Last week my best friend Matthew hired me to help run auditions for The Invitation, a short movie being shot in Minneapolis later this month. I wrote and posted the casting notice, and corresponded with the director, Brad, an LA veteran of 7 years, as he selected actors to come in for auditions. This was my first experience setting up a project in Matthew's online database, so I was kinda nervous about getting everything perfect. (let's be honest, when am I not nervous about getting everything perfect?)
A cool part of my experience: Brad asked Matthew and me to chime in if we saw an actor submit that we knew would be a good fit for the role; when I saw the lead actress from my last movie shoot had submitted, I took him up on that offer. Because I knew if she came in to read, she'd almost certainly land the role. I was right :) The director was blown away by her audition, and I just got the email saying she's officially been cast.
Above all else, that right there is why I want to do movie-making: for the purpose of helping others. Matthew went out of his way to give me hand-ups into the movie biz, and I love having the chance now to pass that on.
So for auditions: I scheduled all the actors, dealt with a couple scheduling conflicts, and then when we discovered a glitch in the scheduling software, personally called another 5 people to invite them to auditions. Brad had written to me "if it doesn't work out it's not a big deal. These things happen." I wrote back, "Yeah things happen, but I'm a perfectionist". It was great being able to show off my work ethic through action, more than just words. I got 4 of those 5 actors there that night.
When auditions ended, Brad and I talked briefly while I packed up the camera and laptop gear, and I mentioned to him, 'if you need more people on your crew, I'd love to help out'. We got to talking, him asking what I liked doing, me replying some combination of production manager/producer/AD type stuff, and he lit up and said "that's exactly what I need!" So by the time we left, I was unofficially hired as Line Producer.
I've never line-produced before, but when Brad and I met yesterday to run through the tasks I'd be responsible for, it's all stuff I know how to do, or can figure out easily. This production isn't huge, in fact, it's slightly smaller people-number-wise than my last movie. But we have a real budget this time, we're actually paying people (and getting paid), and doing more advanced paperwork than I've done in the past. So for me it's an appropriate step up to the next level, a step up for which I've been longing. Best part: it's a short shoot, only 5 days, so getting the time off-work wasn't an issue. My boss is very supportive of my movie-making projects, which helps.
February will be a really great month. From running auditions last week, recording ADR with one of our actors from Vacationers (that we shot last February), production-managing the Madrigal Dinner at Minnehaha later this week, line producing The Invitation later this month, having our first AWAKEN performance the last weekend this month, and somewhere in there coordinating the last few post-production details of Vacationers (sound and color correction), I've got lots of production work on my plate, and that's how I like it.