DC Shorts Film Festival 2017

SEPTEMBER 6—17, 2018

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 DOUBLE TAP, email your headshot and resume to cast.of.doubletap@dcshorts.com. Make sure to include the role in the subject line.

SYNOPSIS: A woman suffers a crisis when she accidentally double taps on an image in her secret crush’s Instagram account.  

BUFFY – (Female, late 30’s–early 40’s) Polished, professional woman. Asian descent, any height. She looks put-together, but she’s a control freak and so when things spiral out of control, she turns into a complete spaz.

MARIA – (Female, 20’s) Free-spirited woman. If possible, Asian descent, any height — fresh-faced and not fussy. A millennial hippie (without being a hipster)

JOE – (Male, 20’s) Totally doofy space-case. Any ethnicity, any height. The type of guy who might be a bit scruffy and wear flannel, 80s-style retro glasses, and skinny jeans.

DAN – (Male, late-30’s to early 40’s) So cool he’s hot. Preferably Asian descent, any height. Polished and professional businessman by day, cool artist by night. So, good-looking, yes, but there’s also something a little edgy about him. Maybe hair that’s a little out of control, a tattoo half-hidden under his button-down shirt sleeve?

NARRATOR: (Any ethnicity, Any Age) A voice that projects, good comedic timing.



Patricia’s independence

To be considered for a role in PATRICIA’S INDEPENDENCE, email your headshot and resume to cast.of.patriciasindependence@dcshorts.com. Make sure to include the role in the subject line.

SYNOPSIS: Patricia lives an independent lifestyle and refuses help from family members. When she is faced with a situation that is beyond her control, it takes a turn for the worse.

PATRICIA WATKINS – (Female, 39) A married mother of two and a top lobbyist at the Smith Group firm. She is always on the move and constantly busy with several activities with work and family. She believes in being a strong, black independent woman with minimal assistance.  She also is addicted to Modafinal prescription pills. This helps her to stay alert at all times. She praises herself daily with the “I can do bad all by myself” mentality. However, her daily busy schedule gets interrupted which affects her mentally and physically.

BRANDON WATKINS – (Male, 10) Patricia’s son. He is a baseball player for the Tigers. He constantly reminds his mother about his upcoming games so she won’t forget. She does attend the games but usually pays attention to her iphone. He honestly wants his mother to pay attention to him but he is used to it and depends on his father for true support.

TASHA WATKINS – (Female, 12) Patricia’s daughter. She is involved in the dance squad and plays the violin at her school. She’s a very smart girl but very concerned about her mother. She constantly reminds her about making sure she picks her up from her various school activities. Her mom rarely asks her how her day is going because she’s constantly on her phone or in a rush to attend a meeting. Tasha wants her mother to admit she has a problem and to spend more time with her family.

CECIL WATKINS – (Male, 42) Patricia’s husband. He is an attorney for a top law firm. He has adopted Patricia’s independent behavior but does not like it. He often sees that Patricia is overwhelmed with things and tries to help out. Patricia turns him down every time to the point that he stops asking. As the head of the household, he feels that he isn’t in control anymore and he wants it back.

STUART SMITH – (Male, 52) Patricia’s boss. He is the CEO of the Smith Group. Patricia is one of his top lobbyists at his firm and she does an awesome job with representing his several clients. He is very dependent on her to seal the deal. No matter what it takes, he wants her to get the job done.

MALLORIE SMITH – (Female, 30) Stuart’s wife. An attractive stay at home mom to their 5 year old son. She is the victim of a car accident caused by Patricia.

STUART’S SON – (Male, 5) Victim of Patricia’s car accident.

DARLENE TAYLOR – (Female, 65) Mother of Patricia. She occasionally takes care of the children if Patricia and Cecil have to work late.

EDWARD UPSHAW – (Male, 55) CEO of Greenway Technologies. He is looking forward to meeting Patricia to make a final decision with partnering with the Smith Group. He is also a close colleague of Stuart.

THREE JEALOUS FEMALE CO-WORKERS – (Female, Middle Age) Middle aged women who work for the Smith Group. They have an obvious jealously of Patricia due to her high paid position and the special perks she receives at work.

MRS. DAVIS – (Female, 36) Tasha’s violin teacher. Patricia has hired her to teach her daughter private lessons.

NARRATOR – (Male or Female) Narrator will read descriptions of the characters and specific actions of the script. Voice must be dramatic, clear and concise filled with enthusiasm.


swipe right

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

SYNOPSIS: In a society where face to face communication has become a distant memory, two people attempt to forge a connection.

MARCUS  – (Male, 20-something) An every-man, just going through the motions.  Technologically obsessed.  Socially stilted.  Missing his “muse”.  Has a quiet charm (Lead)

HADLEY – (Female, 20-something) A ball of fire in an otherwise gray world.  Think Eternal Sunshine’s Clementine mixed with Lost In Translation’s Charlotte.  Pretty, unique, free, yet down deep she’s scared to live again.  Hides the hurt with rebellion and the pain with laughter. (Lead)

SHOPPER – (Female, late teens to early 20s)  Heavily made-up with a big attitude.

TEENAGED GIRL – (Female, late teens) A heavily made-up, big attitude. ONE LINE

SUPERMARKET DISPLAY CLERK – (Male 20s to 30s) A supermarket display clerk, just trying to do his job.

HEAVYSET MAN – (Male 30 something) A supermarket display clerk, just trying to do his job.  ONE LINE

CASHIER – (Male or Female 20s-30s) Smart, efficient, all-business.

NARRATOR – (Male or Female, any age) – Clear speaking voice, charismatic and engaging, prior voice acting experience a plus – to read narration and stage directions during the table reading


the off season

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

SYNOPSIS: Two women, the black sheep of the family, mourn private losses during their grandfather’s funeral.

ISS – (FEMALE, 30 – 35) Black sheep of her big Irish Catholic family and the youngest of all her cousins. Recently dumped by her partner of nine years, she is on the verge of complete emotional implosion.

LOGAN – (FEMALE, 15 – 17) A silent sweet sixteener, with the eyes of an artist and the existential depression to match, Logan would rather be anywhere but where she is. Her parents’ impending divorce has rocked her unhappy life to its core.

FRANCIS – (MALE 40’s) Logan’s father. Prematurely graying, in no small part due to the dissolution of his marriage, Francis plays the part of the grieving family member at the wake while really all he wants to do is scream and smoke a cigarette.

ISS’S MOTHER – (FEMALE 55 – 65) Grief has aged her five years in as many days. She and her daughter have grown estranged over the years; in a way they idealize one another and are consistently disappointed when their fantasies don’t align with reality.

MARGIE – (FEMALE 35 – 45) One of many extended relations. A mother trying to put on a good face and keep her rowdy bored children in check.

NARRATOR – (Any Gender, Any Age)To narrate, including bits of additional dialogue for two tertiary characters.


the outlook is grim

To be considered for a role in THE OUTLOOK IS GRIM, email your headshot and resume to cast.of.theoutlookisgrim@dcshorts.com. Make sure to include the role in the subject line.

SYNOPSIS: With his job outsourced to technology, the expendable Grim Reaper deals with the corporate bureaucracy found in heaven.

GRIM – (Any Age and Any Race) – Of towering height, stoic and the physical presence speaks him/her since he/she is mute.  Must be able to perform physical comedy.

MARY – (Female, 40’s) The mother of God and a full-time Vice-President.  She is a powerhouse brunette in perfect health who is pleasant, diplomatic, yet shrewd.  Only after a conversation with her after you’ve walked out the door do you realize you’ve lost the negotiation.  That’s power.

IREAPER – (Any Gender, Any Age and Any Race) Is a droid.  The most adorable & newest apple product ever made.  Must be able to make sound effect noises.  (The individual who reads stage directions may do this as well.)

ANGELA – (Female, 20’s) White, brunette, Mary’s young secretary who tries so hard to do a good job.  She looks like a younger version of Mary and way too young for her hair to be in a bun and to be wearing thick-rimmed glasses.  

  1. GABRIEL – (Male, Any Age) White, blond male, cherubic/angelic face.  Non-speaking. 

     2. JOHN – (Male, 40’s) Any race, couch potato, clumsy, fearful and unaware that his dietary habits have shortened his life.  Non-speaking. 

STAGE DIRECTIONS – (Male, Any Age and Any Race) Sounds like he should be on the radio.  Voice must be energetic and animated.


the pharaohs

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

SYNOPSIS:  Mean girls in a nursing home expel a member because of declining health. She fights back and claims an unlikely victory.

EILEEN – (Female, White, late 80’s but a younger actor will be acceptable) Eileen is fighting the ravages of old age including an unnamed disorder that causes severe hand tremors. She is feisty and snarky with the other residents, pushy with her daughter, and takes aggressive action when she is rejected from her social group – the Pharaohs.

PEGGY – (Female, White, late 80s, but a younger actor will be acceptable) Peggy is the queen bee of the Pharaohs and the main “mean girl” in the nursing home. She is wealthy and snobby and dictatorial with other residents and the nursing home staff. She speaks with authority and tolerates no dissent.

AVALON – (Female, White, late 80s, but a younger actor will be acceptable) Avalon is whiny and sycophantic with Peggy but snobby and nasty to Eileen. Avalon’s nastiness is fueled by her fear that she may replace Eileen at the bottom of the social pecking order. Thus, she criticizes Eileen at every opportunity.

  1. YATES – (Female, White, 40’s to 50’s) She is the nursing home director and tries to accommodate the residents and mediate conflicts while maintaining a semblance of authority. The residents of the nursing home are wealthy and over-privileged, so Ms. Yates must handle them deftly.

AMANDA – (Female, Afro-Bahamian, 30’s to 45, Speaks with a Bahamian accent) Eileen’s personal attendant. She is kind, patient and understanding as Eileen’s behavior becomes more extreme. At the end, Amanda becomes Eileen’s friend.

RICHARD – Male, White, 50’s to 60’s) Eileen’s much reviled son-in-law. Richard is vulgar and self-involved and dominates conversation at the dinner table, where he tells a humorous but crude story that offends Eileen greatly.

RACHEL – (Female, White. 50’s to 60’s) Eileen’s long-suffering daughter. She is patient and loving to Eileen and accepts Eileen into her home at the end. Rachel finds herself mediating between Eileen and Richard with decreasing success.

NARRATOR – (Male or Female, Any Age) Narrator to read non-dialog content such as scene headings, descriptions and action. The narration includes key plot elements and should be presented in a clear and compelling manner.

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