Film Title: Nico
Writer/Director: Max Olson
Producer: Corrine McGarey
Casting Director: Damian Bao
Cinematographer: Hannah Platzer
Editor: Devin Dulany
Production Designer: Al-E McWhorter
Costume Director: Heathermary Jackson
Makeup: Shy Elizabeth
Contract: SAG Short Film
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Shoot Dates: May 25 – June 3 (6 shoot days in that window).
Talent Rate: $300/day for lead roles; $216/day for supporting roles
NICO is a surreal drama short exploring what it means to see and be seen. Our protagonist Nico is an AFAB (assigned female at birth) nonbinary punk loner who has just begun to explore their gender divergence. We are all by now familiar with the story of transition, the story of hiding, the story of taking the leap, but we have yet to see a story exploring the particularly fraught experience of what happens after transition, after the leap into the unknown is taken. Inspired by our writer-director Madeleine (Max) Olson’s own experience living outside the gender binary, this is a story about a person who has walked through the door of transition and found themselves in a strange, liminal hallway alone, and about what awaits them on the other side.
The final result will be a 15 minute short film, shot on 35mm, that we will submit for film festivals under the short film competition. This is an American Film Institute Conservatory thesis film.
Film will shoot 6 days between May 25 – June 3. For talent outside of LA, travel will be provided (economy flight or by train) and accommodations will be provided (hotel or comparable AirBnB option) will be provided. Talent must be able to legally work in the USA.
Casting is open to union and non union actors, represented and unrepresented talents as well as talents who have no acting experience. Our casting office specializes in discovering unknowns and we are open and committed to giving everyone, no matter their acting level, a chance at auditioning. The casting process is 100% free to talent.
LEAD ROLES (Open to talent nationwide)
NICO (LEAD ROLE, They/Them, 25-35, Afab Nonbinary, Transmasc Or Genderqueer) – Nico is a nonbinary punk loner who has just begun to explore their gender divergence. They have buzzed dark hair that frames their slender face. Their eyes contain a softness that belies their efforts to appear sharp, convex and impenetrable to the world around them. Brilliant, sensitive and deeply emotional, the process of transitioning has not been easy and has left them alienated from most people in their life. They had been hiding their true self for so long, from others and from themselves, that this process of becoming left them akin to an exposed nerve, raw and afraid. They became more insular and timid. Low stakes interactions became high stakes and oftentimes terrifying—how will they see me? They are utterly alone and preoccupied with the idea of perception, of trying to find a way of existing authentically in the world that doesn’t hurt. This is where we meet them, wrapped in the armor of a black woolen coat, looking for their place in the world. What might happen if the person who makes them feel seen is their grieving elderly neighbor, Helen?
HELEN (LEADING ROLE, She/They, 70 to 100 years old, all ethnicities Woman) – Helen is an elderly woman living next door to Nico. She has a deep, strong voice. She has never lived her life in the expected way, a painter who dresses in a mix of masculine and feminine clothing. There is an otherworldly depth to her eyes that suggests not only an unorthodox intellect but also a well of grief. She is highly empathetic and perceptive but still reeling from the loss of her beloved husband. After her husband’s death, she hasn’t spent much time outside of the house, instead painting endless green landscapes and dancing alone to songs they once shared as the world outside forgets her. When we meet her, she is alienated, her past wiped away by time. She longs for connection, reaching out to Nico when she senses that they may be longing for it too.
SUPPORTING & BACKGROUND ROLES (Open to LA local talent ONLY)
JESSIE (SUPPORTING ROLE, 25 to 35 years old, woman of color.) – Jessie is a powerful presence, a natural leader. She is ferocious, interested in the darker corners of experience and overall, lost. She and Nico were best friends throughout her early 20s, until Nico began to withdraw from her silently as they transitioned. Jessie’s empathy is buried beneath a host of insecurities and traumas that make Nico’s abandonment sting even harder. Her pride makes admitting fault a difficult task. Jessie precipitates the inciting incident of the film, her presence putting Nico on a path towards discovering the answer to her essential question to them: “how do you want me to see you?”
BACKGROIUND EXTRAS – All ethnicities. Age 18-40. Looking for club goers! Must be based in LA.