A student at the University of York has won a role in a film after attending a virtual audition on the social networking site MySpace.
Phil Lester, a third year Language and Linguistics student, won the part in the film Faintheart after uploading an amateur video of himself at a mock job interview as the character of ‘Tim’, the role he later won.
He said: “I have always been interested in all aspects of the film industry, so I was hoping for a unique opportunity to see things from an insiders perspective. I had an hour to spare so I made a quick audition video and uploaded it onto the site. To be honest I didn’t think I had a chance but I wanted to give it a go anyway.”
Lester received the part a month after posting the video, having attending further auditions with the Casting Director, Gary Davy, in London. At this point in the selection process, the shortlist for the role had been reduced to just five hopefuls. Groundbreaking in its recruitment procedure, Faintheart is described by producer Peter Carlton as “a fairly standard rom-com with a lovely Viking twist.”
The video diary that Lester has regularly updated on his MySpace profile, tracking his progress through the initial meeting with Davy through to the most recent posting after two days on set, has attracted something of a cult following Faintheart is being hailed as one of the first user-generated major motion pictures, with actors and crew all recruited over the internet. The film, by award-winning British director Vito Rocco, has a budget of £1m and has already begun shooting. Rocco was selected from 500,000 MySpace users.
Faintheart, starring British comedy actor Simon Pegg, tells the story of Richard, a sales assistant who takes part in medieval battle re-enactment on the weekends. After being thrown out by his wife he embarks on an epic quest to win her back.