Once you’ve written the script for your trailer and assembled a crew to make it, the next step is casting. In the case of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trailer I was brought on to the project as a helper/extra. That part is easy enough to describe. Amber put out a facebook message asking if anyone wanted to participate and I jumped on the chance to be part of the fun. Boom. That’s it.
Here is a picture of Amber, and Lucy watching Christopher Sheffield setup for the classroom scene.
For The Gathering trailer I’m much more involved in the process. There are six sets, nine actors, and about a dozen extras needed for what should be a one-day shoot. Scrounging up the on-screen talent is something that Amber normally does, but I wanted to be as big a part of the process as I could. I agreed to see what I could pull from my
network of family, friends, and neighbors.
Because I have a good voice for it, I decided to take on the role of narrator. One of the guys in my neighborhood, Dan, does stand-up comedy and volunteered for any speaking parts. There’s only one and as it turns out he can easily pass as a television reporter. While those were the two key parts in the trailer they weren’t the hardest to cast. Almost half of the footage will be of a family watching the news in their television room. I don’t have any children near the age of the ones we need so I couldn’t use them or their friends. I ended up recruiting Luke Jackson, who looks pretty much the way I pictured one of the characters in my mind. He agreed to convince enough of his friends to
fill the rest of the teenager slots.
But the trickiest job of recruiting extras was getting a room full of politicians. Where are you going to find a bunch of mature men in suits? I’m hoping the gentlemen at my church will be interested enough in experiencing the wonders of film to fill out my roster of angry politicos.
That still left two scenes uncast. These were a little more difficult to arrange. I needed a food riot and the location of a terrorist attack. Amber suggested that we purchase those scenes from an online video archive. In this case, it was easier and cheaper to find footage that matched our needs than attempt a complicated shoot for them.
Now, comes the fun part. The shoot itself. Getting together and actually filming the scenes is what comes to mind when people think about shooting a video. Lights. Cameras. Action. And as an author this is probably as close to seeing your story turned into a movie that you’ll ever get. Enjoy it.
This is Amber giving us our "Stand Here" instructions.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast. Sometimes my “stand here” spot was the same and sometimes it wasn’t. Some of the time they wanted me up front with the primary actors and some of the time they wanted me in the back since they had already shown my face
in the last take. Most of the time it didn’t matter, because the take they decide to use might not even be one where you make an appearance. As an extra, you might walk around an office floor for three hours and not show up in that scene at all.
The best part of being an extra is getting to know the rest of the cast. There’s a chance you’ll make new friends. You’ll definitely make useful contacts. And you share an inside view of the project. Like the time that they queued the scene, but forgot to take the lens cap off the camera.
That’s it for today. Looks like I need to do a part three so that I can discuss the post production elements of creating a trailer and alternative methods of production. Until then, keep your stick on the ice or something like that.