Sunday was the casting sessions for Short Ends. Annette had helped Matthew arrange us to hold the event at a bar called the Revolution Room. It's in the stretch of Yuppie wasteland on outer Broadway just before you get to Loop 410 where inane clubs such as The Rebar can be found. I can only assume that the Revolution Room, during hours of operation, cater to that crowd of men in leather trousers and pinky rings cruising for women with tall teased hair and Gucci Lolita bags all to the back beat of hackneyed pub rock with just enough blues added to have the denizens of cemeteries throughout the Mississippi delta spinning in perpetuity.
That's just my guess. However, on a Sunday afternoon, with us having the place to ourselves, the Revolution Room proved to be an incredibly groovy place. They weren't wasting the heat on us, and I could understand. So it was a bit chilly. And, as it was something of a raunchy bar, it took some of us a bit of time to get used to the stale beer smell. There is a bar in the front bit. Standard island where drinks are served with tables scattered about. A small stage to the side with a drum kit set up. The next room had benches along the walls and two or three pool tables. Down a short corridor, there is a long room with windows on one side. The cinder brick walls are painted aluminum. A bar and tables. A smaller room off to the side had a bar at the back. The ceiling had a barrel vault with red lights in brass nautical housings. Two benches ran the length, one on each side, strewn with pillows. Maroon brocade shot through with gold thread were hung over the pillowed benches. Very cool. If Captain Nemo ran a bordello (and I suspect he did), it would look like this.
Matthew separated the productions (there were six of us) throughout the place, so we could have a modicum of privacy to run our auditions. I was lucky enough to get Nemo's Pleasure Room. [I should go and add this to yesterday's posting where I vomited out some impromptu titles — and I really want to see Darren Aronofsky direct Nemo's Pleasure Room.] I had brought along my video camera, just in case. I wasn't really planning to audition people. I just wanted to interview some of the actors who showed up. But as I noticed that everyone else was breaking out a camera, I did the same. But I didn't bring a tripod. Nor did I bring any lights. This was a problem. Nemo gave me dim red light. There was a bit of fluorescent up above the bar area, but no brighter. I hauled in a floor lamp from another room.
Nikki had been conscripted to help out coordinating the actors. I'm so glad. It helped make things go smoothly. This is the sort of thing Nikki has done so often, she can practically do it with eyes closed. Or at least she gives us that impression.
The actors who showed up had already seen the list of our (the filmmakers) needs. Nothing much more than the basic gender and age range — with a few projects needing certain ethnicities. My casting needs were four men 18 to 22. The script call for one to be from Mexico, so I was also looking for a young Hispanic male who, hopefully was fluent in Spanish. I have already cast the lead female. And I needed someone to play her mom. So to match her look, I needed a 40 or 50 year old range anglo woman.
It was just me and Chris representing Production Number 4. (To streamline things, Matthew had assigned each film a number.) I was hoping to get a variety of young male actors. We didn't get that many coming into our little room. I think we might have had more women come in for the mom role.
But all in all we met a good range of talent. When Carlos gets back into town, we'll look at the video and hash things out.
One of the actors really stood out. He walked up to me and asked if this is the room for Production Number 4. At this point I didn't know what number I was. I couldn't imagine he was for our film, because he seemed to be clearly in his 30s. Maybe he could play mid-20s …. I found myself rambling if he knew the title of the film he was auditioning for. Chris tried helping out, saying ours was the romance film. But the guy didn't know. I told him to wait a moment, and I went to get conformation from Matthew or Nikki.
When I returned, confident now that we were number 4, the guy was gone. Chris didn't know where he'd gone to. I flagged Nikki down and asked her to find that guy again. He probably wouldn't fit the part because of his age, but I wanted to give everyone an opportunity. Besides, I want to see actors, dammit! And I really wish we could have had an entire day where ALL those actors gave readings on a stage, and all of us production people were in an audience to see who could do what — and the whole thing was video-taped, and available to us all online for reference. So even if someone wasn't fitting my current needs, they might be perfect down the line.
We got him back in the room.
I sat him down in the light and turned on my camera. From back in the shadows, Chris asked the guy if he knows his brother. It turns out that Chris' brother and this guy were best friends some years back. All I did was have a short conversation with him, but he exuded charisma. He's Jade Esteban Estrada. When I mentioned him later to Nikki, her face lit up. “Isn't Jade great?” Hell, yeah. I guess I'm still a new-comer here in San Antonio, but still, I feel I've spread myself thin enough throughout the arts, that I've seen most of the local talent. I'm constantly reminded that by no means is this the case.
I found myself wondering if the script can be modified so as to bring in Jade? We'll see what can happen. I spoke later with Andy. He told me that Jade auditioned for the film that he and Dago are working on. Andy had nothing but good things to say about Jade's smart and unexpected interpretation of the character he was reading for.
So, I think the casting session went quite well. I got to meet some new talented actors. And I saw the innards of a very cool bar, that could well be available as a location in which to shoot.
Oh, yeah, I finally had the opportunity to have a short conversation with Annette, who up to now is someone I have only nodded to in passing. A very sweet woman. And she looks exactly like her headshots — and they all look stunning.
A successful day. Well done Matthew.