More Movie Stuff: Let’s talk about following directions!

That’s right! Film STUFF!

Since I have been talking a lot about film stuff. I thought I would continue to do so.

It’s not that I think you want to READ more film stuff, but more that I am ass deep on production right now. What that means is that I am locked into an OCD mode. While I am shooting, that is all I can think about and concentrate on.


I am shooting a 39 episode series. It’s called Project Z. (Here’s the website.) Unlike most series, which have a normal cast of characters, Z is an anthology series. What this means is that every episode is a short film set in the same universe, but there are very few (At this point, only two) repeating characters.

It’s a nightmare. Every episode requires that we cast the whole thing from scratch. This means that I see a (literally) never ending stream of emails from actors come across my desk.

I am getting tired of a couple things. 1) Seeing the same questions over and over. 2) Actors responding without a head shot. 3) Actors that cannot follow directions.

This is not a head shot. Wait. It is, but
the kind of headshot I was talking about.

Let’s start with the basic email I have been sending.

Here it is:
First off: I need to reiterate the following. This series is being shot on a DEFERRED basis with no set rate. Instead, everyone involved gets a portion of proceeds from their episodes. This episode is being shot **INSERT DATE** in **INSERT LOCATION** with a mix of night and day shoots.

The script is attached. By opening it, you are agreeing to not disclose the information contained within.

Failure to follow these directions will result in not being considered for the part.
Record an audition for the part you are interested in. (If auditioning for a zombie, show us your best zombie acting)
    a) SLATE
    b) read opposite someone
    c) make sure we can see and hear you clearly
    d) upload the audition to youtube as an unlisted link  
    e) Email us the link to the video to this email address slsprojectz@gmail.com (do not use youtubes “Invite to view”

Yup. These things!

We are making decisions constantly as we have 39 episodes to shoot, as such it is in your best interests to submit ASAP.

So. The same questions. Based on this, you should have all the information you need. That there is no set rate, it’s being shot on a deferred basis. You know the date and the location.

Yet, they all ask the same things. What is the pay rate? Where is this being shot? What are the shoot dates?

From this, I can only assume that either a) they did not bother to read the email I sent, or b) they cannot read.

I know. This statement, especially since I have some readers that are in the industry, is relatively unprofessional… but it is something that I really wonder about… do they just not read it? Or can they just not read.

It also gets worse… at least in my opinion.

After the initial email response, they don’t follow directions.

They need this book!

Let’s break it down. It’s a list… Like David Letterman’s…

  1. No headshot. How the hell can I cast you, or even consider you if you do not show me what you look like? 
  2. They don’t slate. Slating is an industry term. It means that, at the beginning of your audition video, you tell us WHO YOU ARE! This one seems really simple, but the number of auditioners who don’t slate is astounding… especially when I TOLD you to!
  3. Read opposite someone… All you gotta do is get someone to read the other parts for you. There are a lot of actors who don’t do this… WHY NOT?
  4. Upload to youtube. With the ease of stuff on today’s smart phones and pervasiveness of computers. ANYONE can upload to youtube. Still, they keep throwing files at me. 
  5. IF they manage to upload to youtube… so many of them are unable or unwilling to send me the link… they will tell me their page name. They will tell me the title of the video… but they can’t even cut and paste the link. 
  6. SO MANY of them will use the share button on youtube… in spite of the fact that I say not to… There is a reason for it. If you don’t do number 2… and then send me an email through youtube, how the hell do I know who I am looking at???
I know this stuff sounds nit-picky… But we have reasons for asking for it… And I have a reason for getting annoyed.
Let me tell you some things about directions and why you need to follow them (and this is honest and real advice for actors)… To cast each of these episodes, I go through (LITERALLY) hundreds of emails. Each email that does not include a headshot wastes time. Out of those hundreds, we get it down to about 50 people. Then we email them the email. Out of these 50 people… 10 of them will ask all the questions. This wastes more of my time. Then, out of the remaining 40, there are about 1/3 that cannot or do not follow directions. I have to email them in response asking them to follow the damn directions… More time wasted. 
While it sounds like I am whining about the time wasted. Unless you wear all the hats, you have no idea what goes into the process of making the film. I actually blogged about that, as well… IT’S RIGHT HERE! So… Each extra step wastes money and time and really grates on my very few nerves. 
Basically, every un-necessary email, question and failure to follow directions is like killing me. You are standing behind me in the dark and stabbing me with a knife that is only a quarter of an inch long. 
I like living. Please stop killing me!
That being said… When you cannot follow directions, it is very unlikely that you will get cast. 
Would you like to know why? 
NO! It’s not because producers, directors and casting people are petty, vindictive rules mongers. 
It’s because we have given you simple directions in WRITING. You can refer back to them. So… if you aren’t able to follow them now… how can I expect you to follow my directions on set? 
That’s right. Those emails are a test. We need all the things we ask for – it means that our lives go easier. But we are also testing you to see if you can cut the mustard and do what we ask. I mean, that is what your job is, right? To do what you are asked to do when the cameras are rolling? 
Think about it. We were testing you… Did you pass?
Will you pass the test?
Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources:


Follow me on social media... You know you want to!

Leave a Reply