cast Magna Talent notes 7 super 8 the good soldier tri-x

The Good Soldier – Notes 7 – Film Test Shoot + THE CAST

Today was a good day – as far as I can tell. When shooting film it can be tough to tell until you get the print back and get to see whether you metered wisely or F’d the whole thing up and have to try it again. In any case, it was a fun and worthwhile day of arranging the set and positioning the lights to capture the angles and images just so. I had a lot of help – very valuable help in the “crew” that I have. These guys are amazing at what they do and fun to work with to boot.

The purpose of today was to test out the lighting conditions and a few of the actual scene setups using the camera and film stock that I am going to shoot. In addition, we recorded audio using an Edirol R-09 digital recorded and wireless lavaliere microphone. The plan is to examine the footage and work on syncing the film footage with the captured audio. It can be a tricky process especially since the film speed can vary and the digital audio speed remains constant.

I received all of the film stock today for the film; 30 rolls of Kodak Tri-X Reversal. That’s 2:30 min of footage per roll (50 ft) when running at 24 frames per second. That gives a total of 75 minutes of footage for, what is to be, a 20 minute film.

Today I am officially announcing the main cast of The Good Soldier:
The Soldier – Brian Gililland
The Commander – Jack Hays
Miss June – Leah Trafford
Soldier 1596 – Erik Schultz

I haven’t nailed down all of the “Extras” just yet – there are about 4 or 5.

I need to give a big thanks to Magna Talent Agency in Oklahoma City for helping us out and sending us some great actors for the audition. The two main characters, Brian and Jack, are both represented by Magna.

So what’s the next step? Get the test footage processed – make sure it looks good. Then rehearsals. Then the first day of shooting.

auditions notes 6 the good soldier

The Good Soldier – Auditions – Notes 6

We held auditions for the film last Wednesday, June 10. We had 14 people audition for the two roles. It was my first experience casting and one I will not forget.

I have to be honest – when I heard the first lines from my script read aloud, by someone who was channeling one of the main characters – something in my heart fluttered and I felt emotional. It was the first time I have ever had something that I wrote performed. At that moment the writing, the story, all of that “stuff” that was merely in my head was coming to life. It put into perspective the magnitude of filmmaking in my life. And furthermore, I witnessed what someone else – with their own thoughts, perceptions, and feelings, can bring to a story that I might never have anticipated.

I am very grateful to have had so many people show up and put it all out there in an effort to bring these characters to life. It’s a tough thing to get in front of people and a camera and act. And even tougher to make it believable. It takes a lot of courage and I truly respect those that gave it a shot – especially those that made this their first time.

I am thankful to John who has been a great supporter, guide, and teacher during this auditioning process. His input has been extremely valuable and I really appreciate having him on board. And thanks to Chris for helping manage the casting schedule.

I have watched the audition tape a few times now and narrowed the possibilities down. I have yet to make any final decisions. I expect to have one more audition before I make the selections.

As far as the technical stuff for the audition, everything went pretty well. I did have some issue with my HDV camera and hooking up a wireless lav mic to it – ultimately all the sound was recorded through the camera mic, which kind of sucked for sound quality but it still managed to capture it all. When it comes to the actual shoot I will need to work out all of the bugs on the sound. I am almost more nervous about the sound than the film.

The lighting for the room proved to be very good and I think the 3-point light package I have is going to work fine. It seemed to help quite a bit that the auditions took placed in the actual location that the film will be shot and many of the props were set up and able to be used.

I am in the process of making some decisions about where to purchase film, where to process it and where to have it transferred. I’m not only looking at price but quality of the final picture and turn-around time. It’s a difficult decision given these three elements but making the right decision is crucial.

I have also come up with a final shooting schedule. If all goes well, I will be shouting “Action!” in exactly 10 days.

auditions today the good soldier

Auditions Today for The Good Soldier

Holding auditions today for The Good Soldier. As of right now we have about 14 people that are scheduled to perform.

This will be my first experience with casting – so it will be a learning experience in terms of the process and how it all works. I’m lucky to have a couple of people on board with experience in casting.

I am excited to see how the actors approach the characters hopefully find actors that give life to the characters. That’s really what it is all about.

I’ll let you know how it s goes when it’s done.

casting call production meeting the good soldier

The Good Soldier – Notes 5 – Production Meeting & Casting Call

Every day – one step closer to turning dream into reality – well, movie reality. I held my first production meeting today. Four people attended (including myself). We had the meeting at the actual shooting location – which was all the more inspiring for everyone. It helped to put the picture in everyone’s mind.

We are officially announcing the CASTING CALL right now. The details are posted below or you can download a PDF version here.

Casting Call for short film – “The Good Soldier”

Auditions held on Wednesday, June 10 beginning at 7 pm in OKC (contact for location and script lines to read)

Contact: Aaron Gibson –

Seeking actors for an unpaid acting gig for submission to Sundance and other festivals.

Synopsis: The Good Soldier is the story of a young man ordered to hold an observation post in a remote location during the early 1940s. After nearly a year with zero activity he becomes dismayed at the purpose of his mission, little has been revealed to him. As a result, he’s driven by an ever-pressing urge to uncover the true reason for his position and the mission. What does the future hold for this good soldier? Not everything is as it appears.

We are casting for the two main characters:

The Soldier – Male 20s. A young soldier in the early 1940s – during WWII. A do-gooder young gun –willing to sacrifice himself – has the best intentions – which proves to be his downfall. Wide range of moods and appearance from clean-cut military to wave-of-despair, going hungry, and losing it all.

The Commander – Male 40s-60s. Strong military/radio communication voice. Much of this role is “voice” but there is one critical scene where the look is important. Role is stern, cold, matter-of-fact, and quite deceitful.

Other Details:
Filming to commence sometime between, June 20 – 28. Estimating a 3-4 day shoot.
Film stock: Tri-X & Plus-X Super 8 film
Film Duration: 15-20 mins
Location: OKC metro area

I’m hoping the best for this casting call. If all goes well and we find our two actors then I hope to start principal photography on June 20. Man, that seems so close.

Here are a couple pictures of some of the props for the film.
This one is a picture of one of the radios that the main character communicates with the commander through. It is supposed to be an actual working radio – unfortunately I haven’t plugged it in yet to find out. I should really do that.

Next up is a picture of a replica M1 Garrand rifle. Yes, it looks real but it is actual made completely of resin – not a moving part on it. But it should look great in the film.

Finally, and perhaps quite gratuitously, here’s a picture of the cameras that I’m going to be shooting the film with. These are Canons 814 XL-S Super 8 cameras. The “S” means that they are capable of recording sound. Except they no longer manufacture sound film so all the film I shoot will be silent. Sound will be recorded through a separate digital audio recording device and later synced during the editing process. It’s a bit of old combined with new school.

So the next big step is on Wednesday, June 10 when we hold auditions. Until then I will be constructing the set and doing some additional test shoots.