The guy seemed to be having trouble focusing, incessantly clenching his eyes shut and popping them wide, feet rooted yet upper body swaying in place, his unsettling rictus grin perhaps belying some deeper-seeded issue: drug dependency, mental illness, a serious medical condition? His staccato mutterings barely audible, he staggered a little and caught himself, using the chair for support as he leaned in, looked right at us and leered. Silence. It took me a full five seconds to realize the audition was over. “Great!”I told him. “Thanks for coming in.” He nodded, all smiles, gave a wave, and shuffled out. I threw my director a sideways glance. Pete rolled his eyes back at me and made a little note beside the auditioning actor’s name.

At the beginning of each session, we are given a sheet of paper that includes a list of Artist Names, the Role they are auditioning for, and a space for Client Comments which we may use to rate the performances or, in my case, jot down a little reminder that will allow me to differentiate between the various performers. “Pothead?”was what I wrote down for the last guy. Other comments on this day included: “Too contemporary”, “Too serious“, “Too Martin Short-esque”, “Good performance”, “Unprepared”, “Crazy Eyes”, and “If Squiggy had let himself go”.

Casting usually goes fairly quickly but, every so often, we’ll breeze through the initial proceedings and wind up ahead of schedule with a bit of a lull between the next bunch of candidates. I’ll often take advantage of the respite to check out the information listed at the back of the actors’ headshots: their agency, their credits, their training and, my favorite, their special skills – talents that might lend themselves to just the right role. A proficiency in a foreign languages, horseback riding, and stunt training are good examples. Some of the other special skills I’ve seen listed are not. A few of the unique talents that stood out in today’s batch included: walking underwater, sword sharpening, beading, cartwheels, shakuhatchi – the Japanese flute, and sniper training (My comment on this fellow’s audition: “So-so performance but…sniper(!).”

The auditions we sit through are of varied quality – some great, some terrible, and much in between. If the performance is problematic but we see potential, we may ask an individual to repeat the scene, perhaps directing them toward an alternate take, maybe giving them another shot at nailing that line they flubbed on their first attempt. For instance, today, the line was: “Same as you. Scavenging the ruins of a dead world.” but the actor forgot the line halfway through his delivery, so we gave him another shot. He started: “Same as you. Scavenging…Damn, can I start again?” “Sure,”we said and he took it from the top. “Same as you. Scavenging…” “The ruins – “prompted Sean Cossey our casting director. “The ruins…”he repeated. Beat. “Of a dead world,”Sean filled in the blank. “Scavenging the ruined lost world,”finished the actor. Close enough. “Great,”I said. “Thanks for coming in.”

With the auditions completed, we make our top three choices, then head back to the office where we peruse the taped selections with the other producers and make our final decisions. A call back to Sean books the actors and, provided any unforeseen scheduling conflicts, Kindred I is cast and that part of the pre-production process is complete.

The mailbag will return tomorrow. Probably.

40 thoughts on “July 20, 2007

  1. Drug dependency, mental illness, a serious medical condition? Or… sheer terror at the prospect of performing before your evil super-villainness? 😉

  2. Same questions as yesterday then:

    1). How many scenes does a typical episode usually have? 2). That Caldwell-Shep scene; it’s in Kindred Part 1, yes?

    Thanks!

  3. Anonymous said…
    Hi Joe,

    I was just reading something on G.W. that really bothered me. The actor bashing and bashing of one of the producers has really gotten out of hand. I wonder if they realize that people like myself that don’t post on any forums and only lurk are reading this stuff. I kept wondering why a mod didn’t step in to stop it. I guess that’s kind of hard to do when it’s the mod that started it.

    July 20, 2007 3:52:00 PM PDT

    Would that be a certain Carter-loving mod who keep ‘inadvertantly’ insulting Weir fans, or the other one, who posted the picture of Weir in the explosion with the words “Blow her up” or words to that effect under the pic?

  4. Intersting entry! I always wondered what was going on in the important people’s mind while enduring auditions. . .

    So how does one actually go about auditioning for a tv show? Do you need an agent or something like that?

    P.S. Cookie Monster funny. Make me laugh lots.

  5. Ooh Joe, I thankfully never had to sit through casting sessions (I’ve always leaned towards the post side of production), but I did have to shepherd people/keep them company for a casting session once. You poor man. TGIF, have a margarita, and congrats on getting the casting for the ep done.

  6. What is giong on with the Caldwell stuff? Is he going to finally have a leader on ex-leader duel? Will he take Caldwell and put him in jail for being badd???

  7. Your auditioning actor sounds a lot like a guy I saw in the lobby at the police station today. Very twitchy, and kept forgetting what he was saying. I don’t get to write opinions on the report, though.

    About how many actors do you see for a part like today?

  8. Hi, Joe!
    Love your blog. Never miss it.
    Interesting insight on the casting process. I heard recently that Bruce Boxleitner (of Babylon 5) auditioned and missed out on an Atlantis role. Could you share what role it was that he tried out for?
    Any other big/small names that have not made the cut?!
    JJ (from Oz)

  9. Anonymous from yesterday said ” I was just reading something on G.W. that really bothered me. The actor bashing and bashing of one of the producers has really gotten out of hand. I wonder if they realize that people like myself that don’t post on any forums and only lurk are reading this stuff. I kept wondering why a mod didn’t step in to stop it. I guess that’s kind of hard to do when it’s the mod that started it.”

    Heh – that’s mild stuff and if you are bothered by that – go visit OS/SDJ and your teeth will fall out with the constant and vehement hatred and vitriol shown for one of the actresses on the show (the character she plays is also skewered but this particular bunch of “fans” rips the actual actress apart as well. They are actually infamous for their antics so you may already be familiar with them but from the tone of your post it seems you have only visited GW because you seem to have a problem with the way it is being handled that’s why I suggest you expand your horizons to get a real feel for what goes on with some of the forums.) Mods be damned over at OS/SDJ – they throw some of the most vitriolic language you ever want to read and they block most people that have alternative opinions.

    Let us know how your visit to OS/SDJ goes and then tell us what you think of GW.

    For ease of reference I’ll name you Anonymous GWOS so you can still remain anonymous but we’ll know which Anonymous you are so when you get back from visiting OS/SDJ you can tell us what you thought and whether you were able to get your teeth back in after they went crashing to the floor with outrage.

    I take comfort in the fact that the more success that comes to said actress and the character she plays the louder the hatred and vitriol becomes from that little band of haters so it just means good things are continuing to happen to the person they are spewing against depsite them.

    Anonymous7of9

  10. I’m not the poet cheeky lil devil is but I do I have to agree with:
    An episode of Shep, being shirtless and such,
    I really don’t think that it’s asking that much. 😛
    Please!!!!!!!

  11. Joe,
    Have you ever tried to insert yourself in an ep? You know as some kinda of crazy charter or just as a stand in? Thanks!

  12. As a member of the OS/SDJ forum, I take exception to the claims that we are narrow-minded, hateful and herd-like. I will have you know that we are open to a wide variety of opinions, provided they fall within the following parameters:

    1. They express complete and utter blind devotion to actor Michael Shanks and/or the character Daniel Jackson. All comments related to either must be overwhelmingly positive. In the rare moments where some Daniel Jackson-related matter is to be criticized, blame must be placed squarely on – a) The writer, b) The producers, c) Another actor or actress, or d) Supernatural forces, e) Preferably all of the above.

    2. They express complete and utter disdain for any performer or character seen as a threat to the Daniel Jackson character, Amanda Tapping in particular. Personal attacks and baseless rumor-mongering are not only condoned, but they are encouraged.

    3. They express boot-licking follow-the-leader agreement with posts supporting the two aforementioned positions.

    4. They express outrage with any view that runs counter to rules #1 and #2. The badgering and belittling of dissenting opinion is also highly encouraged. In the event ganging up on the independent-thinking offending party does not bully said individual off the forum, then he/she will simply be banned by the mods.

    Remember, we are not a bunch of sheep! In fact, we have taken steps to make this clear by all joining a We Are Not Sheep thread and parroting each other‘s position on this. We are not some venomously hysterical vocal minority. We are a powerful faction of about twelve individuals with a lot of free time on our hands! All we demand is the respect of all those we’ve been disrespectful to. Is that too much to ask?

  13. I saw a listing today of the commentaries slated for the Season 3 DVD release. No actors are included on any of the commentaries — any feel for why? I know it’s up to who is willing and available, but having the actors’ input makes the commentaries looser and funnier, it seems. (Not to slam the talents and insights of the directors, etc, but there’s only so many times I need to hear how they shoot a short hallway scene to make it look like a long hallway! 🙂 ) Any chance other commentaries might be added?

  14. What part were you auditioning? Got any parts for a daughter celebrating her imminent move away from the nest? see my blog for pictures;)Two weeks today she will be in Poole.
    Have a good weekend Joe, I’m going to probably spend it cleaning up after certain people LOL, a mothers work….yada yada.

  15. Salut SAlut joseph!!
    =}Waou c est cool de passer des audition!!
    C etais pour quel rôle?
    =}Si vous voyer un francais faire une audition penssez a moi XD!!
    =}Ah sayer c est enfin le week end!!^^!
    =}Outch, je ne sais pas encors se que je vais faire! ..peut être regardais le Tour de France^^!
    =}Vous avez prévu de faire quoi la semaine prochaine?

    Allez bisou! je vous adore! a demain! bon week end et bonne journée!

  16. Anonymous said…
    Anonymous said…
    Hi Joe,

    “I was just reading something on G.W. that really bothered me. The actor bashing and bashing of one of the producers has really gotten out of hand. I wonder if they realize that people like myself that don’t post on any forums and only lurk are reading this stuff. I kept wondering why a mod didn’t step in to stop it. I guess that’s kind of hard to do when it’s the mod that started it.

    July 20, 2007 3:52:00 PM PDT

    Would that be a certain Carter-loving mod who keep ‘inadvertantly’ insulting Weir fans, or the other one, who posted the picture of Weir in the explosion with the words “Blow her up” or words to that effect under the pic?”

    Back to your corners you two. THAT picture along with the words was not posted by a MOD but a forum member, but it was removed by a MOD. But of course you felt a burning need to belittle the GW mods on the producers blog. Now that’s real classy. How about this for a novel idea. You actually report the post IF it is still there, that way you can be certain there is no favoritism! Of course then that would negate the primary reason of you causing problems wouldn’t it?

  17. Heh – that’s mild stuff and if you are bothered by that – go visit OS/SDJ and your teeth will fall out with the constant and vehement hatred and vitriol shown for one of the actresses on the show “

    Um… what’s OS/SDJ?????

  18. I was distressed to learn about the delayed release of the upcoming SG-1 DVD movies. I was wondering if you could tell us the reason/s behind the delay?

    Ever curiously yours,
    AJ

  19. Your blog has inspired me. Not to be a writer but to go out more for dinner. Last night I went to a new Italian restaraunt that had recently opened near where I live. Its called Ammaretto’s. The starter was a bit strange. I had grilled tomatoes with melted mozzarella. For some reason I thought it would be warm what with all the grilling and melting but it was actually cold. Apparently its supposed to be cold but my taste buds couldn’t relate to what I was seeing so it just ended up being kind of weird. The main course was really good though. Seabass and caramelised lemons. I’ve decided I like caramelised lemons. Very tasty. The seabass was really nice too. I didn’t bother with a dessert. A very limited choice of ice cream and hot chocolate, ice cream and coffe or ice cream and bourbon (which my mum thought was the biscuit until we put her right). Would I recommend it – probably not, unless you are only going for a main course and you don’t like portion that are too big. I’ll let you know what the next place is like.

  20. I’ve been on your side of the casting table before. It can be very scary. Especially when you’re handling local auditions for the latest installment of Survivor…

    Quick question that hopefully won’t cause any upset for those less than thrilled about Carter on Atlantis. Will Amanda Tapping be in the new opening sequence?

  21. Hey, Joe. Thanks for having a blog that I feel safe reading during my time trying to avoid Harry Potter spoilers! Seriously, my internet usage has been whittled down to you and two other sites.

    Have you ever seen an audition and known right off the bat that that was the person you wanted?

  22. Hi Joe:

    I’m going to rant for a moment….

    Before I do, I wanted to let you know how much I love your blog. I’ve been reading it since the begining and you have answered tons of my questions. Thank You. I’ve talked to you about food, pets, the movies, SG1, Atlantis, Comic Con, my Dad going up with the Snowbirds, and alot more. I’ve never come on your blog just to attack another poster or defend something that I’ve said. For this reason I’m directing my response to you.

    I made a comment yesterday about G.W. and actor/producer bashing that I’ve noticed going on (usually by the same handful of people and a certain mod). I have also lurked alot on other boards for several years and I’m very aware of everything that goes on. There is a HUGE difference between Gateworld and a site that has made it clear that they are dedicated to one character. There’s a Ben site that I’ve seen bash other actors on the show including Claudia. But, as bad as that is, it is a site dedicated to Ben. OS is a site dedicated to Daniel. If they don’t like another character on the show then it is their perogative (whether others agree with it or not).

    Gateworld is a different story. It is held to higher standards. Even though it is (supposedly) not an official site, it comes across as one. MGM has advertised G.W., they do interviews, some of the crew have blogs on G.W. or answer questions, and they are involved with the Official Stargate Magazine. If someone wants to know more about Stargate they are usually directed to Gateworld not a site dedicated to one character. Gateworld over time has become more of an ‘official site’ and for that reason (in my opinion) they’re held to a higher standard. Thanks for letting me rant a little bit Joe. I have a feeling I’m going to owe you one.

  23. As an actress, voice-over artist and TV producer, I can attest to the Hell that is the audition process — on both sides of the table.

    I hate being nit-picked and over-analyzed. Look, either you want me for the role or you don’t. Quit wasting my effing time with “try reading it this way, that way, more like this, yeah, like that but with more emphasis on this…” Ugh!

    Now, as things are heating up with The Black Tower, I’m getting more head shots, resumes and demo reels mailed to me (I have a 4″ stack right here beside me). These actors all want roles on my show, and it’s a heavy burden, knowing that their financial futures — their ability to pay their rent, hydro and grocery bill — will ultimately fall to me, once the show goes into production.

    And I don’t like it.

    KJC

  24. Ah, hearing that people don’t know what SDJ/OS is makes me feel like such a fandom grandma. I guess it was nearly 5 years ago that “Save Daniel Jackson” started. My first foray into any fandom and gee, what a trial by fire.

    Anyway, while I don’t enjoy the Our Stargate forum personally, I do agree with the poster who said Gateworld needs to be held to a higher standard, and for the very reasons stated.

    I also find it sad that people keep defending bad fan behavior by pointing out worse fan behavior.

  25. Hi Joe:

    *SIGH* I see someone took my post from yesterday and combined it with somebody elses post – obviously without reading it first. I could have sworn I said that I don’t post on any forums (makes it rather difficult to report something), nowhere did I mention Weir, and I have no clue what picture of Weir they’re referring to. I don’t remember mentioning a certain post that needed to be reported.

    I am, however, talking about page, after page, after page, of bashing of a certain producer – which I find very sad. One post is bad enough but to post on and on and on *ad nauseum* is inexcusable. Especially on Gateworld.

  26. Hi !

    I’ve got a couple of questions for you :

    1. Do you or any of the other writers read fanfiction and do you use some parts of it for an episode ?
    2. Are there going to be some Sam/Jack moments in the movie ? Maybe a real kiss ?

    Thanks!

  27. *waves*

    Hiya Joe, your actor sounds like me on a good day. 😛 Especially in the morning without a cup of coffee. 😉

    Two questions today since i’ve just got the new Harry Potter book *squee*. I was wodering if you had bought yours yet? Also, when you’re reading, are you a ‘won’t put it down until the end’ or ‘a picker upper and put it down’ sort of person? I don’t think I could ever put a book down once I started reading and haven’t to date. But given this is over 600 pages, it could get interesting as i’m starting it at 8pm!

    *hugs*

  28. Anonymous said: “OS is a site dedicated to Daniel. If they don’t like another character on the show then it is their perogative (whether others agree with it or not).”

    I have no problem with any fan site dedicated to just a character or actor from a show. Many fans, myself included, have our favorite character and actor and having a website/forum dedicated to him/her seems another natural step in fandom. However, I do have a problem with fansites bashing actors.
    Out of curiosity, I checked that site (OS) a couple of months ago. I’m not an SG-1 fan, I’m not a fan of any of their characters/actors, but my blood pressure skyrocketted when I read that forum. One of the comments especifically said that a certain actress (who will remain unnamed here, but they did write her name) should be glad that she still has a job because the only acting job someone as talentless as her would be able to find in the future would be doing washing powder commercials. And the OS mods agreed with this.

    So, really, no matter which actor/actress is your favorite, that kind of behavior gives that forum and the people who post there a bad name.

  29. anonymous said…
    “Gateworld is a different story. It is held to higher standards. Even though it is (supposedly) not an official site, it comes across as one.(-snip-) Gateworld over time has become more of an ‘official site’ and for that reason (in my opinion) they’re held to a higher standard.”

    I disagree completely. No matter how much support it gets from the Stargate franchise, it is not an official forum. It is privately owned and run and the owner has set a policy of tolerance for all viewpoints. I have never seen the owner of the forum talk negatively about any producer, actor, or fan group. I can’t say the same for another forum out there that is also privately owned and run. Personally, I think by allowing freedom of thought, Gateworld sets a higher standard and that is what makes it the most popular (in terms of numbers) forum in the Stargate fandom. It also means that there will be both negative and positive opinions on almost every single topic, including how fans feel about the decisions and job being done by TPTB. I would also imagine GW gets so much support from the franchise b/c it does allow for such diversity of thought.

    Do I agree with some of the language used by a handful of posters to criticize some of TPTB? Not really. Some of it is over the top and needs to be reined in more than it is. That is true on any of the anti threads on GW, not just the one you seem to be singling out. For example, right now my pet peeve is how some posters believe TPTB are intentionally lying to the fans.

    There is also a very fine distinction between criticizing the job a writer/producer is doing and personally attacking them (criticizing their looks, personality, morality, integrity, intelligence, etc). According to the rules set by GW’s owner, the first is allowed and the second is not. What you perceived as “bashing” might have just been an overly passionate critique of how successfully or unsuccessfully one or more of TPTB did their jobs, which is within the forum rules no matter how unpleasant you or I may find it.

  30. Everyone complaining about Gate World should take it up with that site instead of whining about it here. That holds true for all the whiners about OS/SDJ. It’s not like Joe can do anything about those forums.

    Have any of the complainers reported offensive comments at those sites or are they just whining to whine?

  31. Joe,

    Is Amanda still scheduled to appear in 14 episodes or has that number been revised since the SG1 movies have completed shooting?

    Thanks,
    Mike P.

  32. *waves*

    Only me again… Page 49, Doppleganger AND bare chestage!

    I think this must be a sign! 😛

    *hugs*

  33. Longime Lurker said…
    Some of the Gateworld staff are paid by MGM FYI.

    http://www.henryjenkins.org/2006/08/fan_activism_in_a_networked_cu.html

    That’s a heck of an assertation to make, given that I’ve read through the entire article you linked to and the only suggestion that any GW staffers are paid by MGM was a couple of statements made in the comments section (and which provided no proof whatsoever of their claim) and which were subsequently directly refuted in the same comments section by Darren, the owner of GW.

    Really, before you go making public statements of fact, you should at least try and check the sources.. otherwise, all you are doing is spreading what some might call unsubstantiated rumour.. or what others might consider to be simply lies.

  34. Hey Joe,

    I saw that you’re gonna be a guest at Anime Evolution this summer, and I was wondering when you’ll be there and what you’ll be doing. I’m thinking of going up to the campus and checking it out if I have time.

  35. That’s a heck of an assertation to make, given that I’ve read through the entire article you linked to and the only suggestion that any GW staffers are paid by MGM was a couple of statements made in the comments section (and which provided no proof whatsoever of their claim) and which were subsequently directly refuted in the same comments section by Darren, the owner of GW.

    Somewhat ingenuous I must say when Darren has provided content for the official site and is on the staff of the official magazine. The money might not come in a MGM check but it’s a pretty fine line, don’t you think?

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