Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Great Journey to Find a Casting Location

I have gone through the casting process on other films, but I realize now that I've only been privy to part of the story. Sifting through photos & resumes is one thing... but the real challenge has been finding a location to cast a group of professional actors.

While doing casting at Laney College in Oakland the crew was hosted, treated fairly, and had some technical help with lights. Finding a similar situation in Sonoma County has been like driving a train in the rain. I couldn't really see the tracks and every stop I made asked for steep toll charges.

While there are locations such as the Playhouse & Cinnabar stages, churches, and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, my dream location was the new theater at the SRJC Petaluma campus. After some phone calls I talked to a few key people who told me that the cost was $100/hour. Yes, this was the NONPROFIT FEE.

When I told the Assoc. Producer and other crew about this, the response was disbelief. "Wow, you could rent a big place in SF for that cost," was typically what people said. I didn't disagree. I shot days and days of dance production video on a stage in SF for $16/hour and full use of the lights and sound. Use of the local high school and junior high stages ranged from $24-$30/hour with a $30 janitorial fee. This wasn't unknown territory to me.

I made some calls, met with the professor who uses the facility, talked to the facility manager, and spoke at length with Terry Lindley, who is on the board of the JC. I also know one of the builders who has the keys to the facility. Despite these tentacles and warm relationships, the struggle to open the doors and use the stage was getting in the way of scheduling casting. This was a bigger fish than I had tackle for.

With days to go and with no confirmation in site, I made the call to the Community Media Center of Santa Rosa. As a member, any SR resident can use the facility and the gear (with training) for free. It's part of our community access, and most communities in CA and in many other states have a community access facility. As part of my graduate degree, I focused on community media. I served on the convening board of the Marin Community Media Center, which includes three public access channels, and currently sit on the board for the Santa Rosa CMC. It is a valuable community facility and we are fortunate to have it.

Our casting is set for Saturday, Aug 29 and Saturday, Sept 12, with use of lights, microphone and the sound stage. Thank you to the Community Media Center.

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