Small Steps

The following is a journal entry following the development, production, and post-produciton of my new short film: Monsters and Miracles.  Please join our community at the film’s website to receive exclusive access to behind the scenes content, chances to see early cuts of the film, and to participate in this film as a mutual collaborator.  You can do so at our website.

Casting outside of New York and LA can be a challenge, but its a challenge I’ve become accustomed to.

There are truly terrific actors in almost every region of the United States, so it isn’t that the talent isn’t out there who are able to execute your projects, it’s simply that the infrastructure for finding that talent is potentially more specific than those same channels would be in our major acting cities.

While I was a film student at Savannah College of Art and Design it took me several years to really discover how to cast in a regional cinema.

It took a lot of errors, missteps, and reaching into the dark, but eventually I learned how to look for the viable talent channels.  It helped that during my time in Georgia, the production scene in Atlanta experienced one of its greatest booms in the state history.

The lessons and skills I learned are all things I’ve tried to channel into developing an infrastructural awareness of how the central Texas regional performance scene is put together, and where the best points of contacts are.

Like, I’ve said above, the challenge isn’t that there aren’t talented people, it’s finding them or creating a way for them to find you.  Even after two years of living in this state and working in this industry, it worried me in approaching this film that we would struggle to make any headway with casting.

The only way to really learn how to cast a film in a new region is to dig in and do it.  Today, our posts went live to a few social networks and casting connections and floodgates opened.  We began receiving many wonderful submissions for the roles we outlined.

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing submissions currently coming in, and reaching out to additional networks to make sure we get a chance to see all the available talent that is in the area.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the familiar mindset of directing actors and seeking magic in performance.

In addition to our progress in casting, I had my first official production meeting with my longtime collaborator and cinematographer, Brody Carmichael, for this project.  We exchanged key visual references and have really committed to seek a new kind of look and style of shooting for this project than anything we’ve done before.  I think that after years of refining a kind of cinematic language together we’re ready to push that language into new territory with his project.

It’s so nice to be working with a script whose demands are so specific that we can really dig into the material and focus on giving the look of the film a unique texture and tactile quality.  I will discuss our visual strategies more as I move forward into more posts on the development of the cinematography for this film.

We’re starting to have some crisp October mornings in Austin.  Sitting with a hot cup of coffee and a script I can’t wait to bring to the screen is an amazing way to start the day.

We’re just getting started on this journey, and the steps may feel small at first, but they can take you on an amazing adventure.

Travis Lee Ratcliff

Writer, Director, Producer

Monsters and Miracles