What does a casting assistant do?
Casting assistants offer general help with finding actors to star in a film or TV drama. They are generally employed as freelancers by casting directors, although they can also be hired on a permanent contract within busier casting offices.
Casting directors are taken on by producers and directors to cast actors who fit the character brief, who look right for a role, who act well, who are available, whose fees cost a suitable amount for the production’s budget and who will attract the right audience. Casting assistants help with this, though their role can vary depending on the scale and budget of the production.
They read the script and help the casting director draw up a list of possible actors for the main role. The casting assistant will call agents to check actors’ availability. They help out with screen tests, operating the camera and offering general support in casting sessions. They also assist with general office duties. They answer the phone and make tea and coffee. General office admin and excellent computer skills are also a large part of their job. This includes editing and uploading footage from casting sessions for the producer and director to watch.
What’s a casting assistant good at?
- Knowledge of the industry: have strong knowledge of and a passion for cinema or TV drama with the ability to recognise talent
- Knowledge of actors and networking: build up connections with actors and industry professionals, have an understanding of the art of acting and be aware of new and existing talent
- Video: operate video cameras in screen tests, use software to edit together clips
- Administrative skills: complete office and organisational tasks efficiently, have a professional phone and email manner for contacting actors and clients, anticipate what needs to be done next
- Communication: build a rapport with actors’ agents, communicate effectively with actors, directors and producers, work efficiently alongside the casting director and team to ensure the smooth-running of casting sessions