How to Get It Done When You Don't Know What You're Doing: When Actors Quit


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #1

This column is written by Sally Hassan, the creator of Ghetto Nerd Girl. I talk about how to get through the vital steps of making a web series as smoothly and painlessly as possible.

As a virtual mentor for all you web series creators out there on Stareable, I feel it’s my job to prepare you for it all. I think about what I wanted to know when I started and this topic is high on the list. It can feel like there’s no way out, but believe me, there is. There are a lot of unglamorous things that come with the territory of making web series and this is definitely one of them.

You have your script written out, your cast is ready to go, and you may have even filmed a couple of episodes. You get that dreaded phone call, text or e-mail. They’re letting you know this role is no longer working out and you have to part ways. At this moment it’s important to know your web series dream is not dead unless you decide it is. Every situation is different, but here are a few guidelines that will help you get back on track.


Paul Epifan & Melissa Damas in Ghetto Nerd Girl Ep. 1.4 - Buzzed Off Boys N' Beer AKA Our 1st Actor Rewrite Episode

1.) Let Them Go – It is what it is. Chances are it’s their loss, not yours. You don’t want someone on your team who doesn’t want to be there anyway.

2.) Be Cordial – Make it a clean break and let it be known there are no hard feelings (even if there are). Don’t forget that if you filmed some episodes together, you’re still going to have to promote them too. Bad mouthing will only make you and your series look unprofessional. Put the personal issues aside and everything will be fine.

3.) Square It Away – Get your paperwork completed ASAP so you don’t have to chase someone down. If you didn’t have it before you won’t have it now. Cut your losses if you have to.

4.) Be Flexible – Have an open mind. Write the character out, recast, and/or do whatever you need to do to move on. You have the rest of your cast/crew to lean on to make the transition easier.

The more adaptable you are to changes the better off you’ll be. I’ve had multiple actors quit on me and the world didn’t end! There were understandable circumstances but I had to act fast to keep the series going. Luckily I was able to make some last minute rewrites before filming the next episode and everything was okay. It affected the final outcome but I think it improved our series overall.


Shayna Schmidt, Megan McGullam & Melissa Damas in Ghetto Nerd Girl Ep. 1.6 - V Is For Virgin AKA Our 2nd Actor Rewrite Episode

I wish I could tell you making a web series is great all the time, but it’s not. There will be frustrating moments and even some tears if you’re anything like me. It means you care a lot and that will keep you going. Don’t quit because I know if I can get through it then you can too. I mean what else would you rather be doing?

Do you have a similar experience? How did you get through it? Tell me your stories I’d love to hear them!

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Teach Me Tuesday: Firing and recasting actors
The Art of Recasting
(Bri Castellini) #2

Have you had to recast without being able to reshoot? Like replace an actor between seasons or episodes? How did you deal with that? Just say their name and hope people either don’t notice or don’t care? Make a meta joke?


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #3

Funny you ask! Yes I have. I plan on going into detail about recasting in next week’s column post. Stay tuned.