DC Shorts 2016 Film Festival

SEPTEMBER 8–18, 2016

Screenplay Competition Casting

Thank you for your interest in reading for the 2017 DC Shorts Screenplay Competition.

The DC Shorts Screenplay Competition is a very different kind of screenwriting competition. A panel of reviewers consisting of filmmakers, screenwriters and critics reviewed over 90 screenplays — and selected the top 6 to be performed in front of a live audience! We need actors to read for this performance. This is a non-paid gig. SAG-AFTRA members may participate. To participate, please review the script breakdowns for each project. If you believe there is a role (or two) you wish to be considered for:

(1) Make sure you are available on Friday, September 15 @ 10:00 am for a live audition, 12:00 pm rehearsals and the 7:00 pm evening performance. If you are not available all day on 9/15 — do not participate.
(2) Email your headshot (JPG only) and resume (PDF only) to the email address listed. The subject line must contain the ROLE for which you want to be considered.
(3) Do not send large files, Word documents, or ay photo format other than JPG — your email will automatically be rejected.
(4) If you want to be considered for multiple scripts, you must email your information to each project.

After sending your information, the writers will review your information and will call those they believe are best suited. Those contacted will “audition” via telephone and might be asked to attend the live audition on Friday, September 15 @ 10:00 am at the E Street Cinema, corner of 11th and E Street NW (Metro Center station). After the live audition, selected actors will rehearse the piece before the performance at 7:00 pm. DC Shorts does not interfere with the casting process. Each writer has a different process. Do not call the DC Shorts office with questions or updates.

If you want to be considered for multiple scripts, you must email your information to each project.  No resumes will be considered after September 15.

Lastly, Carlyn Davis of Carlyn Davis Casting will be providing a short talk on Casting Agencies as well as answering any burning questions you have while our screenwriters’ deliberate.


To be considered for a role in BALLAD OF FARGO LAREDO, email your headshot and resume to cast.of.balladoffargolaredo@dcshorts.com. Make sure to include the role in the subject line.

SYNOPSIS: A man believes he’s an Old West bounty hunter but after he finds a boy’s hamster and brings in an escaped convict he must return to his home.

FARGO LAREDO – (Male, 40) Protagonist. A handsome, Matt Dillon-like. Totally lost in the 1800s. A John Wayne character in a Western.
HECTOR – (Male, 12) Good kid. Really likes Fargo. Thinks being a bounty hunter is cool. Preferably Hispanic but not required.
GLORIA – (Female, 35) Hector’s mother. Protective of Hector. Comes to admire Fargo in more ways than one. Preferably Hispanic but not required.
JUD DUDLEY – (Male, 45) Villain. Mean. Escaped convict. Overly confident.
TWO POLICE OFFICERS – (Any Gender or Age) Basic police officers.
TWO MENTAL INSTITUTION WORKERS – (Any Gender and any adult age) Basic Men and Woman.
TWO OR THREE TEENS – (Any gender any age) Hecklers.



To be considered for a role in THE BATTLE OF XA HOA CHAU, email your headshot and resume to cast.of.thebattleofxahoachau@dcshorts.com. Make sure to include the role in the subject line.

SYNOPSIS: A group of American tourists in Vietnam have conflicting feelings about the war but are united in their devotion to photography. They are involved in an incident that echoes the American wartime role as an unwelcome and destructive intruder.

LAO — (Male, 28) Vietnamese. Speaks English with a Vietnamese accent. Reserved and polite in dealing with tourists, but must be vehement and assertive when a crisis develops.
PAUL — (Male, 70). American. A serious business man with direct mannerisms and gruff expression. Blunt, crude and insensitive in conversation.
DORIS — (Female, 72) American. Paul’s wife. Well-travelled, friendly and agreeable. Devoted to her hobby of photography. Somewhat submissive to Paul.
BARRY — (Male, 53) American. Friendly and open in appearance. Good natured, jocular and prone to make inappropriate jokes.
SUSAN — (Female, 52) American. Barry’s wife. More serious and mature than Barry, the dominant spouse in the marriage. Needs to rein him in and reprimand him on occasion.
DON — (Male, 71) American. A grown up hippy, vegetarian with a mild temperament and wry sense of humor. Idealistic but not aggressive about it. Tries to win people over with humor.
JUDY — (Female, 69) American. Don’s wife. Grown up hippy, sincere and solicitous in her dealings with others. Retired nurse. Healthy and natural.
NARRATOR — Male or female narrator.



To be considered for a role in ONE CHILD BORN, email your headshot and resume to cast.of.onechildborn@dcshorts.com. Make sure to include the role in the subject line.

SYNOPSIS: A Rwandan Tutsi farmer’s third child is coming. As he waits on his front porch for the midwife to do her work, his oldest son arrives home with the news that a Hutu mob is also coming.

(NOTE: the actors should be prepared to use a mild East African accent. To hear a Rwandan woman’s accent in English, visit here. To hear a Rwandan man’s accent in English, visit here.)

LAURENT – (Male, 30s to early 50s) – A Rwandan Tutsi farmer, at home with his two children Michel and Charlotte and his wife Sylvie. He must come up with a plan to save his family from a genocidal mob.
SYLVIE – (Female, 30s to late 40s) – Laurent’s wife, in labor with her third child. She is in no condition to flee the approaching mob.
MADAME KAGAME – (Female, late 50s to 80s) – a wise and experienced midwife. She will not leave Sylvie to give birth alone, even though the mob is coming.
MICHEL – (Male, early/mid-teens) – Laurent and Sylvie’s firstborn, the one who first sees the mob and warns the family. He will have to save his little sister.
PAUL – (Male, mid-30s to mid-50s) – leader of the Hutu mob. A former friend of Laurent’s, he now has to kill Laurent’s entire family to satisfy the mob’s bloodlust.
CHARLOTTE – (Female, child, 6 to 10) – Laurent and Sylvie’s daughter. Unaware of the danger, outside the house, she must obey her brother Michel if they are both to survive.
MOB MEMBER – (Male, 20s to 30s) – extra with two lines of dialogue. A member of the mob of genocidaires.
NARRATOR – (any age or gender) – reader for sluglines/stage directions/action.



To be considered for a role in SERMON BY COMMITTEE, email your headshot and resume to cast.of.sermonbycommittee@dcshorts.com. Make sure to include the role in the subject line.

SYNOPSIS: Moments before Jesus is to deliver the Sermon on the Mount, His disciples decide it needs a bit of a rewrite.

PETER – (Male, 25s-40s) Taller, more commanding and slightly older than the others. He’s the get-it-done guy.
JUDAS – (Male, 20s-30s) Helpful and well-meaning, like a younger brother who wants to please.
JESUS – (Male, 30s) Preferably he looks like someone who could pass for what Americans think of as Jesus on first sight: skinny, long hair, beard, encircled by aura of celestial light – that kind of thing.

STAGE DIRECTION/REMAINING CHARACTERS – The remaining 10 disciples are more or less a comedic Greek chorus, i.e., a single character. They are a bevy of seasoned political hacks – handlers – sure of their opinions. They assess everything based on the political ramifications, not on what Jesus might actually want.

These roles can be MALE OR FEMALE; deadpan comedic ability/timing are more important. The roles are: The roles are:
SIMON – (Female or Male, 20-40)
JOHN – (Female or Male, 20 to 40)
ANDREW – (Female or Male, 20 to 40)
MATTHEW – (Female or Male, 20 to 40)
JAMES THE YOUNGER – (Female or Male, late teens early 20s)
JAMES THE ELDER – (Female or Male, the oldest of the lot, 40s or later)
THOMAS – (Female or Male, 21 to 40)
BARTHOLEMEW – (Female or Male, 21 to 40)
THADDEUS – (Female or Male, 21 to 40)
PHILLIP – (Female or Male, 21 to 40)



To be considered for a role in SILENT SENTINEL, email your headshot and resume to cast.of.silentsentinel@dcshorts.com. Make sure to include the role in the subject line.

SYNOPSIS: Tells the true story of the night in 1917 when women’s suffrage activist Doris Stevens crept by night through a graveyard to speak with National Woman’s Party leader Alice Paul who was being held in the District Prison for the crime of asking for women to be given the right to vote.

Note: the actors playing characters will be called upon to perform some of the narration of their characters’ actions. It is important that the actors are able to vocally distinguish between their narration and dialog.

ALICE PAUL – (Female, 30s) A well-educated woman and the leader of the National Women’s Party, Alice must project both vulnerability as she is almost broken by the treatment she receives, and the inner strength to overcome that treatment and lead the fight for women’s suffrage.
DORIS STEVENS – (Female, late 20’s) Upper middle class and well-educated. Doris is scared at the risks she takes to meet with Alice, but not so scared that she does not persevere.
DOCTOR J. A. GANNON – (Male, 40’s – 60’s) Well-educated and always in command, Doctor Gannon is the antagonist of the piece. A pillar of right-thinking male authority, Gannon is determined to stamp down Alice’s attempts to resist.
GUARD – (Male, any age) A guard who pursues Doris through the graveyard.
NURSE – (Female, any age) The nurse who administers the forced feeding under the direction of Doctor Gannon.
FRANK and ELMER – (Male, any age, rough work) Two prison attendants who assist in Alice’s forced feeding.
NARRATOR – (Female, any age) The narrator of the piece.



To be considered for a role in THE SON, THE FATHER, email your headshot and resume to cast.of.thesonthefather@dcshorts.com. Make sure to include the role in the subject line.

SYNOPSIS: A birthday surprise sets in motion events that will have far reaching consequences for a son and his parents.

NARRATOR – (Male or Female, 50-70 years of age) Must be able to read with authority, with energy, but at the same time note the important changes in location or mood. In particular, the important jump in time two thirds through.
LUKE – (Male, 9 -10 years old) He is friendly and quiet.
LUKE – (Male, 18) – He intense, quiet.
MOTHER – (Female, 30’s) – She has a cackle, rough, drinks too much.
FATHER – (Male, 30’s) He is warm, hard working, worried. (will play both aged 30’s & 50’s)
MAIL MAN – (Male, 50’s) – He is kind.
SUSAN – (Female, 55) – Bohemian, larger than life makeup artist.
GUARD – (Male, any age) – He is stern, cold.
WOMAN AT BUS STOP – (Female, 30’s)

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