What is a “Casting Director”
(by AM Staff)
A casting director is the person responsible for finding the talent to fill available acting roles in a film, television show, commercial or play.
Breaking it down:
When a production is being prepared, the production company will typically hire a casting director or casting agency to find the acting talent that will fill the available roles in the production. Their job is to understand the script, roles and creative vision of the project. They then must find actors with the right “look”, experience, talent, chemistry and presence to fill the available acting roles.
To fill these acting roles, casting directors typically put out what are known as “breakdowns”. A breakdown is a description of the roles that are available in the production. The breakdowns are then placed on various websites, such as Breakdown Services, which allows talent agents and managers to submit actors for consideration for roles. For smaller productions, actors can sometimes submit themselves, individually, without the assistance of a talent agent or manager.
Casting directors are then tasked with evaluating these submissions, which include the actors’ headshots, resumes, and/or demo reels, and select actors who will be brought in to audition for the roles. Casting directors schedule these in-person auditions and use them to further evaluate the actors who are up for consideration.
Casting directors typically don’t make the final decisions as to which actors get cast for which roles. The ultimate decision-making authority is usually reserved for the producers of the project, with input from others, such as the director, the writer, and/or brand executives, in the case of commercials. However, the casting director usually has significant influence, making recommendations based on their experience and their evaluation of the talent.