People ask me that all the time and as a writer and coordinating producer I can tell you that casting is one of the hardest projects to do after writing a script.
The reason it is so difficult because there are so many actors out there. BACKSTAGE DOT COM is full of actors. It took me most of the SUMMER (2022) into FALL to find 8 actors to fill the roles in our play VEGAS. Then we had our first reading in Jan 2023 and one of the actors was not there and the other one actually just READ the script WITHOUT ACTING. Let me repeat that – THEY READ THE SCRIPT WITHOUT ACTING. That was actually a talent to which they responded when I released them from the project with this gem: “I didn’t realize you wanted me to act during a TABLE READ”
The other actor was the last person I tried to reach them many times before they responded that they were in FLORIDA on VACATION and would try to make it back in time. They didn’t. The plane was held up-out of their control – yes – but they had plenty of time to make other plans and it’s partially my fault because when I looked back on their headshot and info sheet – they were still in school and basically the few times I tried to reach them when they were where they were supposed to be – they couldn’t make the schedule. I released both of these actors and that was difficult for me to do because I liked both of them as people.
Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success in life is just showing up. Sounds easy right? But it’s not that easy because life gets in the way and what are your priorities? Apparently this play reading was not a priority of the actor in Florida and for the actor who didn’t act, either. It doesn’t make them a bad actor or a bad person but they missed an opportunity that they may regret in time. I guess it’s a lesson learned for them? I hope so – for me – it was really difficult to release them because then I had to find two more people to replace them, which I did not have at that point.
What makes an actor GREAT? Good question and in my opinion a great actor becomes that character. That people suit they wear to become that character is not transparent but people don’t see or know that actor, who that actor really is because they are always a character when they are being viewed. JODIE FOSTER, JODIE COMER, SANDRA OH,
#SAMANTHAMORTON (alpha in #walkingdead, queen catherine in #theserpentqueen). These woman and others like them research their character, go on the set
and they are that character. They come off the set and they are themselves. There is no method to their madness, they have a unique view of acting – they just do it. Not many actors can be this effortless or at least it looks effortless when they perform. Granted they aren’t great in everything because the scripts have to be as good as the actor – some scripts are melon balls – others are Oscars.
In February I was grateful to have hired two more actors to replace the two I released. Both of these new hires are awesome actors – OMG one of them takes my breathe away. The other actor is also good and the character he plays is intricate and we’ll see how they work within the ensemble. I don’t anticipate any hitches.
Next up will be ZOOM REHEARSALS which should be interesting and I will tape them so our Director and Supervising Producer can take a look at what was done in their absence. While I am one of the writers of the play I am also now COORDINATING PRODUCER of this READING. Coordinating actors and their schedules is difficult but these actors are so dedicated to this play I find it a joy to work with them all.
Lastly, Life is difficult with all that is going on around us in the world, locally and today I had a text message from a Democratic Group wanting to know if I would run for public office. HELLL NO! and while I did not explain what I was doing I can’t imagine running for office with all this crazy stuff happening in our country. I wrote back “not at this time”. If I were President of America there would be hell to pay and I already have gray hairs on my head – I don’t need any extra help.
Producing this reading, with these wonderful actors is all that I can be right now. I’m really hoping we can get a LEAD PRODUCER who will believe in VEGAS like we all do. It would be great is that LEAD PRODUCER whomever it turns out to be recognizes the talent performing this script and gives them the OKAY. I would love to say this to the actors:
“you know when a producer tells you to NOT QUIT YOUR DAY JOB…. I’M TELLING YA “QUIT YOUR DAY JOBS”…..