In eight grade I had to audition for my English classes rendition of Macbeth. The role: one of the Three Witches aka the Weird Sisters. I was slightly sweaty at the thought of auditioning and despite my audition being three or so lines I was losing my absolute mind waiting for the end of class when our teacher would watch us do our thing. So I got up there, took in a breath, and said, “No thanks I don’t want to do this. Can’t I just be the head of marketing?” I’m kidding. I auditioned because I had to and I sucked terribly and it was all a blur that I’ve been trying to erase for the past five years. But, I did become the head of marketing and man, did I do a good job. All the middle schoolers and their parents came out to see our haphazard performance of one of the worlds greatest plays. On the Run isn’t a haphazard performance and none of the actors who auditioned sucked. It was all pretty magical and I’m here to tell you just how it went.
On their Facebook page for the film, the production team put up a Google document for time slots where actors could audition. In the previous weeks they had had posters placed up around campus denoting the basics of the film and on October 25th they had a period of several hours in which they would have actors audition in hopes of getting one of the six available roles.
Those roles included:
- Skylar, the female lead
- Jake, the male lead
- Stephanie, a supporting female role (Jake’s little sister)
- Lea, a supporting female role (Skylar’s friend)
- Addie, a supporting female role (also Skylar’s friend)
- and Riley, a supporting male role (Jake’s friend)
When an actor came into the room they were asked to fill out a questionnaire of sorts, which can be seen below.
After they filled out the form and handed it to one of the production team members, their photo, with their name written above their head, was taken by Wells. This was just used as reference to put a name to the face when looking at their notes. After the photo the actors would then perform a short monologue. It was interesting for me as an outsider to both the production and theater worlds to see this take place because each audition was completely different from the previous. Some actors chose comedic monologues, others chose more dark pieces to convey their acting talents to the production team.
The next part of the audition revolved around the actual On the Run script. Actors were handed a portion of the script with Skylar’s lines highlighted if the actor identified as female and if they identified as male, then the script had Jake’s lines highlighted. Before they began the audition they looked it over and could ask any questions about the characters overall personality, life story, etc. One of the production team members would set the scene for the section of the script the actors were reading from and then it was show time.
As stated before, I can’t act but to see someone pick up a script and read it over for a minute or two and then manage to become their own version of the character had me in awe. The first day of auditions, before callbacks, was meant to solely looking at acting ability and whether that actor could bring to the table what was necessary for the role. Then as they finished they were asked their availability for filming and were told they would be sent an email about whether or not they got a callback.
The aftermath of each audition consisted of whether the actor who just auditioned had the right look, personality, etc. Each member of the production team had a say that was equal in importance and merit. When asked about if they had an idea of what they wanted exactly, they responded that while they had a relatively clear idea of Skylar and Jake, they were willing to be fluid with their casting.
In Mia’s words, “casting is give and take and helps makes the vision for the movie more real.”
Seeing the actors reading parts I found myself becoming immersed and invested in the plot of the film and in the two main characters. It was strange, and nothing like my Macbeth days, but it was my first taste of the time we would end up dedicating to the making of On the Run.