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So you wanna make an indie film....

Casting (last blog / next blog)
by Michael Neel & Greg Ansin

Know the characters in your story. The right actors will make your film. They will also make your life as a director much easier.


Casting is an important step in making your film.

Using your roommate or close buddy might work out but most people with little to no acting experience end up being really bad and hurting your movie. Acting is more than just saying the lines – what the actors do when they aren't speaking are often the most important aspects of a role. So you have to buckle down and do some casting...

SAG versus NON-SAG. Using a Screen Actor Guild actor is not as hard as it seems but it does involve some paper work and tax withholdings. So if this scares you, you might want to use non-union actors or have someone help you. The SAG people who deal with indie filmmakers are really nice, and they want to see your project get made. The quality of SAG actors is fantastic -- that is the big benefit of using them. Also, any named actor is most likely part of SAG.

Define the roles you are looking for. Make a listing for the characters needed. Start spreading the word, either through web posting, word of mouth, or a casting agency. Make your side scripts (sample scenes from the script) for the readings. When you are choosing side scripts, pick one or two scenes that show the emotional range of the character – you want to make sure that the actor can do every emotion the part asks for, not just one element.

If the part includes a lot of fx makeup (which can be time consuming and uncomfortable) or difficult physical acting (i.e. action/chase scenes), make sure the actors know about it ahead of time.

Pick an audition date(s). Email each actor side scripts and directions at least 48 before shoot.

On casting days, make sure to schedule different times for each audition. Don't have everyone show up at one time. A good actor will be on time or five minutes early to an audition. Have enough crew on hand so they can handle early arrivals if you are conducting an audition.


Take a still picture (or 2) of the talent with ID card. So you know who they are. Seems basic?
We forgot a bunch and it sucks going back through old contact info.

Have a casting notebook - for all contact info, head shot and notes. As always give all actors your contact info (business card).


A business card with your contant information is a must.

Video tape the audition (not for public airing). You never know when you'll be looking for a good actor, even someone you liked but didn't give a part.

Take a few still photos with slate for ID the audition. After the auditions, this will help you remember what each actor looks like.


Our point and shoot camera. Keep it on you at all time. Takes video in a pinch.

For all the actors you aren't going to cast, it is important to call them and tell them. Its a small world out there and you never know when you are going to need someone for a future project. Many indie films don't contact anyone they aren't going to use, and actors always appreciate the effort (even if they didn't get the part).

You'll know the best actors right away.

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What they are saying about the Drive-In Horrorshow....

"10 out of 10"
- From Infernal Dreams

"Drive-In Horrorshow delivers a visual feast of blood splatter and clever storytelling."
- From Fangoria

"Drive-In Horrorshow takes the anthology and juices it fully with five unique stories that range from clever comedy to dark body horror."
- From Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense

"A well made anthology of short films."
- Zombie Movie Database

"Highly recommended for those who want to confront the monsters under the bed of their childhood. And as always find them scary."
- From I 400 Calci (translated from Italian)

"The general tone of this film struck me, because I've seen real passion for the genre."
- From Ulteriorit Precedente (translated from Italian)

"This is a high recommend from me, very entertaining and obviously done by filmmakers who love the genre. Long live the horror anthology!"
- From McBastard's Mausoleum

"Drive in Horror Show is–WITHOUT A DOUBT–the greatest horror anthology since George Romero's Creepshow"
- From Planet Fury

"I can't stop singing its praises."
- From Rogue Cinema

"If you like horror anthologies pick this one up, there's something for everyone here."
- From Deadly Indie Drive-In

"Every now and then a movie will come out that knocks you socks off and with its originality, creativity and magnetic appeal- well Drive in HorrorShow is that flick."
- From Angry Princess

"With a solid lineup of 5 stories that range from the serious to seriously goofy, Drive-In Horrorshow is the perfect film for a Friday night. Or any night for that matter."
- From Planet of Terror

"A tasty little anthology in the vein of Creepshow or Trick 'r Treat, Drive-In Horrorshow is a nifty treat of a film, well worth checking out." 
- From Radiation-Scarred Reviews

"A cut above the rest and slice of incredible independent filmmaking." 
- From Horrornews.net

"One of the most entertaining horror anthologies I have seen in a while."
- From KillingBoxx

"The horror world is a fickle beast but Drive-In Horror Show manages to walk the lines of the subgenres without missing a beat. It's appeal reaches to horror fans of all types."
-Bill Fulkerson from Outside The Cinema

"Celebrates the long-lost beauty of the drive-in theater and all its bloody glory."
- From Basement Screams

"A slick five tale anthology film that was independently made and a reminder of cool shit we used to see on late night TV when we were kids."
- From Gross Movie Reviews

"A good throw back to the late night creature feature."
- From Cinema Fromage

"Top notch effects that invoke fear and comedy at the same time.  I really really like this movie."
- Podcast at Movie Fan House

"Fantastic." 
-Podcast at Horrorstuff

Other Press:

"The horror! But that's what he seeks."
- The Boston Globe talks with the filmmakers

"What motivated you and Michael Neel to make the transition from candid interviews and political documentaries to ghoulish gore horror?"
- Pamela Torres at Punk Globe interviews DIHS producer Greg Ansin

"Wowzers! That really sounds like some good shit!"
- Arrow In The Head is psyched for the release of DIHS

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