What does a Casting Director do?
Casting Directors find the stars to bring the characters in a film or TV drama to life. They are hired by the production company to match actors to their roles.
Casting Directors read scripts and meet with Producers and Directors to get a sense of the type of person they are looking for. They have to find someone who looks right for the role as well as acting it well. They need to understand the art of acting. Sometimes producers will have a lot of demands. Other times they won’t give much guidance at all. Casting Directors consider the actor’s availability, fees and how much box office buzz they’re going to create. While an experienced Casting Director may consult on the leading roles, the bulk of their job is to fill the many supporting and small parts that the film requires.
They are then in charge of putting out a “casting call” (an announcement to actors and their agents that auditions will be held for certain roles), creating a list of available roles and brief descriptions of the characters, choosing the actors who will be called in to “read”, managing the audition process, and working with director and producers to make the final selections and negotiate their deals (such as what they will be paid, and other aspects of their contract/agreement with the production). After the film is cast, the Casting Director’s job isn’t quite done! They remain the main liaison between the production and the performers’ agents/managers throughout the production.
What's a Casting Director good at?
Knowledge of the industry
Have strong knowledge of and a passion for film or TV drama and an appreciation for changing trends in the industry
Knowledge of actors
Understand the art of acting and be aware of a wide range of new and existing talent, have a good memory for actors you have seen in the past
Eye for talent
Be able to spot actors with star quality and who will fit well into individual projects and roles, have the patience to conduct a long and thorough search for the right actor for each role
Communicate well with the Producer and Director to understand their requirements and be able to give direction to actors
Be diplomatic, work with agents to negotiate contracts, have good financial skills, stick to a budget
Who does a Casting Director work with?
Casting Directors work with Producers and Directors (and sometimes Writers). They work with the Director to find what they are looking for in an actor and search for potential candidates. They also work with the incoming actors at the auditions to make them feel comfortable and prepare them for their sides (small sections of Script).
How do I become a Casting Director?
There are no specific qualifications or training to work in casting. The most important thing is to have a wide knowledge of film or TV productions and be well informed about new and existing actors. This role is learned on the job, by assisting established casting Directors and working your way up. Networking and reaching out to casting companies is one way to get started in this field. Starting with an internship, you’ll learn the ropes by helping to run the auditions, with tasks such as bringing actors into the room, setting up microphones and camera equipment, reading out the lines of the “other characters” for an actor during their audition, and so on. Interns can apply for opportunities as casting assistants and work their way up to casting associate and beyond.
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