This was for a film. A low-budget independent feature. I haven't gone out for these much, partly because I've had the focus for a while now on paid work. Also, it's much more of a dicey prospect with film. Theater in Chicago is a very small, contained world. After a couple of years you pretty much know who's who and what's what. And if you don't, it's pretty easy to find out.
With film, there are all kinds of people out there making movies. Or trying to. Or thinking about it. So I didn't really know how to go about vetting an opportunity like this. With student films at least you have the imprimatur of the school -- you know there's going to be a certain standard.
Luckily I've been part of this group of film actors who meet monthly and also act as a sounding board and information source for industry happenings. So I asked some people and got some good tips on the kinds of things to investigate (beyond just figuring out if the filmmaker is a sane, rational person who you could envision working with).
Things like the makeup of the crew, the kind of equipment, production schedule, distribution plans, etc. He was really cool about answering my questions (that's another "tell" -- if they get defensive or offended in the process then they're not somebody you want to work with).
The main reason I was interested in the project was that the scene the producer sent me was funny and the role fit me pretty well. (Sort of a Tim Gunn thing. A mean Tim Gunn.) I thought it would be nice to do a little work like that again. It's a relatively small commitment, time and energy-wise, but it's an important scene in the movie -- the first one, in fact. Also it just sort of fell into my lap. A friend recommended me and that's how I got the call. They needed somebody snobby and she immediately thought of me.
So it looks like I'm doing it, schedule willing. He enjoyed my audition and cast me on the spot. This will be a fun thing to be involved in.