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How to hire a Big Name Actor/Actress


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#1 Randy J Tomlinson

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:07 PM

I was always tinking how would this work? Rookie Queston:

Lets assume i have a great script / great Story. And i know exactly what Actor or Actress i want for a specific Role. One of the Big Names, maybe Virginia Madsen, Bill Murray etc... (the list is long)

I believe if you are mot a member of the Actors Guild it is pretty difficult to aproach them? Or how would you do it? Just ring up their Agency and tell them you want Mr.X for a Audition for a Feature Film? Sending them the Script first or Part f it.... (so they can prepare)

And then? What if they love it and say yes? Contracts and so have to go thru Actors Guild i guess. Costs you thousands of $$$

How about to negotiate with the Actors "salary"? Talk to them directly or via Agency Attorney?

I have never done that but im curious how you approach this .

 

Randy


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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:17 PM


And then? What if they love it and say yes? Contracts and so have to go thru Actors Guild i guess. Costs you thousands of $$$

 

Not necessarily.  I believe Jessica Chastain & Michael Shannon did Take Shelter for the minimum SAG rate (at that time) which was $100/day. 

 

I would at least sign up for IMDb Pro so that you can have access to everyone's contact information.  It may or may not be the best way to go about it, but it's information at the very least.


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#3 Randy J Tomlinson

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:46 PM

 

Not necessarily.  I believe Jessica Chastain & Michael Shannon did Take Shelter for the minimum SAG rate (at that time) which was $100/day. 

 

I would at least sign up for IMDb Pro so that you can have access to everyone's contact information.  It may or may not be the best way to go about it, but it's information at the very least.

 

ooh i am not planing a big one. i am far from ready for that. im just curious. thank you for the advice, tough. very nice :-)


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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:15 AM

Well being a member of SAG has nothing to do with it.  You don't need to belong to SAG to hire an actor.

 

Typically a casting director will contact the actor's agent, and ask questions about rates, and availability.

 

If you want to hire a "big name" actor as a rookie filmmaker, well good luck with that.  Typically you won't get past the agent's assistant and then they'll just ignore you.  Mr Big Name actor certainly isn't going to come out and audition for your film! You can forget that idea.  BTW, many agencies now charge a substantial fee just to have the actor read the script, about $10, 000.00.

 

If you are not a Hollywood studio with a planned full scale theatrical release, you are not going to get very far. Sorry.

 

R,


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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:31 PM

http://filmmakermaga...s/#.UtcrdSyA2M9

 

If THIS guy did it, why can't you? Give it a shot, what do you got to loose?


Edited by James Steven Beverly, 07 February 2014 - 10:32 PM.

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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:05 AM

If you want to hire a "big name" actor as a rookie filmmaker, well good luck with that.  Typically you won't get past the agent's assistant and then they'll just ignore you. 

 

Yup, even if the acting talent in question is enthusiastic about being involved in the project!

The agents will be looking out to do "what's best" for their talent (and their bank balance).

 

You need to find a way to increase the status of the project in order to even be given the time of day.

 

Freya


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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:46 AM

Lets assume i have a great script / great Story. And i know exactly what Actor or Actress i want for a specific Role. One of the Big Names, maybe Virginia Madsen, Bill Murray etc... (the list is long)

 


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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 11:17 AM

http://filmmakermaga...s/#.UtcrdSyA2M9

 

If THIS guy did it, why can't you? Give it a shot, what do you got to loose?

 

Some interesting tips in there, but I have to disagree 100% with this idea.  Flat out lying is not a good idea and will blow up in the filmmakers face.  Also, openly making jokes about actors and their drug habits won't win you any friends.

 

"3. Aim High. So with that team on paper, we decided to tell people we were making the film for $2 or 3 million! This was in 2007-8, so it didn’t sound so crazy at the time. And at that budget, the prevailing wisdom was to offer something called “Schedule F” which SAG says is a $65,000 flat rate. Now of course, we didn’t have a dime. So that meant we were doing “finance contingent” casting. Which means some of the agents and managers will take you seriously (10% of $65k is still enough to support at least a small coke habit), so they’ll get someone in the office to do coverage on the script and it gets in the system."

 

R,


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#9 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 01:33 PM

Something else to consider: there a TON of unknowns out there that have plenty of talent.  They won't break the bank either.


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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 01:47 PM

Hiring name actors is just the beginning of the costs, you will also be paying fringes on top of the fee, plan on 15%.  You will also be paying *gasp* payroll taxes.  There is also first class air and hotel, which is mandated by SAG.  You will most likely be asked to pay the entire fee prior to the actor getting on the plane.  Novice producers usually forget about all the associated costs, and you can watch your post budget vanish in two seconds.  Also this name actor will most likely also ask that you fly in their significant other, that's another first class plane ticket you can add in.  Don't forget the limo pick-up at the airport.

 

The idea that "A-List" actors do micro-budget movies on a regular basis is really a misnomer.  Sure you read about some story in the trades where the 21 year old film school genius landed a huge name actor, whatever.  Or maybe a micro budget is doing a cause close to the actors heart.  We need to talk about reality and what is statistically relevant.

 

I should add that some genres work better with no names.  Doing a "slasher" pic?  Well an entire cast of no names keeps the audience guessing as to who's next.

 

R,


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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 02:00 PM

We need to talk about reality and what is statistically relevant.

 

I wish you'd take that attitude a bit more commonly. Recently we were all idiots for not being film producers, because, apparently, anyone can do it.


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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 02:29 PM

 

I wish you'd take that attitude a bit more commonly. Recently we were all idiots for not being film producers, because, apparently, anyone can do it.

 

This.....again?

 

Fine then, I'm smart and you're stupid.  Happy now?

 

R,


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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 02:59 PM

I'd rather you said something like "I'm more like Rupert Murdoch than you," which probably tells us all more about the realities of the situation.


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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 03:12 PM

Yes Phil, I have hacked your phone, rather boring conversations actually.

 

R,


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#15 Randy J Tomlinson

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 05:44 PM

BOY's...please. Don't fight. (make love, not war...uhm i meant make film, not war) :D

 

however, as i mentioned before i do not have plans for a big one. i was just currious. and all your answers helped me a lot.

i will continue my plans for nature film, animals, maybe in scandinavia filming wolfes or lions in africa...thats kinda stuff i wanna do.

or maybe going to mongolia or into the himalayas and do some landscape shots.


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#16 Matt Stevens

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:28 PM

Right now my first feature as a director is in serious jeopardy because our main investor has suddenly decided he wants a "big name star" to lead the film. His idea of a big name star is flat out delusional and all of us who have worked for one year with no pay are about to kill someone or some thing.

 

Of course, this genius investor believes we need to do this on our own so he will not pay for a casting director. "Just call James Franco! He'll love the script!" Yeah, sure. No problem you moronic tool. Never mind we'll never get past his agent's assistant or secretary. 

 

The thing is, we already have the commitment of a name Asian star. I knew someone who knew her and was able to slip the script on over. She loved it, we talked, she came on board and everything we need to shoot in her country is lined up. It all came together like clockwork. 

 

But to get a green light we need to cast a name for the male lead. An American actor who is known to the general public. If we want the 400 grand we need, then we have to meet that demand. 

 

The issue is if we want access we need a casting director. Simple as that. Believe me, we have been doing the legwork and our co-producer is experienced and a huge help, but he's just thrown up his hands. And I don't blame him. It's likely our entire production will collapse because of an investor being unwilling to spend a few grand that needs to be bleeping spent. 

 

We were supposed to start shooting May 1. That probably won't happen. Do I sound pissed? Hope so. I am.


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#17 Richard Boddington

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 11:04 PM

I feel your pain Matt, honestly I do.  Having been through this many times.

 

If 400K is the entire budget, then a "big name" actor is going to be very tough.  Even B-grade TV level stars that do MOWs are quoting out for 75-100K per week, easy.

 

I would say to Mr. Investor....please list for me all of the big name American stars that were in Slumdog Millionaire.  Hmmm, can't name a single one can you?  Of course because there were none.  How much money did that movie make? How many Oscars? Including best picture.  Name actors are always a risk.  Sometimes the movie tanks just as bad with them aboard and nothing can save a poor script and direction.

 

R,


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#18 Richard Boddington

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 11:06 PM

BOY's...please. Don't fight. (make love, not war...uhm i meant make film, not war) 

 

Don't mind us Randy.

 

R,


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