Hiring actors for an independent film might sound like a daunting task when your budget is barely enough to buy camera equipment. But story is everything, and finding actors (and actresses) for your independent film might not be as complicated as you think. You might even be lucky enough to land a renowned name thanks to changed perceptions about independent film being capable of winning major awards.
This isn’t to say you should expect a major name right away. Even an unknown actor with potential can end up catapulting an indie film to better places.
Before Hiring, Consider How Many Actors You Need
Some of the best indie films are ones that have only a couple of people in the cast as the main focus. Recent films like “Nebraska” has the focus mainly on two actors for the entirety of the film, even though they were well known names. A smaller production could do the same, or potentially try one actor as a challenge. The importance behind this is that the smaller the cast, the less you’ll have to pay the actors. Doing an ensemble piece could obviously cost you more, no matter if you hire unknowns.
Where to Look for Actors
Calling your local talent agencies or casting directors can help you find acting talent in your area. Most actors going through these agencies are still trying to find work and will likely want to audition for anything. Those agencies will usually expect you to pay the actors, though they won’t necessarily turn you down if you can’t pay much or anything at all. Some actors are willing to work for nothing just to gain some credit on their resumes.
In some cases, you can also find talented actors through groups that work in local live theater. These actors sometimes have more charisma than ones with extensive on-camera experience.
To save time, it’s easier now to do auditions online rather than holding one in person. Provide your contact information and email to the talent agency so auditioning actors can send you videos of their audition. You might be able to find a true undiscovered talent this way. Nascent actors are also less apt to be nervous doing a video audition than acting while you watch them live.
Is it Possible to Land a Well-Known Actor?
Some local agencies may have some connections where word about your film could travel to a better known actor. As with some A-list actors recently, they may even agree to defer payment in exchange for a cut of the profits later once the film makes money. Because no one knows for sure if your movie will make money, this scenario will be very rare. If an A-list actor has faith in your story and you have a solid plan on getting your film out there, the possibility is always there.
Financing continues to be a real challenge in every aspect of indie film. It’s why we’re starting Indie Film Funding, Inc. as a crowd funding site devoted strictly to independent film.
Contact us about when we’ll be live and how you can be a part of it. We hope to change the direction of seeing more indie films out there that otherwise would be sitting on a shelf for far too long.