In this most recent period, on the casting front, I have met with an experienced actress through my theatre director friend locally in Guatemala who I initially thought would be appropriate for the mother role. After meeting with her and having a better sense of her personality, I believe she would make a good choice for the good doctor’s assistant/nurse. She looks like she could slip into a role of the new-age, spirituality concerned character with ease. In meeting her, I also learned that she is part of a family of other actors, including her husband, and two teenage children: a daughter of roughly 16 and son of apps 19. I had her send me headshot son them as well. If meeting with them later, after the holiday, it looks like they made be good options for other principal roles, that certainly would be very practical and would help facilitate a single central off-site shooting location, e.g., a rented home. The story might have to be adjusted accordingly to ensure it would accommodate that. Of course, ultimately I will go with what ever casting choice makes most dramatic sense for roles, but will certainly keep aware of these potential practical benefits.
This is my first time casting a project like this. It is also complicated by the additional challenge of being in a country with limited English-speaking acting pool, particularly folks who might be available for an extended period for a projected 3 to 4 week shooting schedule. I will likely have a casual reading with the actress and these others to ensure they are capable of the work. I like what I hear Woody Allen does in his casting sessions: they are typically 30 - 90 seconds. He asks the person to sit down, shakes hands and says thanks for coming. Then again he is generally working from an eager pool of folks whose work is well established and he’s just ensuring (I assume) that he gets a positive, intuitive ‘vibe’ about them in the role from their presence.
I am progressing on the screenplay. I am working to maximize the dramatic strength of the outline and hoping that the transfer to screenplay / once that is wholly locked / will be fairly straight-forward and will flow at a good pace. I am hoping it will pay dividends to have spent longer than expected on this core element of the work. That which I have read about independent productions suggests the screenplay is the foundation for successful work, perhaps even more so than larger budgeted works that can also place some weight on other package elements to attract viewers.
I continue working through DOV Simens’ independent production guide: Reel to Deal. I have focused thus far on pre-production tasks including:
2. screenplay basics
5. lighting/grip equipment
On the technical front, I have also worked on developing my ‘lens literacy’. Was fortunate enough to speak at length with my wife’ s uncle who worked with Kubrick during Barry Lyndon on what is likely the most famous single lens in film history. I learned he had actually helped build the custom camera used for the filming. It was very exciting to get a little sense of Kubrick’s set from him.
Hallucinations - Oliver Sacks
I have been reading Oliver Sacks’ Hallucinations, which gives anecdote and primary document accounts of experiences of hallucinations, whether as of the result of traumatic event, altered states, or some kind of other physiological origins. The book suggests certain patterns associated with seeing and hearing that which is not there. It lays out for me some useful specifics to borrow from when crafting visions.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!