Thursday, April 16, 2009

Best Laid Plans: Milestone

Finding Billy.

How about this order at a drive-thru window: I'd like a male prostitute between the ages of 25 and 30, with a great body and more specifically, a six-pack; who is not a street thug, but more like a sensitive, high-priced escort who can give you the best sex you've ever had? And can I have fries with that?

When one writes a short film that includes a man with a six-pack, it means that when the director has to cast said man, they have to ensure that said actor has said six-pack. Needless to say, I had girlfriends offering to volunteer for the casting session to help me make such a difficult decision.

I've helped On the Leesh cast stuff before but, while we may have been seeking actors with a certain look, we've never had such a specific body requirement as this story called for; and I was never the director. So beyond making sure that they had the physical requirements of the role, I had to make sure that they were also able to make the emotional connection to the part.

Obviously, I'm usually on the side of the actor. Going into auditions and getting notes from the director and/or casting director and trying to suss out what they wanted. With me on the other side of the table, I wanted to make sure that I was clear in what I said; that my notes made sense. That I wasn't putting any actors in the confused position I've occasionally found myself in when getting a note. I was incredibly nervous, actually. I wanted an actor that came in and seemed to be in the same ballpark as how I'd heard the role in my head, but was also able to change it up if necessary. And I knew that I needed to give myself room for error, so I also wanted an actor who would be able to bring their own ideas to the table as well. And I needed the actor to work for no pay.

Hmmmmm... tall order.

Half-way through the auditions, in walked Brian Patacca, an actor On the Leesh knows quite well since he's a regular on one of our webseries, The In-Betweens of Holly Malone. He had seen the ad for the audition and asked if he could read for the role of Billy. Now, just to be clear, we saw a lot of guys that day. We were sent A LOT of headshots. Apparently, there is an abundant amount of six-pack-having male actors in NYC. Who knew? So we saw a number of guys who gave great auditions, but Brian walked in and nailed it. For me, it was like the directing gods were giving a little gift to the newbie. He made me interested in the character in a new way. We called him that night and he accepted the role.

We had our Billy. We were half-way there in this two-person story.

All that's left was finding Denise...

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