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A Casting Call – An Interesting Experience

July 5, 2010 · 55 comments

in Commentary

There is a new movie that is going to be filmed in Detroit in August called ‘Home Run Showdown’.  We got an email for an open casting call this past week looking for boys ages 9-12, no acting experience necessary.  So, we thought “what the heck”, and took my youngest son in for an audition.

We arrived 15 minutes before the start time for his age group, and the line outside the building was incredibly long.  We almost walked away, but we didn’t have anything else going on, although I did have concerns for when I would get to eat dinner.  But that is always a concern.  So we stood in line outside and waited,  but at least the weather was pleasant, and my husband brought us some food.   The line inside was like a line for a Disney ride.  You thought it wasn’t very long, but it snaked through auditoriums and such, so you were really only halfway done once you got inside the building itself.    It was hot and humid, and I believe one room somehow had humidity exceeding 100 percent, and there was trash all over the place.  I kept thinking ‘this is insane, but we have rotted in line this long, might as well go on’.

What was interesting about the evening was the people watching.  I was actually shocked that the kids were handling the standing in line so well, with very little opportunity for sitting.  There was some rudeness, but it could have been much worse.   Actually some of the parents were the rudest of all- the ones that would not stop their cell phone conversations to come get their kid when they were summonsed to pick them up.

After around 3 hours of standing in line, the movie people collected your forms and took your son away.  Parents then had to stand outside a room and wait for their son to magically reappear, although sometimes kids showed up from other areas; it was somewhat chaotic.

This is where it got really interesting.  The longer your child was gone, the greater their chances of a callback.  Every time the door to the mysterious holding room opened, one parent would jump up and  try to peer in to see if she could find her son.  (I did look a couple times, but not 50…)  You would see flashes going off sometimes when the door opened, and we later found out that head shots were being taken of some of the boys.   Some kids emerged from the room after over an hour without a callback.  That sent some parents into a fury.  They barged back into the room (after pounding on the door) and demanded answers.   Keep in mind I believe my son was child number 700, and the people that handed you your child had no part in the selection process, they were just messengers.  It got me wondering if parents were acting out of desperation.  Were some people really counting on their child actually getting a part in a movie that may or may not ever actually make it to theaters?  Our economy is terrible around here, maybe some parents were hoping this would be their big break, much like people that really think they are going to win the lottery?  For us, it was just kind of an interesting and different thing to do.  For others, it may have been their perceived ticket to prosperity.  Or, maybe I am reading way too much into this and it was really just hunger, frustration and heat that brought the worst out in people.

Needless to say, my son emerged from the mysterious room with a little script and a callback for 2 days later.  Keep in mind, a ton of kids got callbacks, so we know the chances of him getting a part are slim.  That is ok, it was just an opportunity to try something different and see another side of life.  Now that we have done it once, I don’t know that we would ever do it again.  To be honest, I don’t know how people make acting their profession, this experience was exhausting!

Have you or anyone in your family ever attempted to get a part in a movie or television role?  Ever had any success?  What was your experience like?

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

bw July 5, 2010 at 7:31 am

Congrats on the call back for J! Let us know what the callback is like! 🙂

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dz July 5, 2010 at 9:56 am

What a neat experience! Hope the callback was fun and not quite so long!

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Money Reasons July 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I’ve never tried… With my daughter, I think perhaps I should have though.

Kudos to you for giving your son the opportunity! At least you can look back and say you tried! And who knows, maybe your son will get the part! Then you can look back and say “We did that”!

Expired “What if” sucks, so good for you in beating this “What if”!

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Kris July 5, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Money Reasons – You are right, he can always say he tried. It was fun, and I doubt we will ever do it again. On the other hand, who knows. The Detroit area has a lot of filming going on these days. Maybe I will be a star! HA!

It is not too late for your daughter if you really think it would be something she would enjoy.

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Susan July 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm

How fun! You are right, a fun experience to share, whether or not it goes any further!

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Budgeting in the Fun Stuff July 5, 2010 at 7:06 pm

That sounds like my idea of the worst day ever since I despise long lines. Good luck to your son on the call back though!

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Kris July 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm

BFS – Actually it was a great day. I don’t mind waiting in a long line to do something different. Plus I love people watching. Who knows what will come of it, but he was happy he was called back.

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Budgeting in the Fun Stuff July 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Yeah, my husband is pretty happy to people watch in lines too. I just have zero patience and get antsy…let’s just say I’m not cut out for theme parks and whatnot either, lol. I actually take books with me anywhere I might be in a line since that’s the only thing that keeps me from actually whining a bit. 🙂

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Trish July 6, 2010 at 9:28 am

My son auditioned also, and went for a callback on Thursday. We are now waiting for the next callback…just wondering if your son had been called back again.
It was (hopefully still is!) an experience that my son really enjoyed!

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Kris July 6, 2010 at 10:18 am

Trish – We have not received a second callback yet. They told me when we left to not expect anything for a week because of the holiday and such.

Good luck! I wonder if we saw each other in line! 🙂

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Trish July 6, 2010 at 11:00 am

Thanks, Kris .. maybe we did see each other! I hope to hear something sooner that later as we are scheduled to go on vacation next week! Good luck to you also, please keep me posted if you hear anything, and I’ll do the same.

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Trish July 6, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Actually, my parents took him and got there around 2:30. I met them at 5:30 p.m. and we were finished around 7:30…

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Kris July 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Trish – your son must be in the younger age group I am guessing? My son is 12, and I think they were supposed to show up between 5:30 and 8:00.

Good luck!!

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Trish July 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm

My son is 11, will be 12 in August. We did not realize there was a timeframe for the different ages. He was called back to audition for the part of “Bobbie”. I’m not very good at waiting!

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Rob from Rochester July 12, 2010 at 11:50 am

I took my son as well. We were in line for over five hours (3-8). You’re right, what an experience. My son actually befriended a group of four boys from Fenton just in line ahead of us and got to read his role (Tanker) with two of them. My son also got the same callback as your son, with the same two page script, but to be Bobby the next time. It was very interesting listening to the boys in line discuss how one would get one role and the buddy the other. I had to remind these kids it would be like finding a needle in a haystack for just ONE of them to get one of the two roles. It really was a crazy event. I heard about seven kids lost their parents and were getting led around the place by a worker yelling out the parent’s name while the kid would be bawling. We had our callback the next day and were done in about two minutes. He read with the director while being videotaped and then that was it. I can tell you there is supposed to be another round of callbacks before a final decision and that the movie will be shot in Southfield. About 160 boys got callbacks out of the over 600 boys who showed up. We did it because my son wanted to and even if he doesn’t get the next callback it was still a cool experience. Good Luck to you.

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Rob July 12, 2010 at 11:53 am

Hey Kris, my son is 11 and also got a callback for the Bobby role. I know about 160 boys got callbacks but not sure how many Bobby’s. Our callback was the next day – Thursday. We were told it would be probably two weeks before we heard anything making it sometime this week. Have you heard anything yet? Good Luck by the way to you as well.

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jason July 13, 2010 at 5:59 pm

My son has been to a 3rd callback with about 20 other kids to play baseball in front of director and producers has anyone been there? today is july 13th the 3rd callback was thurs july 8th maybe we’ll get a another call maybe we wont? fingers crossed!

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Marie July 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm

My son was also called back to the 3rd audition (Thursday)-playing baseball in front of the director and producer. Have not heard anything since, but was told that it would be a couple of weeks and filming should start in August. It has been an exciting experience….wait and see.

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Kristyn July 20, 2010 at 11:15 am

…and I’m another eagerly awaiting parent. My son was at the Tuesday baseball callback last week. Still waiting for the verdict!

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Steve July 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Kristyn – was your callback last Tuesday or Thursday? We were at a callback for Thursday. (July 15th)

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Kristyn July 20, 2010 at 7:33 pm

We were at the Tuesday July 13 baseball diamond callback. I wasn’t aware there was another callback after ours. I had heard there there was one on the 8th. There were about 22 kids at our callback. Hmmm…

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Kristyn July 20, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Steve—was your callback a first or second time at the baseball fields with your son? We were only at one callback on the field. Trying to piece this together! Ha ha! Good luck to you and hopefully we’ll all have an answer soon!

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Steve July 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Hi Kristyn, My son went to a ball diamond callback on Thursday, July 8th. He then had an acting callback on Thursday, July 15th at the Westin. We have not heard a thing back so far since that last callback. We only had 1 baseball diamond callback.

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RHONDA July 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Hi there,

Well my son was at a baseball diamond call back today at 11:00 am with about 20 kids but it was going all day until 3. He was one of the 6 kids left in his group and said we should hear something by next Wednesday. Said they are looking for 70-75 kids for the teams and then the all star team. Good Luck everyone

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Kristyn July 20, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Steve… Ooooh! Sounds like your son “could” be a potential for a speaking role. Wow! We havent heard anything past our one baseball field visit. It’s so tough to wait and wonder, but it’s been an exciting experience! We’re hoping for a callback, but who knows? I do hope we hear something either way. Again, good luck, and only time will tell!

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Rita July 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

My son got one call back for July 2, for Lori. Today, we showed up as a response we rec’d for “try-outs” for the baseball teams. Since we never heard for a call back for the Lori role, we obviously assume that our son got cut. Who knows what we’ll hear from today’s try-out. It has been fun though, and we just remind our boy that “how many kids can go back to school in Sept. and say they tried out for a movie!!” Has anyone our there gotten call backs for Lori?

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RHONDA July 22, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Rita,

What time was your son there? Mine was at 11:00am and about 20-25 kids were there and they kept 6 of them and said we would hear back something by next wednesday if they made one of the 7 teams.
I agree what great experience and getting a call back is awesome. Good Luck

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RHONDA July 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

Yes from what the producer/director told us yesterday the baseball tryouts they are looking for 70-75 kids to fill the baseball teams needed for the movie and that they would be letting the kids know by next wednesday at latest. Also out of these 70ish kids that make it they will come for some fielding to figure out what postion best suites them. Also, at that time if there are kids that really stand out they will be moved to the “All Star” team which is the main team that will be filiming for like 29 days he said. Otherwise the other boys would just be the extra teams which is still awesome. So yes defintely get your hopes up they need quite a few for teams.

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Rita July 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Rhonda – Thanks for the input! We were there about 2:30p.m.; no director/producer, just Mark Ellis of Sport Studio. He said they were looking for a good # of boys for all the teams they need, and even needed 50-ish for boys that weren’t necessarily that good at b.ball!! Hmm! My boy did great (I’m not just being partial here!), and caught both grounders batted to him, and quickly threw to 1st. base (or, the coach pretending to be 1st. base), with good form. Only 3 were pulled out however, so I suspect our son isn’t in the running. A bit disappointing, but still a fun experience! Funny, since much like the initial poster on this blog (from July 5), we never even thought of dabbling in the MI film buzz, but I saw the little thing about the cattle call on the 11p.m. news, June 29, and since we had no plans the next day, thought “what the heck!” I brought my son, and his friend, and couldn’t believe they kept my guy for more photos and time with the director (for the Lori role.) After our call back for 7/2, we didn’t hear anything, until the e-mail 2 days ago about the b.ball try-outs in Southfield. Oh well . . . good luck to all of you still in the running!! Will be cool to go see the film someday, and look for familiar kids faces from the different times we were there!!

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RHONDA July 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Rita,

Well you just never know. I wish everyone luck and if anyone hears anything please keep us posted. My son out of the 25 at our time they let all but 6 go and he was one of them. We got a call today because my husband didnt know my son’s last 4 digits for the paperwork so didnt fill it in and they called today saying they needed it so hoping that is a sign but who knows. They defitnely need to move fast if they want to start filming by August 2nd and get it all in before school starts. Well good luck everyone.

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Rita July 23, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Rhonda,

HAS to be the best of “signs!!” Cool – if they called for his last 4 digits of SS, that is truly a great sign. I didn’t have my son’s handy yesterday, and one of the staff told me it wasn’t impt. yesterday, as they would have “plenty of time to get it, if they wanted him back.” Congrats to your boy – I bet he is excited!!

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RHONDA July 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Hi,

Wanted to see if anyone got the email tonight for the final cut on tuesday for the baseball team? We received it tonight at 7:30 and are going back to determine who will make the teams and what postions they will play. My son is so excited. Still have to make this cut and then will be in movie but also could end up disappointed. Well good luck to everyone hope you have heard or will hear something.

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Rob July 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Hi Rhonda,

Yes, my son got the e-mail to show up on Tuesday for the final baseball tryout. He had gotten one callback to be Bobby but nothing after that until the invite to tryout this past Thursday. My son had a regional game in Chesterfield that ended at 2:30. With 696 a mess, we got to our 3:30 tryout just as the boys started to play catch. We were the smallest group of the day of about 25 kids. My son was one of the five kept at the end to do the cheer on pitcher’s mound. He was the youngest (just turned 11 in May) and smallest at 5 ft but he is a very good ballplayer and plays on a great travel team. We are going at 2:45 to pitch and catch if they let us do both. How old is your boy and what position does he play? I’ll probably see you there 🙂 Rob

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RHONDA July 24, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Hi Rob,

My son is 10 will be 11 august 31 and he plays first base and is a pitcher. We are hoping same thing to be able to do both I have a feeling that is not a problem. Doesnt take that long to throw a few pitches. He was there at 11:00 am and there was about 20-25 kids my husband said and they kept 6 of them. We played on the Lake Orion Diamond Dawgs Federation Team. What team does your son play for. I wish I knew how many kids were going to be there. I know Mark Ellis had said they neede to fill like 6 or 7 teams so we’ll see. Good luck to your son and anyone else that is there tuesday. Yes we will see you there I am sure.

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Lisa July 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Hi Rhonda,
Was just wondering how tall your son is. My son tried out for the movie and after 2 grounders, which he caught and threw back, he was dismissed (he was told not to throw it so hard). My son plays for a team that finished 2nd in the state and is nationally ranked…so I don’t think it was his baseball skills. My son is 5’8″ and looks like he is 14 or 15. There are some kids on his team I was going to tell about the try-outs this week but I don’t want to waste their time if they are looking for younger/smaller kids. Good luck to your son!!

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RHONDA July 25, 2010 at 9:26 am

Hi Lisa,

He is about 5’2″ 5’3″ area tall for his age of almost being 11. Well I would defintely not say it was your sons baseball skills forsure. Must be a certain look needed or something its all just big questions wondering whene and why. I think it also has been a great and fun expereince for the boys. Is your son older? Did the other boys get a call back then? I didnt know you could just show up? Thanks for the information good to know stuff. I love I found this little wall to communicate. Have a great weekend.

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Lisa July 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Hi Rhonda,
My son is older, closer to 13. If you go on Mlive in the youth baseball forums, there are open casting calls for boys with “high level baseball skills” for this Tuesday. My son was contacted by a talent agency to try-out. A friend of my daughters is being considered for the female star’s stand-in for the soccer portion of the movie (there is also a post on Mlive regarding a stand-in for a female baseball player). It is all very interesting and exciting. Hope you have a great day!!!

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Rob July 28, 2010 at 10:51 am

I don’t know Lisa, at yesterday’s tryout there were 13 yr olds over 6′ tall who threw the heck out of the ball and those kids were kept. My kid, just turned 11 in May, did get a callback but was dismissed quickly yesterday even though he looked solid with no mistakes on both grounders. The talent pool yesterday was very good, and knowing they needed all body types, sizes and ethnicities, I knew my son’s chances had just diminished greatly as the older kids were really good. Funny thing is the “stars” of the movie had been pointed out to me and they were terrible ballplayers. I guess that’s Hollywood.

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Lisa July 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Hi Rob,
Believe it or not, my son received a call back for the movie! The guy from the Sports studio said that he can tell if they were a good ball player from one or two grounders. It was crazy yesterday!!! At the end of it all the guy that was casting the movie said that he had seen over 2,000 kids for the spots…and he certainly wasn’t expecting the type of turn-out they had!! My son was offered a spot BUT (in typical hollywood fashion) they would let everyone know in 48 hours whether or not they needed them because they are rewriting the movie and may be cutting out one of the games (so they won’t need as many teams). I also saw the “stars” of the movies…it was pretty funny watching them trying to get ground balls.

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Rob July 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Congrats to your son Lisa! Do you mind me asking how old he is and tall? It seemed with all the older kids coming out the younger kids didn’t have much of a chance. Let us know how he does. Do you remember his #? We were 692. What team does he play on? Had you guys gone last Thursday or just Tuesday? Just wondering.

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Rob July 29, 2010 at 7:58 am

Sorry Lisa, I saw your response and replied off my Blackberry last night and didn’t realize you had written and answered all these questions earlier. It all makes sense to me now. On Thursday Ellis said he liked about 48 kids going into my son’s group, which was last. He kept about five of those kids which puts him at about 53 kids. He still had to fill the A team. However, by Tuesday he only needed one A player. Also, the quote from one of the casting women said they only needed about 30 players out of Tuesday’s tryout. Well, they needed 70 altogether which means of the 50+ kids he liked, 25 of those kids were on teh bubble and had to do the callback whereas the other 25 or so were in for sure – kids like your son. So my son wasn’t a top 25, he was a bubble 25 and having just turned 11 in May and only 5′ tall, he got bumped by the bigger, older and better kids. Good Luck again, I hope he gets in. To me the best part would be getting to keep the uniform as a keepsake. Let us know what happens 🙂

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Rob July 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Ryan plays for the U10 Rochester Recruits. We just got knocked out of Regionals yesterday losing out on a tie-breaker. My son pitched against you May 9th, Mother’s Day. We beat you 14-10. He was out of town the other game. We will see you there Tuesday! I think our chances are good. Ellis told our group before they performed that he had seen about 280 kids and only liked 48. Add the 5 or 6 from our group and that’s only 54. He also said he had calls out to teams that were at their World Series so he wasn’t through seeing kids but still – if he needs 70 plus another 55 to not play ball,and he was only taking a second look at roughly 55, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Good Luck to you.

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RHONDA July 25, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Rob,

Wow good for you guys on the regionals you did great. Well even if the boys dont make it they should be proud out of 280 kids he like about 54 that is great. Yea I hope it turns out good for the boys I guess it depends on how many come tomorrow since I did see the post on Mlive the mom talked about but you would have to be looking for it I guess. Yea he had mentioned like 6 teams to us and an Allstar team. The Mlive was saying major player and AAA top kids and AA tops kids they want trying out and looks like those time were same time they told us. What is the 55 players that arent playing ball you lost me on that one. Well we will see you there and if you hear anything else please let me know. Good luck

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Rob July 28, 2010 at 10:45 am

What a day. Rhonda, were you there? I was told of the 280 kids from last Thursday, only 25 were called back. But with another “open” call yesterday, my son’s callback was worthless. He didn’t even get a second look even though he did better Tuesday than Thursday. He wore the same uni, and made his two plays fine, but didn’t get to even shag a fly. Maybe because he was a catcher and those spots had been filled, I don’t know. But he went from top 25 to see ya later. On Thursday when we tried out, we were told there were so many spots for the “A” team. By Tuesday that number was down to one. Things happen behind the scenes we have no clue about. I felt terrible for my son who had high hopes. I hope your son fared better.

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Rita July 24, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Nope. Unfortunately did not get the e-mail last night! How cool that my husband found this blog though . . . o/w we would just keep wondering, but so nice to hear that Rhonda and Rob’s sons got e-mails!! Can’t wait to hear how they do! Good luck boys!!

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John July 24, 2010 at 7:29 pm

My son was at the 8:00 am time slot and we have not received any email or notification of any kind.

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jason July 29, 2010 at 11:20 am

has anyone from the 8am callback from last thur. heard anything yet ?

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jason July 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm

it’s very confusing based on what my husband said and then not hearing anything

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John July 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Well, it is really confusing since the speech to the 8:00 am group was how great these kids are, the director/producer/etc really like these kids, blah blah. Then only the travel baseball players that come later get heard from anyone (from what I am reading.)

Don’t get me wrong, I congratulate any and all that get a role in the movie. I just really wish the communication was better.

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jason July 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I agree we are sitting in the dark wondering what is going on and why they would say that and then not call anyone maybe there is still time I guess I don’t think they started practice yet so I guess we’ll see

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jason July 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm

has anyone heard any info reguarding practice I know Mark Ellis said he was hoping to start this week but from what I can tell noone has started practice yet, trying to get an idea of what might be going on

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Lisa July 30, 2010 at 5:40 pm

We were told on Tuesday (after try-outs) that my son made it but that they might be doing a rewrite so they would call us by Thursday to let us know. He said that they were going to start filming @ Aug. 9th.
I heard yesterday (Thursday) about what “team” my son was going to be on and what days he would be shooting (but nothing about practice.) Hope this helps.

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kami July 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm

I have heard nothing since the last week Thursday 8am callback that had sounded so promising- so I am just assuming that we are done now – but I really have no idea – if anyone else knows if they are done with casting, I would like to know just to have some closure on all of this

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Deidre @ TransFormX January 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Congrats on the call back! Yes, its a weird experience and you never know where you may or may not appear in the movie. You could be in a crowd of 1000 other people and in a shot for 2 seconds. Yet, people do turn out for the casting calls.

When I lived in Louisiana there were casting calls all the time. You wouldn’t think so but there were. To the tune of 2 or more a month. Lots of movies get filmed there. Most times, if you were picked, you sat around all day long just to walk in a crowd of people for 2 seconds. But people did it and the pay was not too bad when you consider that many were kids who had 6.00 per hour (or whatever) summer jobs. They were happy with the $100 they made that day.

Those were the paying kind. There are also just ‘walk on’ parts where you do not get paid. I inadvertantly was in one of those walking down Bourbon Street one time.

So, did your son ever get the part and what did he think of the whole experience? Kids have an interesting perspective 🙂

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