Lets not kid ourselves! Actors make all the difference sometimes whether a film can live or die in the hands of an audience, so if you don't want rookies and / or friends to play parts that have the risk of making all that hard work looking awful, you must either:
a) cast call for 'real' actors, remember, even if working for free, they're looking to add to their portfolio just like the rest of us.
and / or b) be willing to put the time and training in with the friends you choose, so long as you know what you're doing and looking for, accept no less.
In either case, you make sure they're committed to the dates you need and that they know, just because they're on camera, this does 'NOT' give them a reason to think they're more important or treat crew or other cast with less than due respect. If you go for a star name in your film, that's the risk you take but personally if they come across as impolite, impatient etc - ditch 'em.
Spotlight - houses some of the best talent worldwide, costly but worth it. Be prepared to go through agents.
Casting Call Pro - a wider range of actors with more variety in talent but probably living on a bit more of a constrained budget than those of the above, therefore usually more susceptible to offers.
Casting Networks International - a newer version of the above & pretty good too. Access to agents, cast calls for new projects. Worth a look.
The Casting Website - Another professional casting site for all your actor / actress needs.
Shooting People - covers more than actors and more comprehensive as a website overall but can play hell with dealing with the return offers. Just because you're filling your audition space doesn't mean they're going to be any good, so watch yourself.
The Urban Experience (Locations) - abandoned locations with cinematic quality that may just spare you a few extra costs. It covers several areas, take a look.
999/24/7 Uniformed Supporting Artistes & Vehicles - For those looking for police cars, uniforms and the rest in their films this' what you need, costs aren't available online, which is what ropes you in to call them I guess. They also claim to be able to offer over 28 acres of locations.
Northumbria Vikings - for those interested in re-enacted battles, costumes, armoury etc from the earlier ages, you should give these guys a look over regarding getting your hands on the right stuff.
Children Actors - Those parts which require children, here you go!
* with actors & actresses you are liable for certain costs such as their transport & (time dependent) meal(s)
Withoutabox.com - the best with the worldwide list and shortlisted entry criteria including fee's, genre, length, date of material acceptability.
+ Austin Film Festival (Lee Jessup recommendation)
Film Freeway - the name is deliberate not just because of it being related with speed & a motorway bit also is an effort to cripple 'Withoutabox' they illustrate quite forwardly & make it easy to find festivals you can even submit to for 'FREE' - so... Go for it! (... just be aware that the less submission you pay, the less recognised that festival will be in doing anything for you. However, not as though employers in the corporate world are going to know that or bother checking if you're going for a videographer job etc so might as well!)
Coverfly - Like the above but for screenplays ONLY! Score a couple of finalist places with a script competition that belongs to this umbrella group, i.e; Shore Scripts, Page, Nicholl Fellowship, Script Pipeline, Scriptapalooza, Writers Lab, with one of your scripts increases your score towards 'The Red List' (sort of their 2 step version of the 'Black List' see below) and they will ALL count to a collective score that means that even if you don't win, it still retains some merit towards other submissions.
Festhome - like the above but the rates are "much" more cheaper, making the festival circuit much more accessible to guerilla film-makers.
Festival Focus - the scale of this festival finder allows for many submissions without spending hardly anything, starter festivals want decent films to help get them going + there are those which still have.
Simply Scripts - An interesting one, if you're looking to get your script made then put it here and filmmakers can see it from all over the world, not only do you they need your permission before they make it but they also need to retain your credit as the film's writer. Not bad for films that may be out of your budget.
Bafta - a list of BAFTA acclaimed festivals & view over previous winners, helpful to understand what people are looking for... hopefully some not as ambiguous to you out there as some are to me. In addition the site's quite easy to use and has links to various videos of director & screenwriter insightful interviews.
+ Bafta & Rocliffe & New Writing Forum (Terms & Conditions)
Screenwriting For Hollywood - you want a list of the best festivals, here it is.
The Black List - if you've got the work to upload, you start here, this way it is visible to'those who choose them to be made' through mediums such as 'Variety' magazine, 'Los Angeles Times', 'Hollywood Times' - the lost goes on, so get going!
- also recommended by Lee Jessup -
+ Page International Screenwriting Awards
+ Spec Scout
+ Story Expo
+ Stage32's: Happy Writers
+ Brooklyn Weaver
Best Screenwriting Contest List - the more comprehensive worldwide list of best festivals.
UK & US Script Submissions - a site ran by something else I'm signed up to called 'ScriptSpotter.' You'll need to sign up for it but that's tough, just do it and keep a list safe of all your usernames & passwords for this stuff as there's going to be lots more, whether you like it or not.
Wildsound - a widespread festival with submission interests across all types of script (even film). Plus, if you can put a short video pitch together, they will do a script readthrough for you by professional actors to increase your publicity on the project.
The Nicholl Fellowship Award - 'THE ONE' to win which gives you the career we are all looking for, I've seen it happen with a graduate from Bournemouth University.
Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award - Those under the age of 30, you must apply for this each time, whilst you've got the chance. Nobody ever told me but now I've told you all - MAKE SURE you give yourselves each opportunity, especially when its free!
New York Screenplay Contest - another individual screenplay competition that takes a bit of saving for submission but worthwhile.
Euroscript - one which one of my teachers one at Ealing Studios' Metfilm school, after which got her the groundings for her cinema feature release.
Shoreline Scripts - not only a festival but also one that helps with development of your material, being as its supposed to have a script analysis team having worked with some major production companies (i.e; Universal, Working Title, Lionsgate etc).
Script Pipeline - yes it will take you back to 'withoutabox.com' but this is one of the top within that site.
Hollywood Screenplay Contest - alike the previous mention but for another festival with its own individual merit.
BBC Writers Room - submitting for something more local, THIS is where you must try!
Scripts Online - if you haven't started reading scripts yet (doesn't have to be the whole whack or even that many) but you MUST start. At least use them as a template to write stuff in you're not sure about.
Internet Movie Script Database - same function as above but usually more responsive with more archives.
Box - and don't forget to upload your own, or what you feel comfortable uploading at least - GET AN ONLINE PRESENCE, if you don't then you're shooting yourself in the foot each passing moment!
Fiverr - Some employers can ask for the Earth and offer peanuts. However, others are well worth it but they're always asking for filmmakers who are also animators...?! They DO NOT exist! Especially when we want to sell ourselves in the 'one' discipline we're most interested in but we have to become multi-faceted just so we can earn some money to pursue it. VFX & animation is my weakness but if you need something to aid your own efforts & create something in a rush, use this website I found. It should help you get through some of those situations. Very handy on your showreels for example.
Prezi / Emaze - Everytime I'm considering a corporate job, I'm usually counting down until they mention 'Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation.' Its usually with regards to how I plan a shoot, tell them where I could add value etc. Look, we're creatives so use either one of these to put your own together when you deluver one. Their minds usually explode, you'll get a free compliment :) but more importantly they will 'have' to see you for what you are - a "visual" creative. Not one of their corporate senses of the word but from the off - they start looking forward to the images 'you' will hopefully be creating for them further down the line.
Hacker Typer - Ooh, something cool for anyone writing a hacking script that needs a simple way to make something hard - exceedingly easy! Here's a small software program you can use to masquerade as a hacking, hit F11 and off you go!