Q: What’s the best way to get names attached?
Aleisha Gore via facebook
There is no one-way to attach talent and attaching talent can be a daunting task. The one thing you must have is a good script. It helps if it’s not your director’s first film and if you have some work you can show the agent.
The standard process is to send your script around to agents and have them read it and see if it’s right for their talent. If you can go through the manager you may have an easier time of it but getting people you don’t know to read your script is a challenge. I know this sounds pretty gloomy, but I just want you to be prepared. I have sent out scripts from directors that have worked with pretty big names and it’s still a challenge to get a response. There are a couple of things you can do to hedge your bet though.
1. NETWORK. You may be thinking “but how do I network with Brad Pitt?” and my answer would be, you probably don’t. But, you might network with his agent or assistant or know someone who knows someone he is close with. You may also know someone who has worked with the talent you’re looking to attach and don’t even know that they struck up a great relationship on set and are now buddies (contrary to popular opinion, people who have the actual relationships with the stars don’t go around bragging about it) so mention your desired talent to everyone you can think of without being obnoxious about it.
2. BE PROFESSIONAL. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I am not just talking about showing up for meetings on time and answering your phone properly (very important things BTW), I am talking about having a well put together script and a well put together plan. Why are you planning to attach this talent? Meaning, are you doing it just because their name is Brad Pitt? Have you put any thought into what the actor might get out of it? If you haven’t, then you should not approach them until you can answer these questions and have a well thought out, professional plan including a script that has been read by people other than your mom or best friends, a script that is well formatted and a script that has been proof read for spelling and grammar.
3. HAVE THE MONEY. Using an actor as an attachment in order to raise money is a very common practice in this business. However, if you have a great script, have done some networking and have a plan you might not need an actor attached to raise the money. Sometimes newer filmmakers make the mistake of attaching talent too soon and/or attaching the wrong talent for the role and project. If you can raise the money before casting it will give you a lot more to work with. If you know how much you are wanting for an actor, you can always raise just that amount and do a pay or play deal with the talent. That means they get the money whether the film is made or not.
4. CONSULT. Make sure if you are looking to attach talent that you consult with a professional. Someone who works in distribution and knows what “names” are actually worth attaching early on. You would be surprised who actually moves the needle when it comes to sales. Also, the talent that means something to a US audience might mean very little to a foreign audience and the bulk of your sales money will be foreign.
Whether you attach name talent before hand or during, the most important thing is making sure you cast people who are right for the role and who will benefit the project.