Casting names to the faces

I’m happy to announce the cast for Etiquette. I’ve put these up already on the IndieGoGo page, but I’m going a little bit more about the members and their auditions here:

Alex Babic will play TrevorAlex Babic is playing Trevor who is best described as a socially inadequate character, who prefers his own company. He is uncomfortable in social situations so gives off an air of awkwardness.

Originally Trevor was described as being 25 to 30 years with average/slim build. We did see quite a few Trevor’s within that age range (and younger), but for some reason Alex stood out and nailed the character with his awkward mannerisms right from the start. It became apparent after this audition that we should perhaps consider going in a slightly different direction and making Trevor a little bit older/more set in his ways. Part of the bonus for us is that Alex really loves comedy and wanted to do more work in this area. The fact he is based just down the road from the main location was merely the icing on the cake. He is probably best known for playing Brian the barman in Somersault opposite Abbie Cornish and Sam Worthington. I remember this film because it was my first introduction to Sam Worthington who would go on to star in Terminator Salvation/Avatar, amongst others. At the time, he was rumoured to be one of the final three candidates for James Bond in Casino Royale – taking over from Pierce Brosnan. My curiosity was naturally raised. Alex’s first role was opposite Dennis Hopper, so I’m looking forward to quizzing him a bit more about this. If you visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1456390/ you can find out a few further details on Alex.
 
Natalie Hughes will play JoannaNatalie Hughes is playing Joanna who is Trevor’s long-suffering partner. It’s a real case of opposites attract being as Joanna is confident, outgoing and very socially sure of herself. She is generally patient and calm with Trevor’s inadequacies but has a tendency to explode when they become too much.

We auditioned quite a few people for Joanna and much like the Trevor role we auditioned a real mixture of age ranges. We knew we had to get the Trevor role right first and foremost, then we would pick our additional cast members to compliment the actor who was chosen in the role (naturally the next most important role to get right would be his on-screen partner). It ultimately came down between Natalie and one other actress. There are two interesting points to make about this, firstly the similarities between her and the other actress under consideration were astounding – looks-wise they could have been sisters. It completely confused myself and Sherilee! The other thing was that these actresses put in the strongest auditions out of all the Joanna’s we auditioned anyway. In the end Natalie won through with her laid back natural approach for Joanna. Natalie has just finished two films this year, The Hike and action thriller Arjun and Alison. Visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1949108/ for further details on Natalie.

Joanna McKerlie will play Aunt EthelJoanna McKerlie is playing Aunt Ethel described as being rather stereotypically old-fashioned. She is a bossy busy-body who enjoys speaking her mind no matter who it may offend. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is naturally suspicious of strangers. She is happiest when moaning about the younger generation and reminiscing about “the olden days”. She prefers cats to any human interaction. Perhaps she might actually hit it off with Trevor?

This is only a very small role, but one I find myself expanding the back story for as time goes on. I’d really like to see more of Aunt Ethel and Trevor in the future, I think Trevor sees her as some kind of Bond villain in his mind. The first thing which hit us when we met Joanna McKerlie was her wonderful voice. It was no surprise to find out that she has been involved in radio plays. Joanna is mostly from a theatre background, there are some further details about her on casting call pro.
Hope Mcnamara will play AlisonHope McNamara is playing Alison, who is Joanna’s best friend at work. She enjoys the outdoor life, is kind and social, very well to do, but rather naïve. She recently came out of a bad relationship having been cheated on and treated very badly.

It’s interesting how your early  preconceptions of a character in the script can change when you meet a particular actor/actress. Hope is Canadian, when I originally pictured Alison it was as a traditionally posh, privately educated English lady – I wouldn’t dream of going back now though. Hope completely blew us away in the casting session. She took one small line in the script and performed a completely fleshed out backstory/monologue for it – I would really like to be able to share this at a later point (but this would be down to Hope’s approval). Hope is based in Oxfordshire and has a webpage with further details here.
 
Lindsey Coysh will play DeniseLindsey Coysh is playing Denise who is another of Joanna’s friends. She is tall and slender, in her mid to late 20s and holds an elegant presence. She has always been the wild child of the bunch who enjoys partying and until recently short relationships with men (she has just announced she is a lesbian). She is very image conscious and tends to get stressed easily.

For some reason Lindsey was almost exactly as we pictured Denise and she probably gets the biggest role out of Joanna’s friends. We are also really pleased to welcome onboard yet another local talent. Lindsey is part of The Oxford Repertory Company, you can also find some additional information on Lindsey on Casting Call Pro.

Tracey Rimell is playing SharonTracey Rimell is playing Sharon who is Joanna’s younger sister. She is much quieter and less outgoing than her sister, but unlike Trevor doesn’t mind being social. She comes across as very sweet and somewhat innocent. She is by far the most contented and balanced out of Joanna’s social circle.

We wanted someone in this role who could not only play Sharon, but someone who might look plausible as a younger sister to whoever would go on to play Joanna. I don’t want to give too much away at this point, but let’s just say that the audition for this was rather interesting to say the least. Tracey has some TV/Film experience but is mostly from a Theatre and Music background (she has advanced training as a mezzo-soprano harmony singer, so yet another talented singer that Wales can notch up!). More details about Tracey can be found on her website.

Mike Duran is playing PierreMike Duran is playing Pierre. He’s good-looking and French, very touchy-feely, bubbly and social. A bit of a hit with the ladies if only because they keep trying to fathom what his sexuality actually might be. This said in terms of attraction, Pierre is far more wrapped up in himself than others.

Mike was the second person we saw during the audition process. Again he was perhaps not what we originally envisaged when we thought of Pierre, but the one thing which came out of the audition was that Mike was willing to try absolutely anything we threw at him – which we loved. Mike has only recently got back into acting and Pierre is only a tiny role, but I would definitely consider working with Mike in a larger role for a future production.

Just a quick update on how the IndieGoGo campaign is going – well, frankly it isn’t! As of yesterday we did break the “no contributions” curse, but it seems that you are only likely to attract people within your social network (online or in person). If we are to make the target we need to hit about $20 per day – which clearly won’t happen at the current rate. Unfortunately there are too many other production aspects to focus on before the shoot in (gulp) three weeks. The crowd-sourcing was a somewhat experimental aspect for me – so I think a few lessons I can already take away from this are:

– You need to allow yourself time. We have been just dashing to make a film rather than taking time to build a campaign.
– You need to have some exceptional promotional material at the ready (sadly the page has been released before we’ve had the chance to do this – although hopefully some will appear closer to the time of the shoot).
– You need to expand your social circles and build up some buzz (which we didn’t).
– I probably set the end date too short, let’s see if there are any fireworks before the 5th November hits! That said, any funds we raised would be needed before this date. That’s what credit cards are for I guess! 🙂
– You can’t just expect people to take notice or sponsor your project. It just doesn’t happen. I knew this going in, I definitely feel the sharp pinch of it now. Your project can not be “just another project”, there needs to be something truly epic or exceptional about it to stand out. Just having a great script/perks is not enough.

Anyway, enough for now! Next update will hopefully cover the shooting location.

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