This week Casting Networks caught up with the folk at Outward Film Network (OFN), a Midlands and London based filmmaking organisation that boast support for low and no budget filmmaking. Their remit is to support all those filmmakers who can’t reach the general population because they just don’t have the funds or support. What a great idea. So here we talk with one of the founders, Matthew Simmonds, about what they offer, how they can help actors and filmmakers, and what’s coming up for OFN.
Casting Networks: So can you tell us a little about Outward Film Network and how it came to be?
Outward Film Network: The Outward Film Network was setup to support, produce, and promote films shot on a no/low budget. Heading Outward is Matthew Simmonds, David Woods, and Phil Slatter. We’ve been making movies (short and feature) and writing about film for over fifteen years.
Outward looks to embrace an approach to making film that’s often considered as being amateur or “student” filmmaking. We don’t think it’s beneficial to be catagorised, we can’t afford to compete with indie films (20k + budget), and to be catagorised as amateur creates an even greater disconnect. Influenced by movements such Dogme 95 and mumblecore, we like to discuss and make films that don’t fall into the “indie” or “industry” category.
After yet another smashing night of Manchester ADP’s supremely popular event ‘Scripts Aloud’ I’ve spoken to four of the key players: Jaki McCarrick, writer of the engaging and heartbreaking Bohemians; Kyle Walker, the soul performer in the emotional journey that is My Man (written by Kenton Thomas); and the two wonderful women who make all of it possible—Hannah Ellis and Diana Macleod.
We asked each of them the simple question:
How do these ADP read throughs benefit you?
Diana Macleod – Producer
Producing ADP is such a buzz. It’s really lovely to be able to create opportunities for people to do what they love. To see all the hard work come together at each show always leaves me on a high (I usually can’t sleep that night!). I’m an actor too and producing ADP has opened doors that probably never would have been open to me before.
The main thing for me is the community that it’s created. I’m relatively new to Manchester, and it’s been a really great way to make friends and get to know other creatives. ADP really does feel like a big family!
Storytelling is hot. I think it’s been hot now for quite some time, so maybe I should say hotter? But that doesn’t sound quite right. You get the idea. I had a terrific plan to follow the heat and catch The Moth GrandSLAM in downtown Los Angeles and share my experience with you, but it was sold out. Remember, storytelling is hot! So I searched the internet for an alternative. I landed on Rant & Rave at the Rogue Machine Theatre. Something like Mortified would have been a closer Moth match, but Rant & Rave is a storytelling-ish show and I was going!
Rogue describes the show as, “An ongoing art project where prose finds voice.” They select a group of Los Angeles writers, give them a topic word (the January show was “ESCAPE”), and a 20ish minute time limit—as far as I can tell—and the writers get up and deliver their own words. The show runs one Monday evening per month and I believe it always sells out. It runs about two hours and there is an intermission. That’s the deal.
New additions to our Sides functionality provide casting directors improved security and oversight on shared materials. You can now choose to share your sides and documents with all representatives, or with only those whose talent have auditions. If posting roles to the Casting Billboard, casting now has the ability to share files directly with talent by selecting “Post sides publicly on Casting Billboard.”
*Materials uploaded prior to this release will remain visible to all representatives by default and will not be posted publicly on the Casting Billboard.
- The privacy of the information you share is important to us. New changes to the role release mean there is no default selection for releasing a specific role to Casting Billboard. Select “Yes” if you wish to receive public submissions for a role and “No” if you wish to release the role only to representation.
- Size Sheets can now display talent email addresses! Choose “Show Contact Info” when generating a Schedule Size Sheet or Session Size Sheet Report and the email will display immediately beneath the talent phone number.
- New project types include Music, Talk Show and Studio Audience.
- Issues caused when talent are listed as a Callback Select in an archived role have been resolved.
- Users should no longer encounter an error when selecting multiple criteria in our Advanced Search.
- Submission notes are now viewable when viewing filtered talent.
Each talent’s email address will now appear within your Audition Call List, so you can instantly identify talent who will not receive forwarded auditions through your account.
Look for Sides and Documents to now be posted within role details in the project overview:
Talent now have the ability to list the following as skills, abilities, or preferences:
- Driver’s License
- Motorcycle License
- Stand-Up Comedy
Paul Andrew Williams is a British film writer and director who won Edinburgh International Film Festival’s New Director’s Award, Raindance’s Best Feature, a BIFA, and Evening Standard British Film Awards’ Best Newcomer for his film London to Brighton in 2006, as well as BAFTA nominations. Paul then went on to receive a host of nominations for Song for Marion in 2012. Paul has since gone on to work on a number of British television shows, as well as developing and creating other projects. Paul joined Casting Networks this month to speak very frankly about the British film industry and how he has navigated his way to success.
CNI: You’ve been working solidly as a director for many years now, with London to Brighton being your big breakout directorial feature debut. How have you found it, going from film to film, as you’ve climbed the director ladder in the UK?
London to Brighton
Paul Andrew Williams: I would have to say that there has been no climb. I think I’m very lucky to have treaded water for such a long period of time. I have made four feature films and three television programmes. That is over the last 12 years, and in the time I wasn’t working on a particular project, I have been writing, with some projects getting further than others. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about certain decisions made, and how they have changed my path in both positive and negative ways. It’s definitely my vocation, so I will keep trying to do stuff that I feel positive about, and hope someone employs me.
CNI: Ever a fan of your work, we recently saw a domestic violence short you made called Do You See Her starring Tessa Peake-Jones, Phil Davis, and Anne-Marie Duff. How did that short film come about? And how did you get involved with the organisation Womansaid?
Off the corner of Deansgate, in the great city of Manchester, hidden away amongst the arches of old car showrooms, there seems to be an abundance of talented thespians making a racket. I blame 53two and it’s seemingly never ending schedule of events taking the fringe community in Manchester by storm in its maiden year as an Arts Venue.
After birthing its own night of fleeting theatre, ‘North South Shorts,’ then becoming a temporary venue to the old power that is JB shorts, 53two has now played host to Scott Devon’s poetically written When Both Sides Surrender.
The writing was described as Shakespeare meets A Clockwork Orange. I must start this review by conceding that I would not class myself as a fan of Shakespeare, however I am certainly a fan of Mr. Stanley Kubrick, so I had mixed feelings as I entered the theatre.
Richard Cooper and Kaeran Dooley should be proud, first for a wonderfully creative set incorporating a burnt out car, graffiti, battered steel, and decaying sofas that set the tone for the performance. Second, because these production aspects were matched in their quality by the costume and props, from the ‘trackies’ all the way to the police riot gear.
I imagine getting a new musical ready to be Broadway-worthy is a challenge. There’s a long list of things that need to be great to feel really good about a musical. Book, music, lyrics, choreography, cast, set, etc. Amélie, A New Musical made its debut at the Berkeley Rep with the Ahmanson as the next, and last, temp home on the path to Broadway. I think Broadway audiences will be grateful for the additional LA pitstop and the opportunity to check off a few more boxes on the list of musical must haves. Unfortunately, it’s a little sparse at the moment.
I’m not sure I’ve met a person who has seen the 2001 French film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant who didn’t fall in love with it. I loved it. I also couldn’t tell you anything about it other than it was magical, REALLY magical, and that I loved Audrey Tautou. The magic hasn’t quite made it to the stage, certainly not at the film levels we are all hoping for, though Phillipa Soo as Amélie has the Audrey T. look and feel (not to mention a great resume with the wildly popular Hamilton right at the top), but just doesn’t fill the shoes . . . yet.
Casting Networks International are very excited to be guest curators in the upcoming programme at the Actors Centre, the UK’s leading organisation which supports actors throughout their careers.
We will be bringing a range of workshops Q&A’s and events to the Actors Centre in their January – March 2017 programme. In addition, Equity and the Actors Centre will also be presenting a series of events and workshops to highlight, explore and celebrate the importance of greater diversity in the arts, as part of the Equity Play Fair season. Most notably they will be hosting a panel discussion on casting and diversity which Casting Networks International are delighted to be a part of.
We will be hosting a number of events in the programme open to Actors Centre members, including an informal question and answer session with casting director Manuel Puro (Moon, Northern Soul), a how to self-tape workshop, plus a commercial casting workshop where actors will receive live feedback.
The programme will be launched at an exclusive Actors Centres members networking evening at the Actors Centre from 6pm on Tuesday 3 January. So if you are a member make sure you come along!
If you are not a member of the Actors Centre and would like to find out more, you can check out their website: www.actorscentre.co.uk
See you there!
I love theatre. All kinds of theatre. Sometimes I like to shake things up and take a break from the traditional 99 seat theatre ( . . . or 2000 seat, whatever) with a world premiere or revival of a classic to check out one of the many sketch/comedy/improv venues Los Angeles has to offer. There’s something about the team effort and collaboration that I love. You never quite know what you’re going to see and I find that exciting. Sometimes my socks are blown off and other times I’m mildly amused, but I’m usually glad I got my tail in a seat for an hour.
TMI at the Acme Comedy Theatre in Hollywood should be added to the list if it isn’t on yours already. The show was created in 2012 by Second City folks to counter a politically minded show filled with topics from around the world that affect us all. Therefore, TMI was created to provide the stories we actually want, but don’t need, and certainly don’t want to admit to it. Sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it? They say it’s a cross between TMZ and SNL from the 70’s and 90’s (poor, poor 80’s) and that seems about right to me. Over the four years it’s been running, there have been 150-ish shows, 80-ish writers, 130-ish actors, and 140-ish celebrity guest stars! That kind of history and man/woman power is reason alone to check it out, or check it out again.
Have you ever been on set and realised how much waste there is, that perhaps you should be making more of a conscious effort to recycle? Being green when it comes to media production is never straightforward, but there are ways you can help the environment – both obvious and not so obvious. Ad Green is a new initiative set up by Jo Coombes specifically for commercial production. We spoke with Jo to find out more about Ad Green, where it came from, and her hopes for the future.
Casting Networks: When was the moment you first stepped back and realised how incredibly wasteful and un-green the commercial industry was?
Jo Coombes: I first came to the realisation that I didn’t like what I was contributing to at the start of 2014. I’d read some scary articles about climate change, and couldn’t help but think I was contributing, simply by doing a job I loved – production managing on advertising shoots. The amount of waste we create in the name of being creative is obscene, but at the time I wasn’t sure what I could do about it. It wasn’t until a few months later when the niggling feeling got too much that I decided I should find out what related industries were up to, and whether we could apply what they’d learned to advertising production.