We talk a lot on this blog about how you can use Cast It Talent to your advantage as an actor, but what about those on the other side of the table? James Berberich spoke with us about how he worked Cast It to his advantage and made his first feature film.
James Patrick Berberich grew up in Richmond, VA, though he recently moved to Alexandria, where he works part-time as a freelance audio visual tech for Event Media Technologies in addition to his work as a script writer and filmmaker.
James caught the bug at 9 years old, when his lifelong love of television and film spurred him begin writing and directing plays starring his brothers and cousins in his grandparents’ basement.
His love of the medium went beyond the pleasure of escapism—he would dissect movies bit by bit, learning how they were made. Michael Mann became a source of inspiration as one of the first big name directors make the switch to digital.
James’s passion for filmmaking carried him straight through to college. His longtime goal was to study it at Virginia Commonwealth University, but the rigorously competitive major proved too exclusive. Rerouting, James changed majors and was accepted to Redford University as a teacher. There, he discovered a burgeoning media production program and changed course once more, earning his Bachelors of Sciences in Media Production. Dissatisfied with the lack of focus in the degree, James taught himself the tricks of the trade via YouTube and studying his idols, including Ryan Connolly of Film Riot.
Over the next decade James diligently pumped out shorts, cutting his writing teeth on practical experience, always building toward a feature film. When he read Robert Rodriguez’s Rebel Without a Crew, James found the push he needed, and within a month was producing his first feature. He tried and dismally failed at raising money from a kickstarter. He held open casting calls and no one came. Then one day he got a message from the mother of an actress who thought her daughter would be a good fit for his film. One Skype interview later, he had a lead actress, and the curse was broken. Actors poured in. James fronted his savings to make the film, and by March 26th 2016, “Connected Killer premiered at the Byrd Theatre in Richmond, a mere year after the whole process began. The film is now working through the festival circuit and will be available on iTunes and Amazon next month.
“I didn’t discover Cast it Talent, it found me,” says James. “Somehow someone posted all the information into your website about my casting call. About a week after…I started receiving e-mails from Cast it Talent. From amazingly talented actors and actress[es], I could have never found on my own.” Cast It provided James with at least four members of his cast. “Once I got the emails from Cast it Talent I would watch the demo reels, then I would check them out on Facebook, and YouTube to make sure they were the real deal. They always were.”
Currently James is working on a film called “Leading to Revelation.” Already he has been seeing a drastically different response in the turnout of actors. The film is set to premiere in December. “After that I plan on getting ready to do it all over again.”
When asked what advice he had to those who would follow in his footsteps, James said, “My advice to young artist[s] is that you are going to fail, a lot, but never lose hope, and never give up. With each failure comes a lesson. Learn from it, and keep going.
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