For my latest short film, I cast the lead before I cast the supporting actor and gathered the crew. Why? I wanted to demonstrate to the lead actress my willingness to collaborate.
Many filmmakers tell the cast and crew that it will be a collaborate process, but rarely follow through with it and instead hold decision making (ie: directing) tightly in their hands. But, filmmaking is not a solo activity, so might as well embrace beautiful fact from the start of casting!
For my first indie feature -- which I'm currently casting -- I want to find a co-creator, not simply an actress. I want her to be involved with every step of the pre-production process, including having a role in the casting of her co-stars. This is good for the film and also the actress. She'll earn a producer credit and potentially a co-Story By credit. These credits and experience hopefully offset the low pay of a micro-budget indie feature. Plus, the actress will have the opportunity to bring in her actor friends as supporting actors. This is a luxury that's often not provided to actors, and it's something that money can't buy.
What are your thoughts on collaborative casting?
Lastly, here's the link to the Backstage casting listing, if you're interested: