Earlier this week we left off talking about whether your film could be headed towards a black hole which relates to idea of leadership of your team, and I mentioned that was one of the big lessons I learned in 2016.
So while we’re on the subject, another lesson I learned in 2016 relates to talent. Actually it was something I already knew but was reinforced again and again.
It’s so easy to believe that your script is just perfect for certain actors. I mean, during the writing process you often imagine actors playing the parts, and certainly when I’m reading a script I do the same.
However the reality is that these actors don’t know about your script. And they don’t know you. And even if you are making a paid offer to them through their agent, they have no emotional ties or connection to it. And so oftentimes I see filmmakers get really bummed out by pass after pass of their material…. I mean, they thought this role was just perfect for a particular actor, why can’t they see that!
The reality is it’s hard to get name actors engaged in your material. They are bombarded daily/weekly/monthly by scripts and offers. It doesn’t matter which contest your script won or you placed in. It takes time and lots and lots of patience to go through the process of waiting for actors to read your script (and see the genius in that character they are perfect for!).
One strategy I use as a producer to offset this is to back into my casting choices by tapping into existing agent and manager relationships – people I already know and who know me….people who I’ve done business with before so at least there’s some connection and attention paid to the material.
This very point underscores the value that a good producer or EP can bring to the table in the form of existing relationships. It’s hard enough to get talent engaged, at least by working with agents and managers you already know, there’s a chance your project will be taken seriously.
So that right there was a recurring lesson in 2016 for me working on projects with clients and having to talk people down from the ledge during the casting process. So often, there’s unrealistic expectations of who you can actually get – I mean really big unrealistic expectations. To the point that I just have to be frank with people and say – listen, it’s not going to happen, and then list the myriad reasons why we should waste our time going down that road.
I know many of you are on the packaging journey right now, so hopefully this resonates with some of you and you can course correct if necessary – change your perspective, or just simply process these ideas and see how they might apply to your own situation.
And on that note, I’ll wrap things up for today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead and I’ll speak to you again soon….