One of the many rich pleasures of being an occasional actor is being given the chance to read the casting calls on websites like Spotlight and Casting Call Pro in the vain hope of finding something that might be interesting. I don’t do it any more, but when I did, I was treated to some of the best (unwitting) comedy out there.
Casting directors and fledgling producers think along very well-established lines. To them, the idea of the “new” is scary and ridiculous. Why would you want something or someone new when you could just have a guy who looks and sounds a bit like R Patz? Smaller companies and corporate sharks try to dress up their intention not to pay you in the language of charity—a charity that also appeals to your ego. “This is unfortunately unpaid, but you will get a credit.” “Unfortunate” for me, not you. But at least I’ll get a credit. These people must be princes. I’d love to be in their short film about a young guy trying to find himself. A video for a really hot unsigned band, you say? Unfortunately unpaid, you say? I was beginning to think this was all a waste of time. I’m not any more.
Here are some of the casting calls that have come my way, copied and pasted verbatim:
Role: Miner (Male)
Description: We need to find someone with really worn bricklayer hands. Dirty and dry, cracked and meaty. Nice to find someone with rather grundgy hands, ones that look like they have worked with metal or rocks, someone with not so perfect hands basically. Darker skin is most authentic. Black or hispanic, deep black would be good too to make it more regional.
**The thought process: "**Black people are regional right? And into mining? Coal is from the 'black country,' so they must be. I mean, if somewhere is the country of the black people, and that country makes coal, then black people make coal. So, this isn’t racist is it? Oh God, why have I never spoken to a black person before?"
Role: Hero Guy (Male)
Description: This film is (apart from a thick haze of postproduction extravaganza and great music) ALL about our hero dude flying through the white unknown—__hitting a giant orange like a meteor!
Now he has to add various elements to the spot:
A HUMAN spirit
27 years old approx must have MEDIUM to LONG length hair. Good-looking, slim build and expressive, energetic with an element of edginess about him. The actor will be in front of a strong wind machine so they must be OK with this.
All these things reminded us of a young Mick Jagger. Don't know why (not that I really expect our hero to look like a pop star at all). Probably because he has (had) the right amount of hair (our hero needs some hair so that we can feel it as he RUSHES through the air due to the wind in his hair, but also because he is raw and funky).
The thought process:** "**I want a human Mick Jagger and I want him to feel the RAW wind with his STREETCREDIBILITY!"
Role: Toy Hero (Male)
Description: Must have a very fit, muscular, ripped body. The bigger the better. He is an all action hero toy, that is ready to save the world. He must be able to move like a doll. Two lines.
**The thought process: "**There's a Doll Movement Academy, right?"
Role: Jacob (Male)
**The thought process: "**Jacob has the profound wisdom of the man who has nothing. Why don't we go and ask some bums about their hopes and dreams? Sometimes enlightenment comes from the unlikeliest of sources. The future, food... what do these things mean, really?"
Role: Teenage emo (Male)
**The thought process: "**So, teenagers are still like Paul Dano in Little Miss Sunshine, right?"
Role: Hoodie (Male)
**The thought process: "**Young black people are so confusing and mysterious!"
Role: Malcolm (Male, 30s)
Description: Malcolm doesn’t know where he’s going, he is a little bit lost but he knows that he is funny and perhaps this will help him find his way in the future. He has a child but is separated from his wife. His child will teach him how to live his life. Think Mackenzie Crook.
**The thought process: "**What would we do without the phrase 'think Mackenzie Crook'?"
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