Casting Call (part 2) - 4/3/06
Sam already wrote about this, but I figure I'd recap it now that we're totally cast.

So yeah, we're producing a play in Santa Monica in May. Two plays actually - both of which I got to have a hand in writing - and we just had our first rehearsal Friday. It went fantastically. I'm super excited.

We're cast now (you can see the actors at the website, www.flaminghouseofcards.com - don't ask where the name came from), so now I can say a little more about the audition process.

It was certainly a fun, tiring, and learning experience, about which we knew almost nothing going into the process. In fact, there was only one thing we were sure of:

- There are a butt-load of actresses in LA.

As I mentioned before, we had about 250 girls express interest in trying out for the one part in the non-singing play, The Evolution of Professor Monkey. And at least 30 people responded for each of the other 7 parts. The problem was, we had no idea how many of these actors would actually show up at the auditions, and thus how many we should invite.

We asked to one of the directors, Casey, who presented two compelling arguments. One, it's easier to click a box on a website than to drive to an audition. And two, people in LA are flaky. Actors are flaky. So… actors in LA? Super flaky. But maybe so flaky that the flakiness cancels itself out? Probably not. He predicted 25% of the people we invited would show up.

On the other hand, people DID respond to the website. And according to our advising producer Liz, the website we used was a pretty reputable one. Why would you bother to respond if you had no intention of showing up? That doesn't seem to be a good way to run an acting career, responding to auditions and then just not showing up. Liz predicted 75% would show up.

So we decided to split the difference. 50% would show up. Thus, we invited twice as many people as he hoped would show up (about 20 people per role, plus more for the one female role because we had so many candidates). That way, if only a quarter showed, we wouldn't be screwed. But if three-quarters showed, we wouldn't have so many people that we couldn't handle it.

So what happened? People started confirming. LOTS of people. Our prediction crept back higher than 75%. We were worried.

Then what happened? People started canceling. LOTS of people. Out of town shoots, sicknesses, other shows, you name the excuse. Our prediction crept back below to 25%. We were worried.

And then what happened? Some people showed up anyway. Other people flaked. For some parts, we had almost 100% attendance (like the one female role). For others, it was more like 10%.

We ended in the vicinity of our original prediction, 50%. And after a little creativity, selected a fantastic cast. We definitely had no idea what we were doing most of the way, but it definitely worked out fine.

So what did we learn? Well, there's definitely one thing we can say for certain:

- There are a butt-load of actresses in LA.

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