What Is a Casting Director & What Makes a Successful Casting Director?

What is a Casting Director? A Casting Director is someone who casts an actor, dancer or singer into a film, tv program, radio show, theatre and other productions and roles. The cast chosen then become the characters in the script and bring it to life. A Casting Director is usually managed by the production company. Casting direction is required by production companies as they need this expertise to match actors to different roles in the pre production process phase.

Building the cast of a production is not as easy as it may seem, once it hits the big screen. But if done right, that piece of work can turn a production into something amazing. Today, what can give a production an edge, is a Casting Director that challenges the stereotypes of the past with casting and explores a wide range of avenues for a role.

Directors such as Nikki Barrett, Alison Telford, Kate Leonard, Kirsty McGregor and Stevie Ray are those to look out for and try to follow in their footsteps. These casting directors have worked on the likes of, ‘The Great Gatsby ‘, ‘Animal Kingdom’, ‘Summer Heights High’ and ‘Mad Max Fury Road’ to name a few. All exceptional productions watched by millions across the globe.

What does a Casting Director do? If you are interested in learning more about this topic or stepping into this career, then read on to explore what it takes to be a successful Casting Director.

1. You firstly have to get “casted” yourself by the production company.
2. You need to be able to read, study and fully understand the script.
3. Analyse the roles in depth to know what to cast for.
4. Meet with the Producers and Directors to discuss who, what and why they need specific characters and what type of person will suit it (as the CD this will require significant input from you).
5.Collaborating with Producers, Directors, and Writers to determine the scope of the productions.
7. Work as a liaison between actors and their agents/managers and the studio/network to get the characters in the script casted.
8. Send out copies of the current script (what is available to give) to agents of actors, AKA coverage.
9. Contact short-listed leading actors or their agents to verify availability.
10. Scheduling and conducting auditions and or open casting calls for all or remaining roles.
11. Pre-screen and final call back screen tests.
12. Presenting a list of possible leading actors to Producers and Directors.
13. Negotiating and finalising cost-effective contracts with agents or actors.

Skills and common knowledge needed:

1. Experience as a Casting Director and the right qualifications.
2. Up to date on acting talent and industry knowledge.
3. A portfolio of actors to call on that are talented and reliable.
4. Organisational, leadership and communication skills.
5. Good with negotiation and a great judge of character.

Overall Casting Directors are needed to guide the process smoothly and find the talent to bring to the stage. If you have been reading this and falling in love with this exciting career, then it is worth checking out APAC’s courses, where you can gain the right qualification and begin your journey to a role in this industry.