Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on the post from two weeks ago. Lots of good discussion and suggestions and input!
So what did I do with it?
I thought you might like to see.
First I printed out all the comments, highlighted the important data and made a spreadsheet with a column for each actor. Then I looked each actor up on imdb.com and decided whether they were a real possibility or not. Mostly this decision was based on the actor's age. I didn't eliminate anyone because they didn't match the picture in my mind. After all, if my picture doesn't match your picture, that's most likely due to my lack of description, not your lack of detection. (As a rule, I dislike reading overly descriptive portrayals of characters, so, as a rule, I avoid doing that in my books, which can lead to under-describing, which can lead to different mental pictures.)
The one character I must have under-described is Marissa. I see her as having long curly (or, at least, fluffy and full) dark hair. Her mother's name is Yolanda, and I see Marissa as being at least part Hispanic... although I've never mentioned this overtly in the book.
About actor age: Unfortunately, in this case it really matters. If it takes, say two years to get to the "and...action!" part of this process, someone who may seem a tad old to play a character now will be way too old in two years--especially for a series. If there's a strike-through one of the names, that's why.
I embedded a link for each character, then realized I should probably transfer everything into a Word doc, so I did that, then imported pictures and birth dates for each actor to coincide with the linked list of names.
Then I divided the cast into generations (because I've been told that this is one of the appeals of the project), removed Holly and Dot in an effort to limit the 'kids' to one page. (Don't worry--they're not gone. They're just not represented at this preliminary phase.) Then I put a * next to the actors I liked best. The image posted is actually the reduction of what took up three sheets of paper.
This was actually a whole lot of work, but I wanted a concise, visual representation of your input, and I wanted it to give an easy snapshot of a potential cast. My agent said it was "inspired" to ask for your input, and the producer got back to me right away with a "This is great!"
So I want you to know that the time and thought you put into this is appreciated and your input has been passed along. (And for those of you who did late-week comments, I will check those out, too!)
Glad you're out there--have a good week!