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Andrea - Showing At The Best Dam Short Film Festival

Studio FiveSix was selected to show our first short film, Andrea, at the Best Dam Short Film Festival in Boulder City.  Andrea shows on Feb. 15th in the 8:15pm block of films.  We're very excited to be included and are happy that our premiere showing is going to be in neighboring Boulder City.  There was a good deal of work and planning that went into creating Andrea, mainly because it was our first narrative piece and we were finding our way through the process.  Since then we have shot a second short film called Maybe Tomorrow that is still in post production but will be out shortly.  We'll be at the festival this weekend so if you are there, stop by and say hi.

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Cast Away - Casting A Short Film

At FiveSix we do video productions of all types including corporate storytelling, commercial, reality, social media, political, event, documentary and short narrative films.  The last one in that list is fairly new to us and I'd like to chat about how the casting was done in a entirely different manner than our normal process.

FiveSix ProductionsFIVESIX Productions For most of our productions in town we use local talent.  There is a good pool of models, actors and actresses in Las Vegas to choose from.  We normally utilize the local agencies and find a group that fit our demographics for each project.  Then, together with our client, we choose the talent that fits the look and feel we're going for.  We call the finalists in for an audition, all in one day, and then pick the final group.  This happens within a day or two.  It's a fairly simple process and one that we have become quite efficient in over the years.

Now, when we started casting for the short films, it was different in two main ways.  The first was that the entire production was financed by FiveSix.   We didn't have the budget to bring in talent agencies and pay the costs that go along with using their services.  A different route was needed.  With a little research we discovered that there are plenty of great resources on-line that give you access to thousands of talented actors and actresses.  Sites such as Backstage and Casting Networks are great communities that help both producers and talent match together on a project.  We ended up posting our projects on and having a great pool of talent to choose from.  We were able to advertise our day rate for each role and get only those people willing to work for that rate.  It helped tremendously in budgeting for the films.

The second main difference in casting for the short films was that we searched over the entire country and not just locally.  This brought us a couple of challenges.  We ended up doing many auditions through recorded video and not in person.  One of the best parts about casting live is that you can ask questions and try giving different direction with lines.  You can get a general feeling of how the actor moves with you as you craft a role.  This isn't so easy with a recorded audition.  We found that we were able to quickly get a feeling about a particular role when auditioning in person but with recorded auditions it took many more views and lengthy discussions within our team.  I would always advocate for in-person auditions but when you're on a tight budget and quick timeline, that's not always possible.

Moving forward, due to our ability to find what we were looking for through the on-line talent sites, I think we'll utilize both local agencies and on-line communities for any future auditions.  On a last note, casting is fun but also difficult for all parties involved as it brings about more rejections than acceptance.  I admire anyone who is willing to put themselves out there like that and audition for a role.  Good luck!

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What We Learned

Last week FiveSix Productions had the opportunity to work with some of our friends and associates on a short film; reference last weeks' blog. All joking and silliness aside, here's what we learned from a very cool and fun experience.

It's hot as fresh pancakes and sausage here in Vegas during the summer... I mean, c'mon!

Don't let the film Training Day fool you, it's not that easy to shoot inside of a vehicle, especially when it's moving. The lighting was one of the trickiest aspects, as our run-n-gun, guerilla style shooting kept us on our toes both during the day, and at night.

Audio inside a vehicle was easier than expected; I posted a video a long time ago in a blog that showed how to do audio in a car, and it was pretty spot on. I was pretty nervous about capturing quality audio early on, but it really wasn't as tough as I thought. (All due respect to our pro-audio friends.)

C.R.E.A.M.: All hail Wu Tang Clan, those guys are spot on, cash rules everything around me.... When you're talent is working for free, sometimes they don't show up. We only had a couple actors who weren't able to make it; but fortunately we had a lot of very eager, talented folks who came though and did a great job.

Scheduling and shot lists are crucial! Even on a short film, time is so valuable, and it's very easy to fall behind. Make sure to storyboard! There's no such thing as over-prepared.

Now, I can't speak for the director/star of the film, but I'm sure stepping out of his comfort zone to direct a short narrative was a great learning experience, as I'm sure was staring as talent. He'll basically be the Robert Rodriguez of this film as he'll also be the editor. All in all, it was a cool experience that took us from hot Vegas streets, to neon lights, and even left some of us pant-less in a dingy motel room on the Strip... So, while we eagerly await the final cut, we'll proceed on to the next project... With pants on, this time.