Casting director

Casting Director

Does the idea of working with actors interest you? If so, you should be a casting director.

The casting director finds actors for film and TV shows. They read the script, contact agents, and organize auditions to find the best person for a role. It’s a head of department job role that works closely with the director and has a lot of influence on the film.

On this page, you can find a complete casting director job description. We’ll also discuss the job role skills, education, pay, and work route options.

What is a Casting Director?

The casting director finds the actors for film and TV projects. The producer will hire them in early pre-production, where they will work with the director to audition actors.

There are lots of factors to consider when hiring an actor. For example, the budget, actor’s availability, and star appeal. The casting director needs to understand how all of these aspects play a part in hiring an actor for the screen.

What Does a Casting Director Do?

Casting directors are in charge of the whole casting process. They find, audition, and hire actors for all roles within a film. This includes lead actors, supporting, and background talent. Also, they work on behalf of the director and producer during the film planning stage.

It’s important that the actor looks right for the role and has talent. Therefore they need to understand the art of acting. Sometimes the auditions will take place in person and other times they will happen online (where actors will send in videos). 

The casting director will also look at the film’s budget when casting. Part of their job is to research actors and meet agents. They will do this by attending events, film festivals, and theatre shows. 

When they have found actors, the casting director will show them to the director and producer. They will then carry out more auditions before deciding who to hire. Their final job is to help write the actor’s work agreements.

Casting Director Job Description

The casting director starts work in the early stages of pre-production. To begin with, they will read the script and create an actor’s script breakdown. A breakdown is a list of all actors mentioned throughout the screenplay and detail of the character’s physical features.

Next, the casting director will create character profiles and begin their search. They will use their contacts, approach agents, and create ads. The auditions might happen in person or online. They will also gather headshots and information about the actors.

When the casting director has finished their search, they will show them to the director and producer. On some film sets, they will have a lot of power over who they hire. However, the director and producer have the final choice.

Pre-production Duties

The casting director’s first task is to read through the screenplay. Then, like all film heads of departments, they will create a script breakdown.

After this, they then find actors for all the roles. To do this, they will contact agents, watch reels and create ads.

The casting director will then hold auditions for the actors. They will choose a selection of actors to show to the director and producer. More auditions will follow before the director decides who gets the role. Before their job ends, the casting director will oversee the creation of all the actor’s contracts.

  • Create a script breakdown
  • Find actors for all roles
  • Holding acting auditions
  • Working with agents
  • Overseeing contracts

Education and Skills

Casting directors need to learn many new skills. To begin with, they might get a degree in performing arts, film, or media studies. It’s important that you understand the full filmmaking process and the art of acting. There are a lot of classes and online filmmaking courses that teach the basics of filmmaking.

Another way to learn the job role is through work experience. Many start out as a trainee or casting assistants. You might also be able to find work within a talent agency. Doing this will provide you with essential training.

To succeed in this role, you will need to have an eye for talent. For example, spot star quality and understand what makes a good actor. Finding actors will require organization and research. Also, you will need to work out contracts and stick to a budget.

Like all roles, the casting director will need to make contacts in the industry. You must know actors, agents, and producers. You can find people by attending events, film festivals, and theatre shows. Lastly, please note that a role requires a lot of teamwork and social skills.

Key Casting Director Skills:

  • Full knowledge of filmmaking 
  • Understand the art of acting 
  • Research and planning
  • Budgeting and contracts 
  • Teamwork and people skills

Casting Director Career Route

Most people in this role start in an entry-level position. For example, you can start as a film runner or casting assistant for this role. Once you have some experience, you can try to find work within a casting agency.

Casting assistants will help out with basic admin tasks. For example, they will call agents and hire audition rooms. Many people work in this job role for many years before they can move up. Doing this lets you learn whilst getting paid, and you can make initial contacts.

Another route is to work as a casting director on small projects. Doing this allows you to practice your job role and make contacts before working on bigger film sets. Some casting directors will also start their own agency.

Casting Director Salary

The day rate of all film industry crew members depends on the project type and budget. So, you will get less pay for a low-budget indie film than for a high-end TV project. Looking at our crew rates, you can see how rates change depending on the budget and job role. Your rate will also take into account your experience level.

The standard rate for a casting director working on a union project is $307 per day. Glassdoor says that the average casting director in the US makes $72,560 per year. However, that wage will increase if you find yourself working on high-end film and TV shows.

Finding Work

At the start of your career, you can find entry-level roles on film job sites. The entry-level job roles for a casting director are casting assistant, office runner, or production assistant. Casting companies might also advertise job roles directly on their website. 

It’s common for casting directors to learn by watching others. However, you can start your own casting business, working up from low-budget films to higher budgets. Even so, it is important to network in the film industry to gain the trust of actors and producers. 

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Backstage CrewThe CDG
Backstage magazine lists crew production jobs throughout the US. This list includes all art department job roles, from entry-level to head of department. They also have jobs in theatre set design which you can use as a stepping stone into the film industry.The casting directors guild is the leading union for casting in the UK. As well as providing advice for people working in the industry, they also have a vacancies page. You can find regular casting assistant and office runner job roles.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, the casting director is an interesting job role in the film industry. Unlike other positions, you can work directly with the actors and director. You also get a lot of creative say on who gets cast and help shape the film’s overall look.

This role is perfect for people who want to work with actors. It requires strong people skills, organization, and budgeting. You can work up to larger film and TV sets by succeeding in this role. Many casting directors make a good income and have long careers in the film industry.

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