Casting Directors Say Acting Talent Doesn’t Really Matter

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In a South by Southwest session, top casting directors break down the costs of hiring top actors for independent films and discuss YouTube’s role casting.

South by Southwest is in full swing in Austin, Texas. During this time of the year, filmmakers, actors, producers and even casting directors reveal secrets behind the TV shows and movies they work on.

But, in a South by Southwest session, top casting directors break down how they cast TV shows and movies; the answer may surprise you.

Casting directors Christian Kaplan from Fox, Joseph Middleton from Paramount, Paul Weber from Weber Casting and Randi Hiller from Disney revealed how they find the right actors for TV shows and movies they work on.

Alfie Photography / Shutterstock.com
Alfie Photography / Shutterstock.com

From the Guardian:

To an audience including a high proportion of actors and filmmakers, Hiller said that actors should take comfort from the fact that there are many variables besides talent determining whether or not they got a particular part. Acting talent, she said, may only account for 7% of the reason a particular actor would be cast in role, citing other factors ranging from age and ethnicity to “box office value in China”.

If acting talent is not necessary, then why must actors spend thousands of dollars a year on acting classes? Is it to get discovered? Probably not, the casting directors are the South by Southwest sessions revealed that actors should start recording short films, comedies, and sketches on YouTube and Vine to get their name out there.

JuliusKielaitis / Shutterstock.com
JuliusKielaitis / Shutterstock.com

Kaplan said that while in the past he used to visit comedy clubs to find people to star in his films, these days producers demanded that casting directors look on YouTube and Vine to find tomorrow’s stars.

“YouTube stars are trendsetters,” said Weber. “Often they come alive on camera but they’re not well-trained.”

So there you have it. Ditch those acting classes, pick up a camera and start recording your own short films because casting directors are watching and acting skills have nothing to do with it.

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