not always realize this, myself included, but often times actors are going to more than one audition a day. With the A-list Hollywood actors the media primarily covers, it can seem like actors are always just called by directors and offered roles on spot. But, this isn’t the case for the majority of the acting community. Actors actually have to go out there and show that they have talent. And each time they are really doing their best to show that they are right for the part. Say what you will about actors, but you have to respect that.

As we wrapped up around 4:00 that afternoon, I would say that it was a pretty satisfying way to start my first PA experience. Next up, I will share how my first table read went! Until next time 😉

Through my eyes,

Sydney ❤

*Featured image courtesy of Google Images

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