Directors & Actors: Casting!

Begins February 11, 2019

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Course Description

To become ‘an actor’s director’ requires mindful communication and listening skills, and the ability to demonstrate trust with an actor. To become a ‘director’s actor’ and be top of mind for casting calls requires an understanding of the nuance of casting and decision‐making processes. The interaction between director and actor to achieve great performance is arguably the most important but least articulated or understood aspect of filmmaking for these two professionals, and rarely studied together. Casting is the first meeting moment for directors and actors to start on the right footing and potentially begin their collaborative journey.

In this course you will analyze a variety of audition techniques; differentiate the components of building trust in auditions; examine and test communication and interpersonal skills; learn a method to write inclusive character descriptions to attract the best actors; and discern the six stages of casting and accompanying decision‐making processes. Directors in the course will plan, organize and execute an online audition; while actors in the course will plan, organize and execute their own audition self tape. Both sides will do so with an enhanced understanding of the requirements of the ‘other’ side of the table.

This online interactive course is designed by industry professionals and mentors. You will learn about casting and audition processes through video media, audio podcasts and a variety of current industry source readings. Importantly, this course is interactive and students are expected to actively participate in discussion topics, electively engage with peers on some assignments, and test methods in real world application. You will engage with both course instructor and industry facilitators throughout your course who are available daily (asynchronous) and in three scheduled (synchronous) live sessions. In this course you will gain access to an international community of peers to collaborate and practice with, while you can complete the modules at your own pace.

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Course Objectives

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Analyze, differentiate and critique audition techniques and strategies used in auditions and callbacks
  • Test and evaluate communication techniques to build trust between directors and actors
  • Learn the six stages of casting and decision­‐making processes in each stage.
  • Plan, design and execute an online audition (directors) or an audition self-­tape (actors)
  • Reflect on personal growth and plan career next steps

Instructor Information

Peter D. Marshall. Peter is a filmmaker and film directing coach originally from Vancouver, Canada. He has worked in the Film and Television Industry for over 40 years as a Film Director, Television Producer, First Assistant Director and TV Series Creative Consultant on both large budget Hollywood films and independent films. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto, the author of Making the Magic Happen: The Art and Craft of Film Directing (2017) and two other published works on film. Peter publishes a monthly blog, The Director’s Chair, and delivers training seminars in the art and craft of directing around the world.

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Course Developers

Adam Leipzig. Adam has been a producer, distributor or supervising executive on more than 30 films that have disrupted expectations, including A Plastic OceanMarch of the PenguinsHoney, I Shrunk the KidsDead Poets Society, and Titus. His movies have won or been nominated for numerous awards, including 10 Academy Awards, 11 BAFTA Awards, and 2 Golden Globes. Adam is the former President of National Geographic Films and past senior executive at Walt Disney Studios.

Tiska Wiedermann. Tiska has a Masters degree in Education and Online Learning, and has been at the forefront of film education for nearly a decade. Through her work in the Raindance Postgraduate Program, she helped emerging filmmakers learn, connect and navigate a breakthrough career into the competitive independent film industry. She continues to pursue her interest in testing and documenting new ways to finance, market, and distribute films.

Course Textbook

Marshall, P. (2017). Making the Magic Happen: The Art and Craft of Film Directing. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions.

MediaU on film set
Directors and Actors: Casting!
MediaU film set

Course Textbook