Writing and Casting
POSTED BY Alan IN video production, Web Series @ July 14, 2011 - 12:44 pm

As this train speeds on I thought I'd take some time to look at the writing of the series along with the first stages of casting. As I said in my last post this really is just an account of what I've done and my experiences by no means is it the right way to do things, it's just the way I've done it.

I was first approached by my good friend and ex student Steve Hill with the idea 'What if you started at university and your Dad came too?' Instantly the ideas started hitting me. I've written scripts in the past that'd been like pulling teeth, you have that great starting idea but fleshing it out doesn't always come easily. This was a totally different experience. Maybe it's because I always find myself writing very serious pieces or maybe it's because I did a lot of stupid stuff over my 3 years at uni but getting a break from that and writing something fun was amazingly reenergising. With in a matter of hours we had some great ground work for our characters and a strong direction where we wanted to go with the story.

The way I work and always have worked is to create a number of bullet points on the most important elements of the story. Once you've done this it's a lot easier to go back and build on what you have. I guess its a bit like if you were making a person it works a lot better if you build a skeleton then stick on the flesh rather than ended up with some blobby pile (weird analogy) We went as far as to outline the first 6 episodes which really helped us know where we're going to take the characters both now and in the future. Knowing where you want to go really helps you build a history for your characters.

Steve went away with this outline and wrote a 12 page first draft of episode 1. Since then I've worked on the script which is now into its 4th draft and 16 pages long. I believe the first episode is always going to be the hardest after all it needs to be funny but at the same time introduce us to all of the character's we're going to be following for the next god knows how many episodes (a lot i hope). I really don't see the scripts being entirely finalised till our characters are cast so we get a feeling for their individual personalities, after all maybe they'll bring something that we never even considered. At this moment in time however we have 2 episodes written and the 3rd I will be making a start on this evening.

I just want to take a minute to talk about a piece of equipment I've found amazingly helpful throughout the process to this point and that's an iPad. I know a lot of people will roll their eyes and call it a gadget but as a writer I have found it amazing. I have an app called Scripts Pro it's not the most advanced software in the world but it can save files as a text, celtx or final draft document and it means I can write where ever I am at a pretty good speed. Before getting the iPad (from my full-time job) If I came up with an idea I'd have to jot it on a piece of paper or write a note on my phone. Now I can keep it all in one place. I'm not saying you should go out right now and buy an iPad or any other tablet but just be aware if you already own one that they could make your script writing life a lot easier. Oh and I'm also writing this blog on it right now.

That brings us onto casting an area I have to admit I'm not vastly experienced in (yet) I have cast for a couple of shorts in the past but as I say these have been 2 - 10 minute long shorts not an ongoing series. I sent out a casting call 2 days ago now to a number of websites. These were www.shootingpeople.com, www.mandy.com and www.starnow.com all great sites for finding cast and ones I would really recommend. Be aware however that shootingpeople is a paid site so if you're not a member you wont be able to send a casting call to them.

As you can probably see from the picture I've had a fair few applications in the last 48 hours. To be honest it's been mental, I've had to print them all out and section them up just to keep tabs on where I am, no wonder large productions have a casting director. I would recommend when you send out a casting call that you don't give away too much information about your project after all you never know who will be seeing it so why say more than you have to. I created a basic story and character breakdown which I posted out to all of the sites. If anyone would like a look at this then please just drop me a message and I'll send you a copy.

So that brings us up to now really I'm just beginning to look through all the resumes I've received (25 at last count) I want to divide them between the definite no's and the potentials. After this all potentials will get sent the first episode to see if they even like the project. After that I'll start looking at auditions an area I have even less experience with than casting (gulp)

Wish me luck I've got a long night ahead looking through a hell of a lot of CVs