First of all, I would like to thank everyone who participated in our auditions/tryouts in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Bellbrook over the last several weeks. In total we had nearly 250 player/actors participate, and were pleasantly surprised at both the baseball and acting talent we saw.
Now for the difficult part. We must begin the selection process to find player/actors who can play smaller roles in the film with what will be a primary cast of well-known and experienced Hollywood actors. In addition, we must find 3 Dylan Michaels.
Given the time, and in many cases, the donations, some of you made to our Crowd Funding initiative, I feel the responsibility to provide you some detail as to how this process will move forward over the next several weeks and months. However, I want to make clear that making a donation to Last at Bat the Movie IS NOT a determining factor in our cast selection. (However we do reserve the right to light a candle to those who donate to our film, place them on our Wall of Fame and update them as to our progress.) In short, casting is too important to the film's long term success to be based on who donates and who does not.
The selection process will be predicated on several factors and vary significantly based on the role we want to cast. In the case of players, including the 3 actors we are looking for to play Dylan, baseball ability is an important part of the selection process. In other words, if the acting ability of two players is equal we would most likely select the better ball player for a particular role.
For the Dylan role we will be looking for both significant acting potential and baseball talent.
For smaller non-player speaking roles we will be looking for those who provide "the look" we need and have the ability to be "acted up" by our Director, Jijo Reed.
The next step in the process will be to have a series of call-backs from the group of 250 player/actors who attended our tryouts. We will be sending email notices within the next week to ten days to those we feel can play speaking roles in our film. However, prior to casting anyone in the film, we will be conducting 3 table reads of the Last at Bat script over the next several weeks. In reality, these are more than table reads, they are what we call Scripted Performances.
Scripted is kind of a play, kind of a rehearsal, and kind of an audition. Specifically, we will invite many who attended our tryouts to read their parts in front of a live audience. They will do so with several experienced local professional actors and will be directed during the performance, again in front of an audience. Given time restraints, we do not read the entire script, but rather we select 15-20 scenes from the script and have the actors read those scenes while on stage under the pressure of the director, writer, and audience watching and listening. It may not be for everyone.
Further, we will likely invite several actors/players to read the same parts during each performance. For instance, in the book and script we have a character named Doc. It is likely we will ask 3-4 "Docs" to read scenes during a performance.
Another interesting aspect of Scripted is we ask for immediate audience feedback. And we even allow audience participation whereby someone in the audience who thinks they may be a future Academy Award winner can come on stage and cold read a part of the script. They usually find it's not as easy as it looks.
Scripted is a valuable tool in our selection process because it allows us to see actors under the pressure of a live audience and also gain valuable input from that audience as to our story, plot, character development and overall continuity of the script.
However, in addition to the speaking roles we will be looking for, we will also need scores of non-speaking walk-on/extra roles filled including Dylan's teammates, his opponents, fans in the stands, waitresses, desk clerks, reporters, etc. Obviously, we could fill these roles by placing ads in the papers and I am sure we will be overwhelmed with those interested in being in a film. However, I promise to give those who attended our tryouts first shot (dare I call that "First at Bat") at these roles.
At this point we consider each of you part of the Last at Bat team and whether you earn a speaking role or that of a fan gawking at Dylan as he walks past you, (we will be looking for good gawkers), we want to give you the opportunity to help us make, and if possible, be in the next great baseball movie. To some extent you have already done your part by attending our tryouts and we sincerely thank you for your time and hard work.
Please keep checking our web site for the list of those who we will be asking to attend Scripted performances and wish them luck.
June 19, 2015