Get Off My Casting Couch

Duane Gundrum
4 min readNov 16, 2021

My writing partner and I have been quite fortunate in the success we have had with a number of our plays. Our plays have been performed across the country under our nom de plum, and we have been pretty happy with the success. However, on a whim we decided to pursue a different venue of drama: film. And we weren’t happy with just screenwriting; we wanted to produce the project ourselves.

Our first hurdle was finding a director. We weren’t foolish enough to believe we could direct it ourselves; we’re writers, not directors. So we scoured the universities seeking impressive graduates who might see this as a project to enhance or bolster a directing career. Our only real stipulation was that we wanted someone who didn’t think an explosive car chase might further the plot or someone who might mistake a crying French clown as interpretative drama. So we were pretty open. We also intended to cast the film as well.

Well, we found our director, and he turned out to be exactly what we were looking for.

Then it came to casting. It was our intention from the start to have the two of us star in our own film. We weren’t seeking an Oscar; we were feeding our vanity. We were both non-actors, having received our training in the forensics dramatic interpretation medium instead. (Note: For those not familiar with forensics dramatic interpretation: imagine performing a scene from Hamlet without the ability to move around, to have no props, and to bring out the same emotion of acting from words and facial expressions alone.)

As our variation with this movie, we intended to cast the entire movie with the nation’s top forensics performers. It was during this process that I ran into an interesting situation.

At a national forensics tournament, I was recruiting one of the top national performers for the part of a presidential running mate, which was written for an African-American. Our recruit was immediately extremely interested in the part. That was great. But then so was this woman who was sitting at the table with us, having overheard our recruitment and his immediate acceptance.

This woman, I’ll call Brooke for the sake of my never having really remembered her name from when she gave it to me, was from a Southern California university, was studying acting and “theatre”…

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Duane Gundrum

Author of Innocent Until Proven Guilty and 15 other novels. Writer, college professor and computer game designer.