Things have been picking up quite nicely. My computer issues are all sorted out now, for one. I spent some time searching for someone on Craigslist who would be willing to fix my laptop's DC jack for cheap, but nothing turned up except for one linguistically challenged 14-year-old who wanted $150 (yeah right). Eventually I took a risk and just disassembled the laptop myself (turned it into a blog post, too). I was extremely careful and tried to look up every step I could along the way, and thankfully I didn't utterly destroy the thing -- I fixed it, actually, and without spending any money at all. Go me.
I ordered a new video card for the editing rig and, much to my relief, that worked as well. The new card was only about $60 but since I was previously using the on-board video chip, it's actually a slight improvement (the GPU is the one thing in the editing rig that I'm not willing to blow money on, because I don't play modern video games or do anything that would seriously require it). I'm setting aside some time at the end of April when I won't have any work so I can mail the motherboard back to Asus and get a replacement. I've only had the thing for about a year and never did anything to it that would void the warranty, so the only problem here is the span of time in which I won't be able to edit anything.
Auditions went extraordinarily well. James and I met a lot of interesting people: a scientist looking to expand his horizons, a Serbian immigrant who barely spoke English, a couple of people in school to be drama teachers. All of them have been great and responsive, showing up to all the rehearsals on time. Filming locations have been secured and so far it's looking like we might be able to actually finish this project ahead of schedule (but I'm not relaxing yet, hell no). The crew we already had assembled has been a bit flaky, as it always is with young filmmakers, but at least 80% of them are showing up to production meetings and actually know what a camera is. That's better than usual.
Of course there were plenty of people who showed up to the auditions and immediately turned their nose up at me. Every single time I've ever gone to cast something, the people who called themselves "actors" were the worst actors of the lot, and even the ones who weren't terrible acted like they were too good for me. The stereotype of the arrogant, conceited actor is very much based in reality, rest assured. Even the people desperate enough to respond to a random casting call think they're somehow above me. That's definitely not to say that all actors are automatically crap, but the sheer number of them that are really gets comical after you've seen it enough times. It's infuriating when someone who can act behaves like a prick, but when it's someone who steadfastly can't then I have to start acting myself or else I'll burst out laughing and screw the whole situation up.
Funny side-story: James and I went to a party once that was attended mainly by acting students from the local university. There was one extremely snooty woman who wouldn't look James in the eye when he tried to talk to her. Later that night, he intentionally stood near her while talking to someone else about the money we'd made from a movie we released a few months prior. The woman immediately turned around and started gushing about how much she would love to work with us and how much she respected our work and yadda yadda yadda.
Be wary of someone who makes a career out of pretending to be someone they're not. Oftentimes they turn out to be full of shit.
Good times, though. I love my work.