The job description of a casting director involves managing the process of casting actors and actresses for commercials, print advertisements, films, television programs and theatrical productions. Most such directors work on a freelance basis for production companies and studios.
In order to accomplish assignments, a casting director must work closely with talent agencies, producers, directors and writers to locate and sign talent for various productions.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Casting Director
- Reads scripts to determine casting requirements.
- Meets with directors, writers and producers to find out what type of talent they want.
- Reads breakdown notices which describe the physical attributes and specific skills needed in actors who are cast to play particular roles.
- Circulates breakdown notices among talent agencies and independent agents as part of a search for the perfect cast.
- Reviews the resumes and photographs of actors and actresses who wish to be cast in the production.
- Schedules the most qualified talent for auditions for roles in the production.
- Witnesses all rounds of the auditions.
- Calls and schedules the chosen actors for final auditions.
- Contacts the actors who win roles to arrange for signing a contract.
- Endeavors to sign big name start for leading role in a production.
- Assists with open auditions to fill smaller roles.
- Influences producers and directors on which actors to hire.
- Engages the help of casting assistants to fill all of the roles in a major production.
- Stays within the talent budget on every project.
- Knows where and how to find the best talent for specific projects.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Must have wide knowledge of actors, theater and film.
- Knowledge of how to operate a video camera and sound equipment.
- Must have good computer and technology skills.
- Must have strong persuasion and negotiation skills.
- Exceptional interpersonal skills are necessary.
- Must have excellent organizational and time management skills.
- Must have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
- The ability to recognize true talent is essential.
- Must have an exceptionally good memory.
- Must be highly detail oriented.
- Excellent leadership skills are required.
- Knowledge of health and safety laws that apply to actors and actresses on the set.
- Knowledge of writing contracts.
- Must be able to work with union employees.
Education and Experience
- Associate’s degree in Theater Arts.
- Bachelor’s degree in Film Production.
- Acting classes.
- Internship or experience working with an established casting director.
- Experience as an actor or actress.
- Certification from the Casting Society of America.
- Must be able to work in a high pressure environment.
- Must be willing to travel and work long hours including evenings and weekends.
- Must be able to establish a friendly and professional relationship with the director and producer of a production.
- Must be comfortable with constantly having to look for the next project on which to work.
- Salaries can range from $75,000 to $150,000 depending on track record and connections.
- Weekly salaries range from $350 to $500 a week.
- Production companies may pay as much as $100,000 for casting of one major film.
- Other production companies might pay as much as $5,000 for each major role cast.