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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Casting Brief Q9: Individual Character Brief

For the entire List of casting questions go back to
Casting Brief



Question 9: Individual Character Brief

This is a brief given by the director to the casting director about what they are looking for in each individual character. It is the directors perception of what they want the character to look like or act in a certain manner which would help to enhance  the character, this is what the casting director needs to pass on or get out of the actor at the audition.

Sometimes a the character brief is written down so that it can be be shared with the actor so that they can prepare themselves for the role. These are usually one page briefs and are not to be followed literately by the actors but the essence of the character is usually summed up in this brief. Briefing of characters in this manner is mostly done in feature films more than advertising. The reason for that is not always the entire set of people being casted will get to read the entire script and in order to understand the character this description is important. Usually first round of auditions happen only on the basis of one scene that has been given and to be fair to the actor it is important for the actor to know what the role includes.

The brief which like I said is a one page description, which in short says everything about the character like RAHUL (name of character) who is 28 yrs old, decent looking, coming from a lower middle class, has had to struggle for everything in life, right from education to even making friends, he is currently going through a tough time, having lost his job and his girlfriend having dumped him for a richer guy, he now stands at the bus stop where he has just seen a robber hide a bag full of money on the top of the roof, what does rahul do.. 
The scene given to the actor at the audition is the scene where Rahul is standing at the bus stop. This examples shows that the actor has been giving just enough to know how to play the part without revealing too much of the plot of the script. Some times the directors brief could be specifics like may be the character should try a lisp while talking, or a foreign accent, or something like a small limp while walking or even as simple as try the audition with and without specs.



It is not necessary to have a detailed brief for each of the characters to be cast, but helps in giving the casting director some direction to what the director is looking for. It is therefore important for the casting director to have read the entire script and know the story well, cause actors will have a few more questions about the character after reading the brief, of course the casting director has be careful while reveling information not to let out too much of the plot of the movie.

There are times when no brief is given as the director wants to see what the actor brings to the table, some of the most memorable characters we see on film are things that the actor would have brought to the audition sometimes even unknowingly.




For answer to the previous question see
Casting Brief Q8: Competitive Brands

Read on for the next question
Question 10: Any reference to any character / actor?


or go back to Casting Brief page to read the other questions.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Casting Brief Q8: Competitive Brands

For the entire List of casting questions go back to
Casting Brief



Question 8: Which competitive brands worked on by the actor are to be kept in mind?


This question is only for commercials. Like I said in the case of contracts, the actor at the time of auditioning has to declare if they have acted in any competitive brand. It is best that the actor mentions most of his work that he has done so that there is no confusion in future. Even if there was no contract executed, the actor should reveal this and when the commercial was released.

Competitive brands are not just the same category but sometimes extend to the parent company as well, for eg, The Coca-Cola company India owns the following brands - Coca-Cola, Fanta Orange, Limca, Sprite, Thums up, Kinley, Maaza, Minute Maid Pulpy Orange, Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh, etc...
while PepsiCo India includes - Pepsi, 7UP, Nimbooz, Mirinda, Slice, Mountain Dew, Aquafina etc..
so while all of these are not cola drinks there are times when the parent company insists that the cast for the upcoming commercial has not done any competitive brands like in the above example. Coca-Cola sometimes insists that the cast should not have done any of the Pepsi brands and vice versa. For some of the brands the rules are a bit relaxed and the 'Actor not acted in Competitive Brand' does not mean all the brands like if an actor has acted for the water / soda brand like Aquafina / Kinley they may be excused for the cola brand... All this depends on the rules given out by the client at the time of briefing. Competitive brands are sometimes also generalised like health drinks could also sometimes be counted as competition in the above case.



Also what role does the actor play in the competitive commercial is important, if they are the lead or just part of a crowd, basically how clearly was the face seen and remembered and when was the film released. How long back did the competitive commercial stop airing. If it was a while back like 2 years or so it does not get considered.

It is in the best interest of all that the actor at the audition truthfully says which competitors they have worked for, and even better if the casting director knows if the actor was involved in a competitive ad and make sure that is declared. The best way is to get each actor to sign a undertaking at the audition that they have not been involved in the mentioned brands and for the time when that commercial was made.

All in all it is important that the casting director gets briefed clearly on which Brands the actors should have not done, and if done then how long back and he in turn, makes the actor sign an undertaking of the same.





For answer to the previous question see
Casting Brief Q7: Contract

Read on for the next question
Question 9: Individual character brief?


or go back to Casting Brief page to read the other questions.




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