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 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.
Casting directors need to know the talent that’s out there, so they attend theatre productions and graduation shows to spot potential actors. They organise auditions and look at headshots, demos and reels. Then they present a selection of candidates to the producer and director, and together they make the final decision.
The casting director’s job also involves negotiating actors’ deal points or conditions which they put into a casting advice note, or deal memo. Then the production team can draw up the actual contract with the actor’s agent.
What’s a casting director good at?
- Knowledge of the industry: have strong knowledge of and a passion for cinema 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
- Communication: communicate well with the producer and director to understand their requirements and be able to give direction to actors
- Negotiation: be diplomatic, work with agents to negotiate contracts, have good financial skills, stick to a budget