This is going to be a sickeningly quick series of blog posts as I attempt to make an eight-minute vampire movie in twelve days, using only what I can borrow from the office and bribe my friends into doing. At stake, so to speak, is $1000 in prize money and, now that I’m telling you all that I’m going to do it, my honor. This is the contest; entrants are invited to make their own episode of the vampire web series The Hunted. The deadline is next Sunday.
Everyone’s heard “write what you know.” Young adult author Tamora Pierce once offered the alternative “write who you know,” which has stood me in good stead with this project: two people have agreed to play the characters based on them. My roommate Gina will star as the stage manager of a production of Macbeth, and Dan is coming up from Philly to play the show’s director; Dan directed King Lear and Julius Caesar for our college troupe. My other roommate and fellow Tor.com blogger Nina Lourie will be a loverly Lady Macbeth and my capoeirista friend Mendez will play the actor playing Macduff. So much for them!
This leaves me with four small speaking parts and two leads. In the initial round of e-mails, we got close to getting our dream actor for Macbeth, but he had a conflict come up. So sad. I’m also talking to another friend about one of the smaller parts, trying to woo her with the promise of chocolate chip cookies. Our other friends are A) busy, with apologies or B) incommunicado, so waaaay too late I bit the bullet and posted an ad on Craigslist.
To my surprise, it totally works! Several e-mails come in throughout the morning; I think this is a new perk to living in New York City. I fill one of the remaining smaller parts—Siward—over the phone, and later that night I have my first experience with the excruciatingly awkward art of auditioning.
From the beginning, I have two impulses: one is too fall all over myself reassuring people that I don’t think I’m worthy to judge them, and the other is to be totally ruthless, which in an older and more confident person might be called “businesslike.” Nina is thankfully there to keep me on track. The 5:45 doesn’t show and doesn’t call, an inauspicious beginning, but the actors we see at 6:00 and 6:15 are really cool and we invite them to join us as Mark/Macbeth and Lee the fight director. Hooray! They both have a little stage combat experience, too. I breathe a sigh of relief and let go of any remaining wistful thoughts about the other actor. I was starting to be afraid that we wouldn’t fill one role or the other and I might have to step in, but with these guys on board, I can stay behind the camera and micromanage.
Stay tuned for “Here’s Goodly Gear,” or, Gathering Equipment and Props