Last week I had to attend some auditions for a character in my next feature. It's been a difficult role to cast. She's a fairly complex character that has to convey several different moods and drop a fair amount of exposition.
I had a pretty clear idea of what I was looking for before we jumped into the auditions and I'd managed to narrow down the number of people we were seeing already. But the shortlist was good and I didn't really go in having a clear favourite.
In fact, I was sincerely hoping that the audition process would make it pretty easy to come to a decision. Having had such a clear view of what I wanted the character to be my thinking was that, with the script and information given, the actors would be able to perform and obvious best choice would emerge.
That didn't happen.
In fact, what happened instead was three very distinct takes on the character, all of whom didn't really come close what I'd envisioned and yet brought something so interesting to the performance that I was left wondering if we'd have to do this again in a week or so.
After the first audition I thought, "well, that's going to be hard to top. The performance was really good and she had a really good grip on the character and it felt real. Awesome! This is going to be easy!"
But then the second one showed up and delivered something so completely left field and yet so brilliant that... well, it was evidently going to be harder than I thought.
By the time the final one showed up I was at a total loss. They were absolutely superb. None of them were the same. None of them had any real negatives but all of them had a lot of positives.
My days since then have been spent agonising over my notes, avoiding the subject and flip flopping back and forth from actor to actor. What a tough decision.
I even considered just looking at who lives the closest. Just to narrow it down again.
Auditions are a really tough and terrifying prospect for the actor in question but no one ever mentions how difficult it is the other side (not that I'm comparing the two. The actors have a much harder time).
Now I have to make a decision, and whatever decision I make some of these brilliant and talented actors aren't going to get the role. I want to make sure I make the right one, not just for the sake of the film but for the sake of them as well.
But they were all so good... man, this is hard.