Casting Director/Agent

What do Casting Director/Agents do?

Casting Directors organize and facilitate the casting of actors for all the roles in a film. This involves working closely with the director and producer to understand their requirements, and suggesting ideal artists for each role, as well as arranging and conducting interviews and auditions. Once the parts are cast, the Casting Director negotiates fees and contracts for the actors, and acts as a liaison between the director, the actors and their agents.

Casting Directors must have an extensive knowledge of actors and their suitability for a particular role. On larger productions, Casting Directors may supervise casting assistants, who will support and assist them in this work.

What is the job?
In pre-production, Casting Directors must liaise with both the director and the producer, who rely on the Casting Director to assist them to assemble the perfect cast for the film. Consequently, Casting Directors must have in depth and up to date knowledge of new and existing acting talent. They are responsible for matching the ideal actor to each role, based on a number of factors, such as the actor's experience, ability, reputation, availability and box office appeal. Casting Directors also work closely with production accountants to prepare the casting budget.

Casting Directors organize and conduct interviews and auditions for each part, and are also in charge of offering each actor an appropriate fee to appear in the film, as well as drawing up and negotiating the terms and conditions of contracts with agents, once casting is complete. Casting Directors need a vast knowledge of a huge range of actors, and an extensive understanding of their abilities, as well as a thorough appreciation of changing talent trends within the film industry. This requires a strong instinct for acting talent, and great dedication and commitment. A deep passion for the craft of acting is essential. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are vital in order to liaise with a range of people, including other production staff, talent agents, and the actors themselves.

Negotiation and organizational skills are also invaluable for agreeing actors' fees, and arranging the terms and conditions of their contracts. In order to cast the ideal actor for a key role in a film, directors and producers have to be highly selective, and may be extremely demanding, so it is vital that Casting Directors are patient, hard working and diplomatic at all times.

Essential knowledge and skills:
Casting Directors must have a wide knowledge of cinema and actors. An interest in the theater and stage actors is also a prerequisite. A basic understanding of how to operate a video camera (framing, focus, etc.) is also an advantage. Casting Directors must be computer literate.

Key Skills include:
excellent communication skills
ability to recognize talent
a good memory
excellent organizational skills
precise attention to detail
ability to take and give direction
knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

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Job description sources include (but are not limited to) imdb.com, skillset.org and wikipedia.