Sunday, 13 October 2013

2nd Casting Call

This is the 2nd audition for project 2. It seems not long ago that I had my 1st audition. Wait, it wasn't that long ago. It was only January this year. While it's been only barely 9 months - less than a pregnancy period - much has changed with my role in Reel Frenz.

In the 1st casting call, I sat in front of the camera (next to Rahul, our fellow member) for an acting role in the 1st project. In this audition, I sat behind the camera (next to Michael our casting director) as writer/director. Let's say I was much more nervous then not just because I was performing in front of the camera, but also because that was the 1st day I met Marrie and the rest of the group members. At that time, I had no idea who Marrie was, except that she's the founder of the Reel Frenz Group. The butterflies in my stomach couldn't be that I was starstruck (not that I would ever be starstruck), it simply caused by a combination of "stage fright", the thrill of embarking on a exhilarating journey, and meeting a group of new friends.

Today, sitting behind the camera in the role of director, I understand the jitters the auditionees face (with the exception of Rahul. He seems to be as cool as a cucumber in front of all cameras). I tried to put them at ease, but I don't know how well I fared in that department. While it was informal - as this is only an amateur gig - but it still could be quite nervous for the auditionee if one is serious about getting the part. The fear of not putting in our best (thus leading to rejection) could be quite crushing. One could be easily bogged down by this while one is in the moment.

After we'd done our audition, we had a meeting with the production team to finalise the cast selection. Not getting enough group members to fill the roles is a headache. Having too many more auditionees than there are roles to fill is a nice problem to solve.

film audition, Rahul
Rahul, male lead for Heart Flutters

We have chosen Rahul as the male lead for my script Heart Flutters. While we actually auditioned together in the 1st project, I didn't recognise his talent. But then, apart from the nerves, I was also too preoccupied with my own performance to notice other people's performance. And his performance in the 1st project didn't require the dramatic range that he's able to deliver. So his talents remained undiscovered. There're only 2 male auditionees come forth, and since Philip insists on the role of the Heart Surgeon. So we've left with Rahul. Not that he isn't a good candidate, anyway.

After much deliberation over several competent candidates, we picked Shilpa for the female lead. Unlike the male roles, many more aspiring female actors turn up for the audition. And so deciding the female lead involved the inputs from the production team. The final decision rests with Marrie our executive producer, Michael and myself. Being the director, I guess I've the most decisive vote.

There're several similarities shared by Rahul and Shilpa: they're both Indians who arrived in Singapore recently, have no acting background whatsoever, and are absolute naturals. All these similarities are just coincidental. Our decisions are based purely on their artistic merits.

We had more than 12 auditionees in all. Of the 4 from acting schools, 2 can't act at all despite their training and industry experiences, and the other 2 are quite good. Of these 4, only 1 was cast. All the others being cast have no acting background whatsoever, and their talents far exceed the 2 from acting school by miles and on par with the 2 better ones from arts schools.

I guess this shows me more than anything else that I came across before that some talents are born and couldn't be made. At least, training could only go so far. This audition makes a very strong case.

And another thing, this is perhaps the best reason for having an amateur group like ours. There're all these talents out there who will live out their whole lives without the opportunities to showcase what they've got. We provide the stage for that to happen. Of course, that isn't only restricted to acting.

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