Casting Call: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend PSA

Responsive image

Casting Call: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend PSA

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working with Deirdre and Kristin to cast actors for a new PSA The Pod was shooting for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend Tallahassee.

I was excited. Most of my casting experience until then had simply been helping my friends find willing actors and actresses for their weekend film endeavors. This was different. We had scripts. We had a camera. And yes, we even had clipboards. This was the real deal.

We piled into Deirdre’s car around 4:00 PM and drove to the Big Brothers Big Sisters office. I listened intently as Deirdre and Kristen discussed different camera lenses and shooting techniques.

It was a gloomy day and the air was brisk and wet. Drops of rain politely tapped us on our heads as we made our way into the facility. Once inside, the chill of the weather was quickly diverted with the warmth of the cozy office. On the walls were tens, if not hundreds, of pictures of happily paired big and little brothers and sisters, each with their own beautiful story. An enthusiastic woman met us in the lobby and led us through the halls to a large room where we could cast.

As we set up shop, eager people of all ages began to appear. Having personally prospected many of these people from an acting directory myself, it was interesting to see them off the page and in person. As they entered we gave them each a numbered sign and snapped a couple headshots for our records. Once everyone had been accounted for, Kristin took the stage and began to explain the casting process.

As a warmup, we first asked our actors to improvise an unscripted scene in pairs. The actors were a little shy at first but with some encouragement (and some great direction by Deirdre), it wasn’t long before the room was alive with creativity and spirit. People laughed and people cried. One group flexed their muscles and pretended to pump iron at a gym and another made imaginary hamburgers at a busy diner. I watched inquisitively as the actors worked their craft, delighted by the fun they were having. I even had the chance to perform myself!

Once we had finished our warm-up, we had the actors pair up once more and read scenes from classic movies. The first scene, taken from Stand By Me, was a short dialogue between brothers. Without revealing too much about our production, we needed to find two actors who had great, brother-like chemistry. After everyone had given the scene a shot, we moved onto the next scene, an action dialogue from Finding Nemo. This scene was a bit longer and required a bit more miming from our actors, but everyone managed to do a fantastic job at bringing the lines to life.

We closed our audition with a few parting words from Kristin and thanked everyone for volunteering as they left. We hadn’t even finished packing up before I started to get excited about shooting the spot. Watching a commercial being put together from script to screen is truly a fascinating experience and I look forward to seeing this one in its completion!  

We aim to release the PSA in January so keep an eye out!