Interview with Pascal Payant, Director of ‘On the Horizon’
On The Horizon is the story of two lovers with insatiable passion living in extreme opposition, leading them into separate lives of flight and fancy that hinge on one moment in time.
This film has won nine awards around the world, has been selected by more than 23 festivals, and has been accurately described as “visual poetry”. Even more extraordinary is that the film was made with a mere $85,000 budget and a crew of only three people!
Jennifer McCall sat down with the Montreal-based director, producer, and writer of this incredible film, Pascal Payant.
What was the process of choosing the right talent for each role?
Casting took a long time. More than 50,000 auditioned for the film. I always believe in new people; new faces that no one knows. It’s a double-edged sword though, because you want new fresh faces but it’s harder to sell for distribution. I didn’t want to think about that and I didn’t have the money to hire a star name. I was lucky enough to find the best people for the job. Tyler Johnson (Casey) and Sandy Leddin (Elissa), both coming from the modeling world, killed it in their roles.
I write the characters and then I find actors, people who are living them in real life. This way it’s authentic on the screen. It’s not forced, it’s believable because they are those characters. I never auditioned them in real life. Every actor from France and USA in the film was all done via Skype or tapes. I don’t believe in being in the same room as them. All that matters is the final result on tape. If you pay attention you will know everything you need just by looking at the tape – their passion, their drive, and the uniqueness that they can bring.
Do you have any tips for upcoming actors?
I would say no matter what stage you are in your career, always work with a director that can push you to your best. Trust them and give everything. It’s easy to be in fear and not capable of letting go. Work with a director that you adore their work. If you are not satisfied by what they do, you will not love the final result.
Always do your research and see if you love what the director does. That’s going to be enough to create passion and excitement. Trust the process but what matters is the final result.
If it’s advice for a taped audition, remember that every detail that you add will affect the audience, the one who watches your tape. Show that you care, that you are passionate. Don’t read from the script for a taped audition; you want to be there in the moment with them. Having the actor reading a piece of paper throws them out of the scene right away. You have the chance to record it over and over, so take the time you need and make sure the recording is your best work. You have no excuse to give us a mediocre experience.
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