Walking into one of the on campus buildings and seeing actors with crumpled scripts in their hands, mumbling under their breath was a sight. I could quite literally feel the buzz in the air of nerves and excitement and hope that maybe they could get the part they desired. Then I stepped into the room where Wells, Tyler, Becca, and Mia were and it all seemed so formal, something reminiscent of what you’d imagine the big leagues would look like minus, for me at least, the intimidating people behind the desks.
The actors then came in with new pairings each time. Boy A with Girl C, Boy A with Girl B, Girl D with Boy B and so on and so forth. Every time a new pair came in as Skylar and Jake I saw a new version of the characters. They all would speak the same lines every time, but somehow each rendition was refreshing when it easily could have been a dragging and dry process. The actors had different physicality’s, different means of letting the words move through their bodies. Mannerisms shifted from each Jake to the next due to the style of acting and general personality each actor had and Skylar turned into someone I felt like I knew so well.
From a third party perspective, I found myself shifting favorites constantly because the acting brought the two dimensional words to vivid creation. Just when I had thought I found my favorite Skylar and Jake, a new one would pop up, on and on making me see just how difficult it is to choose a pair when so many viable options to bring the film to life were right in front of the production team. And as my favorite Jake and Skylar read with different actors I could see them editing and revising their portrayal of the characters to fit what made most sense to them.
This process did begin to show the difficulties of making a student film. During this time the final script hadn’t been written and some of the team members hadn’t read the most recent draft meaning that casting for them would be slightly more arduous due to them not knowing the newest version of the character. Working towards the same goal but with different means of getting there was a common theme in the conversation that followed the callbacks. “You have a movie, she has a different movie, she has a different movie, and I have a totally different movie,” Wells said when they were talking about who would best fit the main character roles. Tyler agreed that the differentiation that all four of them had was an obstacle that needed to be taken care of. “We need to define the roles better between the four of us,” he said.
With a group of four strong minded individuals it was trying at times to nail down what they all wanted. “We should just focus and get this over with,” Mia said when the conversation was straying too far. I sat there the entire time and just listened, taking in all of it and in truth, the whole thing went over much more smoothly than it could have. The four production team members are people I consider friends and despite their strong opinions and specific visions for the film, they came together and nailed down six amazing actors who would be such a joy to work with on all account.
Now, meet Skylar and Jake: Jillian Wessel and Shaun Nerney.