Sunday, 12 February 2012

New Faces

Last week saw us auditioning in London and Leicester for the cast of our latest comedy series called "Becky’s World".  I love this part of the process, because I get to meet some fascinating people, and I get to be a director again, which doesn’t happen nearly enough for me to get bored of the title.  Certainly beats “worrying about cashflow” or “beating up rubbish IT company for crap service”.

No. Last week for two days I was able to get close to my work Nirvana. Directing actors through auditions and seeing how they translate our words into comedy. I love witnessing those little sparkles of genius and happy accidents that inspire you and also get you all excited about the idea again.  Bliss.

There’s a very serious side also. The little films we are making will solve a big problem for our clients. Getting genuine engagement with employees isn’t easy, but casting genuinely compelling actors who demand that you look at them is a great start. We’re lucky on this occasion, because our clients trust us to do our job.  Some, though, feel that they too should join in the process, and whilst watching all seven seasons of “The West Wing” suggests great taste, choosing actors requires a very specific process and set of considerations.

The Look.
This is about instant appeal. Likely by now the director has an image in her head (or even has a style based on an existing “type” that she can refer to) which suggests the physical and emotional character we are looking for.

Acting – especially comedy acting – is about intelligence. There is so much going on in the creation of comedy that having that Intel i7 processor is a damn necessity. Smart actors always bring it.  They “get you”.

A sense of fun.
Apart from spending the best part of a week’s shooting with them, which needs to run as smooth as whale-poop on an iceflow – it helps if I’m not planning their assassination by day two.  The fun also gives us more of those moments of comedy gold, unscripted.

Of course, it’s a given that they’re low-maintenance. On time, lines learnt, pre-breakfasted (unless is bastard-o-clock in the morning).  This is the very least that an actor can deliver, yet it amazes me how often these basic tenets are missing.

We keep a file of everyone who has impressed us, regardless of whether they got the gig on this occasion.  We’ll often feedback to actors who “nearly” made it, because we know how hard it is to position yourself in this fantastical universe of half truths…

Finally, we get to make someone’s day. There’s nothing finer than giving someone good news. Professional validation and a decent chunk of earnings all in one phone call – like being someone’s Fairy Godmother. Priceless.

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