Ric Forster - Writer & Filmmaker



Difficult? Yes.

Necessary? Yes.

Unfortunately, it’s kind of impossible to make a drama without going through the process.

From a logistical point of view, it’s tricky to organise. You’ve got to book a venue, contact potentially hundreds of actors and liaise with them to create an auditions schedule. For LOL, I placed adverts on CastNet and Casting Call Pro and organised two auditions, one in Liverpool and another in London. Although we’re shooting in Liverpool and it makes sense to cast locally, the majority of actors seem to be based in London. As the majority of the roles were for quite young characters, I also setup an audition with a local youth theatre drama group.

The other tricky aspect of casting is actually working with the actors. I was lucky enough to get quite a big response to the casting notices and saw close to a hundred actors for the 7 or 8 roles. That’s a lot of rejection. When you’ve got actors giving up their time and money to travel and perform for you there’s an obligation to make sure they get something out of it too.

I made the decision quite early on to audition for all the roles in pairs. So everyone reading for Jaz would act opposite another actor reading for Keely. We’d then swap roles. It really helped the process as there’s nothing worse than an actor trying to act against someone who is just feeding them lines.

It also gave me the opportunity to have the actors improvise. For every scene they read, I asked them to put down the script and perform an improvised version. The results were phenomenal. I was able to see what they were capable of and really get a feel for which actors worked in the roles. I also discovered that large parts of my script were rubbish.

I spent the next week looking over the auditions footage trying to work out who worked with who. There’s an unpleasant Simon Cowell nature to it, as you’ve got to be brutal, and absolutely sure that your choices are the right ones. With my decision made, I contacted everyone who auditioned and let them know whether they’d got the role or not. Not a particularly pleasant task.

There were some really strong actors who were genuinely great, but just not right for the roles. Though I suspect it’s something that actors are often told when turned down for a film, I do intend on offering them any roles that come up on future productions. It was great having found some fresh talent.

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