What does a casting director really do?
Casting directors are necessarily the gatekeepers for actors in the film industry. That said, it is essential to note casting directors do not make the final decision. However, they do select a group of actors that they believe is the best fit for the role and show those talents to the director of the project.
As you can imagine, directors focus on the script, the storyline, and the storyboard. Producers are focused on the budget. Casting directors concentrate on the actors for each role. While a director and a producer may work on a few projects in their lifetime, casting directors are continuously working, and it is common to see a casting director working on multiple projects every year. In fact, Sarah Finn, the casting director behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is known for casting multiple projects at once.
In the film industry, there are hundreds of casting directors, and each casting director has a different process as to how they handle auditions, casting calls, and who they hire for a project.
- What does a casting director do?
- What does a casting associate do?
- Casting Director Internships
- How do casting directors find actors?
What does a casting director do?
A casting director is responsible for finding talent and holding auditions for a TV show, movie, commercial or any other kind of project.
Most casting directors work with the director and the producer to find the right talent for a TV show or movie.
Casting directors are known for re-using talent on multiple projects, and talented casting director has the authority to influence casting decisions and finding undiscovered talent in talent teachers.
The union for casting directors is known as the Casting Society of America and currently has over two hundred casting directors and casting associates registered across the country. Casting directors are always looking for new talent, which is excellent news for aspiring actors.
What does a casting associate do?
Many prominent casting directors have casting associates working for them.
The associates help the casting director with organizing and running the auditions, creating sides, and dealing with the paperwork.
Associates frequently set-up the first casting calls and initial submissions.
Casting Director Internships
Internships for casting directors are usually held for college students and are focused on people wanting to get into the film industry or learning more about the casting business.
A casting director internship is usually an unpaid position, and interns may or may not have an influence on casting decisions.
While casting director interns do not have very much influence, casting interns do have the opportunity to network with significant influencers in the film business.
How do casting directors find actors?
During auditions, casting directors control the process. The producer hires the casting director, who is responsible for finding and discovering talent.
Casting directors are looking for trustworthy actors who can do their job once they are on set. To reduce the likelihood of an actor being unable to accomplish their career, most casting directors contact talent agencies, managers, and actors they know and can trust.
As a result, it may be difficult for an aspiring actor to get discovered, as a casting director’s reputation is how well an actor performs on set.
Top talent agencies
Actors signed to a principal talent agency are more likely to gain the attention of a casting director.
Casting directors trust the top agencies because the agency has a reputation for signing talented and noteworthy actors.
Another reason is major talent agencies usually sign popular actors.
Another way for actors to gain the attention of casting directors is knowing the director or producer on a project.
Since directors and producers usually make the final decision on who gets hired for the acting job, it is not uncommon for a director to refer an actor for a particular role.
However, this is not typical in TV shows or bigger productions, because studios will likely have more influence on who is hired for a project than the director and producer.
Other casting directors, casting associates, or assistants
Casting directors know each other. If a casting director refers an actor to another casting director, that actor is more likely to have another audition.
Actors with an extensive resume on major TV shows and movies are more likely to have an audition. Having a list of familiar TV shows gives you a significant stamp of approval because they were good enough for one project, which gives credence to their future work.
If a casting director can follow your work on Instagram, YouTube, or Snapchat, then you open the doors to new opportunities; This is an excellent way for undiscovered aspiring talent to get discovered.
If an actor has special skills or a distinctive look, then they are putting themselves in a high position to get discovered.