Casting your Indie Short or Feature Film

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Casting your Indie Short or Feature Film.

Every filmmaker should have a casting process. This applies even if you are a beginner filmmaker making your first Short Film.

We teach this process over two full sessions on the 5 Month Film School in Melbourne and Sydney.  As we shoot a 14 Minute Short Film on every 5 Month Film School, it is important that everything is real including the casting process.

We start the process by advertising the audition for the Film  on different actor websites. This involves a casting brief with story synopsis, character breakdowns and when the casting will take place.

Actors see the brief and maybe 80 People apply and then about 25 People are booked for a 4 Hour Casting Night.  This is so important for this reason. The better the actors, the better the film. The better the casting is in your film, the better your film can be.

When it comes to casting, you may fall into different categories.  If you have made some good short films and now have a budget to pay actors a small fee, then your choice of actors and talent will greatly be improved.  This will of course increase the quality of the film.

Peter Weir, the great Australian Film Director once said “80% of the directing actors job is done if you cast the best possible actors for each role. “ 

Now we all know that there is a lot more to directing a movie, than working with actors. However, the actors are what the audience connect with. The mass audience credits the actors with the movie either being great or terrible. That means you must do your level best to get the best possible cast.

If you have no money to pay actors, do your best to find fresh actors who are starting out and need showreel exposure. You can do this by advertising the casting on Actors websites (Star Now and others) and on actors Facebook Groups.

Have in- person castings. It is far better to see actors in person and record the audition and direct them in person in a live casting than on a self-audition recording, that actors send in. It is usually badly shot and often works against the actors.

On casting night, I always have a new actor coming in every 5 Minutes. Some will take longer, and some will be quick.  The longer auditions happen when a really good actor auditions and you want to spend more time with them.

Once you have seen the process of casting for real with an experienced filmmaker, it will be easy for you to cast your own film.  That is why it is great to come on the 5 Month Film School in Sydney or Melbourne or failing that do our Online Version of the 5 Month Film School where we show you how to cast via a recording of an actual casting.

In summary here is how a casting happens

  • Week 1: Advertise the casting on as many actors sites and Facebook groups as possible.
  • Week 2: Contact the actors via phone and book them into the casting night or day.
  • Week 3: Casting auditions week is the week where you see the first round of actors.
  • You have short castings where you see the actors and they act out a character from a scene in your film.
  • Create a short list of the best actors who showed up on Round 1.
  • Week 4: See the short list again in Round 2. Really test the actors
  • Week 5: Make your choices and cast the film.

It is that easy. It is a fun process that any filmmaker can do. Once a filmmaker has been shown and taught how to do it, they can cast their own film effectively.

Find out how to cast properly on the

Melbourne 5 Month Film School  happening soon  – Go or Click here for Information

Sydney 5 Month Film School  happening Soon    –    Go or Click here for Information

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Colm O'Murchu - Host

Colm O’Murchu is a passionate Indie Filmmaker and owner of the production company, International Film Base. He has directed and produced three successfully released feature films worldwide and one documentary.  

His most recent film Tabernacle 101 has been released in 2019 in the US and will be released in Australia in late 2020 premiering at the Sci Fi Film Festival. He is currently in development on his next feature film Absolute Freedom, an action adventure film set in the outback.

He has spoken at Indie Film Seminars all over the world and created online and offline film courses 

 He lives in the Blue Mountains NSW Australia and loves the outdoors and the mountains.

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