The first and most important step is the production’s decision to adopt the tool NEROPA – Neutral Role Parity.
This is what happens next:
- A team is assigned to perform NEROPA, e.g. representing the departments directing, casting and producer or commissioning editor.
- Before the first team meeting each member will check the cast list of the film project and mark all roles according to their gender, as implied by the role name, pronouns in dialogue, contexts (“old friend from all-boys boarding school”, “met at fathers’ self-help group”) etc.
- Then all roles that could be either sex are identified as “neutral”, no matter if these roles are big or small, and whether they have a name or not. A general question to ask could be “Does this character have to be male, and if yes, why?” If not, they are neutral. This is again something everybody does on their own.
- First team meeting: the three appointees compare their lists, negotiate and eventually agree on the neutral characters. Then these neutral roles are specified as female – male – female – male alternatively.
That’s it! Now the roles list is complete and the casting process can begin.
And there the concept of Finetuning can be applied, which will further diversify the cast, relating age, physical appearance, ethnical background etc.