When it comes to film production, one of the most important aspects to focus on is your cast. When you have a strong cast, it carries your film forward and allows you to unlock the potential behind your script and ideas. Actors are essentially the backbone of any good film and without them, you won’t be able to tell a coherent story and your audience won’t be drawn into the film.
However, there is often a bit of leeway when it comes to establishing a solid cast, especially if you’re working with popular movie genres such as comedy films that can often have a lighter tone to them. In particular, one of the more interesting ways to utilize your cast is to add a cameo or two. This is extremely popular in the industry and is a great way to get your crowd to stand up and cheer. Stan Lee often made cameo appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and there are other famous cameos such as Stephen King appearing in It and Donald Glover in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
But are cameos a proven way to add something unique and interesting to your story? Or is it more something you do for a little fun?
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Cameos usually happen as a tribute or spur-of-the-moment thing
Cameos tend to have a bit of meaning behind them unless your film production is entirely about pop culture references. For example, having the ShamWow Guy appear in your film and say his signature line can be a lot of fun, but it doesn’t really work if the tone of your movie is rather dark and gritty. If you’re trying to make a film based on pop references then it can work, but cameos typically only happen as a tribute to someone or as something that just happens out of the blue.
For example, some films have cameos with their original writers or creators. This is a great tribute to them and gives them a fun role to play so they can also be a part of what they helped create. This is often the case for Stephen King and was with Stan Lee before his untimely passing. However, cameos can also happen at a seemingly random time. For example, they might occur because a famous actor just happened to be in the area while you’re filming, or they could just have a strong relationship with the main director so they’re added in as a little bonus for the viewers.
But do cameos improve your film?
In short, not really. It might help to have a famous name on the poster of your production but if that person is only there for a single cameo scene, then your viewers are going to feel a little cheated. If your film is based on pop culture references then it’s a great idea to throw in as many cameos as possible. Otherwise, they really don’t make a difference to the quality of your film, but they are definitely fun to have