Diary of a Deaf Filmmaker, Month 3: Being able to cast actors online is a lifesaver

Posted on September 30, 2014



Last month, I mentioned that we had begun to look for actors to invite to the casting. I also noted that this can be a bit tricky when looking for specific Deaf/HoH actors, as they are few in numbers.

But we cast our net far and wide via the web…

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social media…

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and good ol’ fashion word of mouth.

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The response was awesome!

Lots of Deaf/HoH actors got in touch and we managed to rustle up quite an extensive casting list.

But then…..disaster struck!

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I’d totally forgotten that actors actually have lives and can’t always be at the beck and call of directors. In other words, some actors couldn’t make the casting dates.

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But there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that light was apparently coming from a computer screen.

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As an actress myself, I have previously been asked to audition via video or Skype. It’s a great, cost effective way for actors to be seen by film makers and can really help when you’re trying to juggle everyone’s availability.

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But most importantly, it’s really accessible for Deaf/HoH actors. You can communicate via three options depending on your personal needs; speaking & lip reading, using BSL or typing written English.

I was casting for a number of different characters and they all communicated differently. I could sign (probably terribly) for BSL users, lip read people who spoke and if everything REALLY went to crap, I could always bail out and opt for typing (again, spelling/grammar probably terrible). It was the best way to ensure that I got to see every actor that I wanted to see.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a perfect solution, as technology has the tendency to be somewhat unreliable…

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and let’s not forget that it’s great to audition actors in the flesh. But I definitely feel that some windows of opportunity were held open with a little help from a fibre optic cable.

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I’ve also read that this is becoming quite a common practice for all productions, at least in the preliminary stages of casting anyway but I wonder if it will ever become THE standard procedure for auditions and if so, will more Deaf/HoH actors be seen?

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That sounds too much like the beginnings of a debate for my liking, so I’m getting outta here but remember this; with online casting AND regular casting I was able to “have my cake and eat it”, actor wise!

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Now it’s the hard part, choosing the best actor for the role…when exactly do we get to the easy part?

Teresa is a freelance film maker, photographer and full time cynic. At school, she was voted “Most likely to end up in a lunatic asylum”, a fate which has thus far been avoided. Her pet hates are telephones, intercoms and all living things.

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Posted in: teresa garratty