Thanks to all the actors and filmmakers who attended this year’s Stonehenge Auditions.
As a reminder, all the audition videos will be up on our YouTube channel next week.
Most of you have checked your email, but for those who haven’t, lottery results for Session One of this year’s Stonehenge Auditions have been sent out.
Over half of the actors with guaranteed or standby slots have not uploaded your headshots and resumes to the Dropbox link provided. Remember, there are no physical headshots or resumes this year, so if you haven’t uploaded your materials by check-in, you will not audition.
Please take a moment to check our formatting requirements and upload your materials.
If you missed this session, good news! This year, we have a second audition session on Thursday, March 29th. Registration closes Monday, March 19th at 1pm.
The event will be at The Evening Star Café in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria (where most of DeLeon Crossing was filmed). It’s free, starting around 5:30, with films starting at 6pm and a Q & A with the filmmakers (including Team J’s Bjorn Munson) afterwards.
We hope to see some of you there!
Head Jabberwock Bjorn Munson will be speaking at this month’s Women in Film & Video (WIFV) Talent Roundtable.
WIFV has a series of monthly roundtables, we’re actually holding the Stonehenge Auditions at two of them in March: Session One on March 5th during the Narrative Directors’ Roundtable and Session Two on March 29th for that month’s talent roundtable.
He’ll go over things to keep in mind when doing a mass audition as well as follow-up steps and submitting to casting notices.
For those of you with memories like an elephant, you may remember this sounds similar to a talk he gave in 2016. It is.
But if you didn’t attend two years ago, we hope it will help you as an actor learn more about navigating the indie world. If you’re an actor who’s gotten the lottery results for Session One or are hoping to get an audition slot for Session Two, this should be particularly useful.
The event is free for WIFV members and $10 for non-members. You can learn more and register at their event link.
If you’re an actor, you can check WIFV’s event pages or StonehengeAuditions.com for the deadlines to register. Audition slots are assigned by lottery as always. For producers, space will be limited, so if you want to see the actors in person and otherwise network with your peers, you should register earlier rather than later.
If you just want to know that registration is open and where to do it, click the links above and rock on.
There are a few major format changes to the auditions this year which we hope will make Stonehenge Auditions a sustainable community resource for years to come. If you want to learn more, please read below.
A Format Change was Inevitable
This may come as a shock to actors, but the day-long event is not equally beloved by producers. Don’t get us wrong. They like to see you all audition… and they love to see the videos after the fact. It’s simply that, again and again, producers tell us they can’t set aside a whole day to watch auditions.
Combine that with the fact that, for the past few years, most of you actors tell us you’ve gotten additional work and auditions from the online videos not the in-person audition itself.
A new Stonehenge Auditions model: Multiple Sessions hosted by Area Organizations
So we have a service that both actors and producers tell us is valuable: we tape and post dozens of audition videos online.
If anything, people want more than the roughly 120 videos we get from the day-long event. Only we can’t support the day-long event. Oh, and we need a space to hold the auditions that is both inexpensive (or free) and available. And could we have more audition dates?
Enter many organizations around the area that regularly hold events in mornings, afternoons, and evenings. They already have mechanisms to register people for events. They already have spaces to hold their events. The Stonehenge event is arguably a benefit for their members and the resulting online videos are a benefit to the community as a whole…
You may see where we’re going here.
Women in Film & Video (WIFV), the organization that has partnered with us for the past few years to put on Stonehenge Auditions, has volunteered to pilot this new format in 2018. Our goal is that next year, 2019, other groups will join in. Ideally, every Spring, there will be four or five sessions of Stonehenge Auditions. There will be more videos, more producers finding actors, more actors finding work, and all the related goodness that comes from those connections.
Nevertheless, this format means changes — some more significant than others.
Non-members have to pay this year
Area organizations like to hold events to benefit their members and, not surprisingly, often charge non-members to attend those same events (or they charge members AND non-members, they just charge non-members more). Since the organization is securing the space and managing the registration for that session, we don’t mind that the event benefits their members.
Most producers, even non-member producers, will probably wind up paying less to attend Stonehenge with this new format, but actors who aren’t members could, for the first time, have to pay to attend Stonehenge Auditions.
For 2018, we’ve confirmed with WIFV that everyone that doesn’t get an audition slot will have their registration cancelled and non-members can have their fees refunded around the time we release the lottery results (a week before the session).
Actors who get guaranteed, standby, or waitlist slots will need to cancel with WIFV if they can’t attend — and non-members will need to do that 48 hours before the event to get their fee refunded.
Does this mean that mean that actors who are not WIFV members would need to pay $10 to attend the event — and thereby have their audition taped and put online?
Does this mean non-members will still want to cancel within 48 hours even though they won’t get their fee refunded — because otherwise they get on the Mud List?
Actor registration is entirely through WIFV this year
Unlike the past few years, actors do not need to update and submit through their StonehengeCasting.com profile. It’s done entirely through WIFV event pages this year (see the top of this post). You’re not entirely off the hook for being tech literate, however. (see below)
There are no physical headshots and resumes this year
This makes logistics exponentially easier, but that does mean adjustments for actors and producers.
Actors will need to upload their headshot and resume to a DropBox link that will be provided when you register. Headshots should be in PDF, JPG, or PNG format — and resumes should be in PDF (preferred), DOCX, or DOC format. Plan on labeling your files YourfirstnameYourlastname_headshot.pdf (or .jpg or .png) YourfirstnameYourlastname_resume.pdf (or .docx or .doc) Your headshot file size should be 1mb or less and your resume should be 500k or less. Combined files could be 1.5mb or less and would be wonderful as a PDF (YourfirstnameYourlastname.pdf).
Producers need to have some means to view the headshots and resumes, whether it’s a tablet or laptop — and they should probably have some offline or analog method of taking notes if technology and WiFi connections act up. We’ll email out a spreadsheet list of everyone who auditioned as well for reference.
Actors must provide a signed release to audition
As should be clear at this point, we’re now doing Stonehenge Auditions to make sure we can provide the community with online audition videos. If an actor doesn’t want to be taped, they shouldn’t register. We will collect actor’s signed release when they check-in.
The usual policy for the online videos remains: the videos can be taken down from our YouTube channel at any time for any reason, usually within 24 hours of the actor’s request.
We’re pleased to announce that the videos from this year’s Stonehenge Auditions are now online at our YouTube channel.
There’s also a 2017 playlist.
If you’re an actor, don’t forget to add the video to your Stonehenge Casting profile.
If you’re a producer, we now have over 800 audition videos for you to search through.
This 20-part series, written by Team J’s Bjorn Munson, covers the lessons learned during the casting of The Broken Continent web series pilot in 2012. You can find the full Table of Contents in Part 1.
This series is meant to help other independent filmmakers, primarily those who are casting a large ensemble (10+ speaking parts, multiple background actors, etc.). Individual articles may be useful to production companies looking to cast other work such as commercials. There are also a number of articles specifically for actors on how to better submit for auditions, do the auditions, and deal with the statistically inevitable rejections.
The lessons learned have been applied to Team J’s Stonehenge Casting service, an online tool for producers to find actors and actors to find work.
Previous Casting Notes Article | Next Casting Notes Article
Now comes the moment of truth.
By the way, “final casting decisions” may be a misnomer. As you’ll see in Part 17, your first choice may suddenly be unavailable, which leads to your second choice.
But this is still decision time. You can do it. And by ‘you,’ I mean the same creative team who was behind the callback decisions.
As before, the director or showrunner should get the deciding vote. However, the decision may not be obvious. The director may appreciate some perspective from the rest of the creative team.
Before meeting, all of you should try narrowing actors down with these questions:
Who’s the top choice for each role?
Yeah, this is the question some of you have been wanting to put off for the longest time — especially if the the casting director has given you a lot of choices.
What does ‘top choice’ mean? Ask yourself who’s going to be best at that particular role.
Remember any role has some essential attributes an actor needs to sell. That’s what you were testing in your auditions. Among all the contenders, you had the “green, yellow, and red” candidates, but like as not, there were one of two “green” candidates that you and your creative partners raved about. 
Sometimes you’re aided by the fact that one actor was good in Role A, but great in Role B, and you can’t see anyone else in Role B.
This realization is critical to building your cast — and one of the reasons you often don’t get the cast you were expecting, yet all your hard work results in a strong cast at the end of the process.
If you’re truly stuck on two different actors for one role, it’s probably because you found both actors were very strong at selling those essential attributes.  Now’s the time to step back and consider not just that character’s essential attributes, but how they relate and must relate to other characters. Understanding those key relationships and how the two actors sell that relationship can be crucial, which also leads to:
Will the top choices work with each other?
Don’t ignore this question! This is more than chemistry, though that’s a big part of “working with each other.” One of the biggest issues I find consistently arise in indie film productions and smaller theater productions is uneven casting. By this, I mean that it’s clear some actors are more experienced than others — or their acting styles are remarkably different and aren’t meshing.
A veteran actor can be generous and give younger actors a great deal to work with in a scene, but that sometimes depends on the temperament of the actor and skills of the director.
Who are the next choices?
You won’t want to do this and it hopefully won’t be important, but it’s all part of risk planning. You want to think about other actors now versus when you suddenly need a replacement for your lead.
The reasons for this are multi-fold. Not only may your preferred actor be unavailable when you first contact them, they also may suddenly need to bow out because of an emergency.
Will those choices work with one another?
Don’t worry about figuring out every iteration of who will work with whom. There’s no reason to go through a neverending thought experiment on this. However, if you have a key relationship, especially between leads, it’s worth while to spend a moment considering if the new match will be uneven in any way (for the same reasons mentioned above).
Is everyone happy, or at least comfortable, with these choices?
If you’ve gone through all questions above diligently, this particular question should be answered. Nevertheless, it’s good to ask yourselves this question at the end. Nagging doubts and tingling spider senses should be voiced and addressed (though perhaps not always resolvable in that same meeting). Does one of your creative team really feel you need to call in more actors for one role? Do you all agree that you have the strongest cast you can have? 
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can move on to who will be contacting actors and what information to be conveyed, but that’s the focus of the next article.
Previous Casting Notes Article | Next Casting Notes Article
FOOTNOTE # 1: If you recall in part 11 about running the auditions themselves, I recommend always taking a minute after each audition to discuss the actor who just left the room. This is because, yes, you can remember the actor’s audition and, yes, you can review the tape — but you absolutely remember if you raved about a particular actor to your creative comrades. This happened for various actors for all of us while casting The Broken Continent. Enthusiasm counts.
FOOTNOTE # 2: It’s not uncommon for an actor to discover something about the character that you –even as the writer/director– may not have realized that still rings true to what you intended. You may find that actors sell a character’s essential attributes in much the same way OR you may find two actors find two ways to play a character that are different, but you find equally compelling. So long as the chosen actor’s approach meshes with the other actors and their approach, that’s fine.
FOOTNOTE # 3: Every project has a different timeline, so answering the question of if you have the strongest cast you can have is constrained by how soon you need to move into production. There have been many projects where I would have loved to have audition or outright cast certain actors and the schedules didn’t work out. You need to be prepared for that unhappy possibility.
Stonehenge Auditions 2017 aka the sixteenth edition of the in-person mass auditions for film and video will be in Washington, DC on Monday, March 20th (hint: this link goes to the event information page, including an extensive actor FAQ and producer FAQ).
However, if you want to be direct like John Wick, this is the tactical page for you.
First things first: are you an actor or a producer?
If you’re a producer –by which we mean producer, casting director, or anyone looking to hire actors– you register for the in-person event on the WIFV website, just like last year.
Producer Registration is now open on the WIFV website and will remain open until noon on Friday, March 17th (i.e. the Friday before the Monday event).
All actors register for Stonehenge Auditions 2017 by going through Stonehenge Casting, not through WIFV.
Registering for Stonehenge Auditions 2017, by which we mean the lottery to get a slot, is the same process as submitting to any other project on Stonehenge Casting (here’s the link to the article in case you’d missed it).
Specifically, you’ll want to go to the “Projects” tab once you log in. Then click on the project that looks something like this:
Actor registration opens on Monday, February 13th and closes on Saturday, March 4th. It really doesn’t matter if you register early or not, as long as your profile is complete. Remember, if you register and your profile is incomplete, you won’t be eligible for the lottery. Take your time. Besides the FAQ on Stonehenge Casting, you can also take a look at the Stonehenge Casting How-Tos on this blog, including one about getting your profile baseline to 100% as well as how to get all your measurements.
When you register, please follow the listed directions.
That means in the “ROLE” field you don’t put any information on roles you might wish to play. You put conflicts (if any) you have during the audition times of 10am to 6pm on Monday, March 20th. We’ll do our best to schedule auditions based on those notes.
By reading the directions, you also know you do not put anything in the video audition field.
Even if you’ve already submitted: Make sure your profile is 100% Complete
This is a requirement to be eligible for the Stonehenge Auditions lottery and the one most actors are missing.
There’s a handy bar that displays at the right of each page of the actor/performer profile.
The completion percentage is different from the required fields and does not mean you need to fill out every last field in the profile.
As mentioned in the submission instructions, the Stonehenge Casting FAQ about Completion percentage lists all the fields you need to fill out to make your profile 100%. Again, those are:
Projects and Preferences
Vocal & Language Skills
Physical & Athletic Skills
Union Status & Availability
(Can you tell producers sometimes use our site for background performers?)
Attachments and Links
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you at the Henge.
Just like the last two years, Team J has been approached to help cast some student films.
Therefore, we’re creating rosters of actors who are interested and available for student films during February, March, and April 2017.
You can learn more about Team J’s use of ‘actor rosters’ here.
While each project is different, we expect most of these films will be shot under a SAG-AFTRA Student Film agreement. Most films will have deferred pay. If actors are paid, it will probably be no more than $125 per 8-hour day. In other words, actors are doing this for what will hopefully be a great acting experience with a talented, aspiring filmmaker.
Team J is collecting actor submissions via Stonehenge Casting. Please create or update your actor profile (it’s free) and be sure to note any schedule conflicts you have for February, March, and April 2017. We expect most shooting to be done in March and early April.
Once your actor profile is updated, submit to one or more of the casting notices below:
Which casting notices should I submit for?
You can submit for one notice or all of them — depending on your interest. You’re basically pre-qualifying yourself as interested in this type of work (student films) for this period of time (February, March, and April 2017).
What should I put in the “Roles” field?
Since we have not character breakdowns, we suggest some variant of your logline.
When will I hear back from Team J?
You might not hear from us at all — at least not until mid-May.
When we are casting a particular film, we may do a specific casting notice and ask you to submit for it — or we might just contact you and ask you to come in and audition.
But that’s all based on what roles the scripts call for and how well we think you fit said roles.
In Team J tradition, we will follow up with everyone who submitted at the end of the casting period whether or not they were cast (in this case, after April 30th).
Should I put these dates on ‘soft hold’?
By submitting to the notices above, you are not on hold, “first refusal,” or anything like that. Keep on looking for work as you see fit.
Team J creates these general calls to help us cast projects quicker by pre-qualifying actors who are interested and available for these types of projects. However, we haven’t offered you a job and you haven’t accepted. You’ve simply said you’d be up for this type of work for this time period. If something works out, great. If not, no worries.
What if you ask me to audition for a particular project and it’s not my thing?
Say “No thanks.”
By putting your virtual hat in the ring for these as-yet-undefined student films doesn’t mean you’re saying yes to appear in any of them.
Some scripts may not be your thing. We’re establishing the general type of work (student films), the general payscale ($125 to probably deferred for all eternity), and time period (February, March, and April 2017).
What if my availability changes during February, March, and April 2017?
Please update your availability in your profile as soon as you know.
Note, we’d love you to keep your availability calendar up-to-date on Stonehenge Casting not just for this project, but for any project we or other filmmakers are casting (we have area producers using the site month in and month out).
If you are not available because you’ve actually heeded our advice and sought work in addition to this general casting notice, congrats! Feel free to submit to future general calls.
Other questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casting, more often than not, is on a tight schedule. It’s one of the reasons we here at Team J love developing rosters of talent.
But while the concept of rosters is all well and good, you still need tactics for how to find the right actor to call in and audition as fast as possible (assuming the client didn’t give you a last-minute requirement and you need the talent for the shoot tomorrow!)
So for those of you in the DC area, here’s one tool to add to your bag of tricks:
Check out the actor’s audition videos.
Team J has been running the Stonehenge Auditions since 2005 and posting the videos of said auditions online since 2006.
You can visit our YouTube channel and scroll through the names. Alternately, you could just type in an actor’s name and “Stonehenge” and you’ll see if they have a Stonehenge audition.
We have over 700 auditions online, but bear in mind, actors can write us at any time and ask for an old audition video to get taken down (usually because they don’t think that video still showcases their best work).
When to use this casting tactic
As much fun as just randomly clicking on videos can be, we’re assuming you’ll want to use this in when you have limited time. Here’s some actual use cases we’ve used and other producers have told us they’ve used.
1) If someone tells you about Jane Actress and you want to quickly see their work
Let’s say you’re at a party. You mention the project you’re working on and you mention you’re looking for an actress who has both clowning and stage combat experience.
“Jane Actress is great at both,” your friend says. When you get home –or perhaps even then and there on your smartphone– you type their name into the YouTube search. Bam!
2) If you’ve narrowed down headshots/resumes to a handful of names and want to see them act
You’ve put out the call for headshots/resumes and received a bundle. You’ve pared down the contenders based on look and the experience they list on paper… but are they really a fit? Checking out some of their recent auditions might help you know before you call them in yourself.
Open a link to the Stonehenge YouTube channel and open a link to the Actor’s Center channel and search the name both places.
Similar Tactics You Can Use
Obviously, you could just plug in their names into a Google search, you might get their website which might have clips, or just clips in general. We’re not saying don’t do that.
What we are saying is that going right to the Stonehenge Auditions or Actors’ Center channel and searching will automatically cut down on some of the irrelevant search results.
For those of you producers who use Stonehenge Casting, Team J’s online casting system, we also keep on pushing the actors to list their clips and demo reels. They can list up to five and you can do a search just for profiles with videos. As of this writing, about 570 do, but obviously we’d like that number higher.
So there you have it: one more casting tool for your toolbox. We’ll be posting more in the months ahead.