How to use MediaTag to cast your film

Whenever I start a new film, one of the first steps will be to try and find potential actors. It can be while the screenplay is being written or once it is completed. Either way, MediaTag is a very useful tool to gather ideas about the type of actors your project might need.

MediaTag is useful because it helps you save inspiring photos very quickly, as well as organize them without having to think about it.

Here is how I use it:

Start by getting a list of photos


I usually start browsing imdb.com, to get a feel of the type of actors I like. I will first go with A-list actors. They are not actors I would aim to cast, since there is little chance to reach them for a first film, but it still gives allows me to brainstorm and to share ideas with the producer, cinematographer and the rest of the team.

Using the MediaTag's browser extension, whenever you see a photo you like, you can simply click on it, then choose 'save to Mediatag':



A window opens, where you can optionally add tags to it. In this case, I start by simply adding a tag for the project (current film is called
seeds
) and also
cast
.



A good thing is that after having added those tags, they appear in the list of recently used ones. For the following photos, you will not need to type them anymore, but simply click on them. This allows you to add each with one click.

Do that a few times and you quickly end up with a nice list of actors:



Set default tags


Now, even though those 2 tags are in the recently used one, you still need 2 clicks to add them. This is quick, but here is an ever quicker way:

You can do is simply set those tags as default.



Now every time you will save something in MediaTag, those tags will immediately be set. Now saving only requires a single click.

And of course, this default is just as easy to remove, if you do not need them anymore



It becomes much faster as you really don't have to think anymore. Simply right click -> 'Save Image in MediaTag' and you are done.

There is also another way to set a group of tags that you could add to your item in a single click, which is bookmarking them. We will review that in a future post. Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter below to be notified when this is published.

In the mean time, you can always read more in our docs.

Refine by character

At some point you may have accumulated a good list of photos. And you may then need to reorganize them, possibly by characters. A quick and easy way to do that is to select multiple ones and batch edit tags. Here is how it works:

First use the mouse to select multiple items, just like you would with files on your computer:



Then select 'edit' -> '>Batch edit tags':



And simply add a tag for the character you want to assign them. In this case, my character is called
jo
, this is therefore the tag I added.




Mix photos between projects


A great advantages of having your photos organized by tags is that you can re-organize them every easily, as shown in the previous chapter.

What is also interesting is how you can re-organize them in between projects.

For now, we've seen how it could work with a single project. We have 2 tags
seeds
and
cast
. But let's assume you have 3 projects. You would have the photos under the following tags:

-
seeds
and
cast

-
project2
and
cast

-
project3
and
cast


And when navigating under each of those you would see the photos for each. But if you were to navigate under the tag
cast
only, you would then see the photos from all projects.

Once you can have this type of view, it becomes very easy to move one or more photos from one project to the other. And since those are only tags, nothing prevents you from having a photo with both tags
seeds
and
project2
.

All in all, this makes the photos that inspire you easy to see from multiple context and move around in a couple clicks, without having to duplicate anything.

Websites I would save photos from


Here are the websites I usually visit to find actors:
- imdb (the most obvious one)
- mandy
- spotlight

And don't forget that the origin of the photo will always be displayed, as this comes very useful when you want to look back at an imdb page for instance. The credits of the actor or actress you saved is just one click away:



Not just photos


I've here only talked about adding photos, but you can do the exact same thing by adding webpages, videos or even moments in videos.

Let's say you stumble on an article which mention an actor you like but there is no photo, simply save the page by clicking on the extension badge.

Or if you watch a video on Youtube or Vimeo and you see someone who could fit in your film, do the same thing, click on the extension badge and the film will be saved into MediaTag.

Much easier than saving locally on a computer


This is where MediaTag really shines compares to saving files in folders. Everything can be saved and organized more naturally, without having to give it much thoughts.

If you were to save photos in folders, you would have to create a set of folders before hand. You would also have to duplicate photos which could belong to more than one character. You would never be able to have a global view of all your photos, as you would need to dive into each sub folder to see what's inside. All in all, it would take longer to move your files there, breaking your train of thoughts, and therefore preventing you from being as creative as you could. 

Not just for casting


And of course, I took the example of casting in this post, but really this can apply to any type of work where you want to organize various media in a flexible way.

I currently use it to organize:
- location scouting photos
- production design references
- cinematography references
- articles for research during screenwriting

I will wrote more about each of those subjects in the coming days. Be sure to subscribe to the weekly newsletter below to be notified when those articles are published.