So, I have to admit that I was fairly concerned about how we were going to cast for such a large group of actors willing to work for free. My hope was that we would get maybe 15 or so.
Of course, I tried posting in the Craigslist Talent Gigs. I learned a lot about CL by doing this. I learned that advertising for a sugarbaby is considered the same as advertising for a model or actress. I also learned that "Busty" is considered a talent. Who knew? I didn't. I thought at best it was genetics, and at worst it was just lucky.
But then I found a site that features Texas-based actors. I put up an open call for talent and waited. I didn't have to wait long, either. I started getting emails fairly quickly. A few told me straight up, despite saying in the original listing that this was a one-day shoot and would have no pay, that they would not work without payment. A couple said they would "do the first one" without pay, but would expect payment from then on. Let me tell you how that normally works, guys. A talent like that will usually show up for the shoot after accepting the role, they might even do half of the shoot for you. At that time, they will demand money to finish, or they will walk. Anyone who didn't seem to understand that we were going to shoot for about 8 hours, and give them featured roles, well-shot, and well-edited that they could freely use on their reel, but we weren't going to pay them, didn't get a response.
Speaking of responses, I wrote three of them. These could be broken down into three categories.
1) What are we doing? This explained the style of the shoot, the time it would take, and what the project actually was. I ended it with "Let us know if you're still interested."
2) Why are we doing this? This basically explained our reasoning behind making this project. It showed the benefits to both the project and the actors. It was completely honest. It was based on reassuring our actors that we weren't somehow secret adult film-makers ready to steal actors and sell them into the adult movie business, or something. I guess it made sense because we had originally posted in the Craigslist Talent Gigs where "Busty" is a talent.
3) How we expected our talent to respond. This was a response to our actors who had questions about scheduling, and a couple who decided they wanted to be a little diva-ish. I told them the truth. I explained how to respond when they were offered a role, and the time limit they had to respond. I again tried to reassure them, but I was firm about it, too.
Here's the funny thing. The response wasn't good. It was overwhelming! It turns out that a couple of the local talent agencies got wind of the project and began sending their actors that didn't have much on their resume or reel to us. It made sense, too. You can more easily get someone a job if you have something to show them, and we're offering footage for a reel with very little time to give up for free. It is a totally symbiotic relationship. We also made contact with musicians, and crew people, as well as a couple of writers who were also interested in the project.
So after three VERY grueling days of merely contacting actors, I was able to put together the cast for our first shoot in two weeks.
AND, we have a talent pool that only appears to be growing.
Next up, we'll talk about special effects. See you soon.