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Casting Director

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While the star actors and actresses are the ones we see on TV and the big screen, the person responsible for choosing them to play iconic roles is the casting director.

Becoming a casting director is an ideal career for someone who wants to be involved in filming, even if they don’t necessarily want to be in front of the camera.

What is a Casting Director?

A casting director is in charge of choosing the actors, or cast, of a major production.

A casting director works on TV shows, feature films, and even major plays.

They will arrange the pre-production readings of the script and will work with the director and producer to make sure the casting needs and budgetary constraints are met for the production.

What is a Casting Director Called?

There aren’t many alternative titles for a casting director, though sometimes they are referred to by the position’s initials, DC.

They may also be called a casting agent, if they work in conjunction with a talent agency.

What Does a Casting Director Do?

A casting director is in charge of lining up all of the actors that are needed to begin production on everything from sitcoms, to prime-time dramas, and even major films.

They will read the entire script for the production and will determine who are ideal candidates to fill those roles.

They may come up with several possibilities for each, depending on budget, or they may even organize auditions to find new talent.

Work Opportunities in the Casting Director Industry

image showing a casting director walking by people trying out for a role

Casting Director Job Description

To be successful as a casting director, you will need to have an in-depth knowledge of the acting process.

You will need to understand different acting methods and techniques, and you should also have experience in the creative environment of production.

The best casting directors can match talent to roles that result in character portrayals that draw the viewer in and create emotional connections.

Top Casting Director Jobs and Careers

Casting Director For Television

Casting Director For Motion Pictures

Casting Associate

Where Can a Casting Director Work?

When looking for work as a casting director, there are many different settings in which you may find employment.

Many casting directors find that the advertising industry is easier to get into than trying to become a casting director for a major film production company.

More elusive, but often higher-paying casting director settings can be as part of Broadway play productions and major motion pictures.

Current Career Job Openings

If you are interested in becoming a casting director, take a look at these current openings in the casting industry.

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What It’s Like to be a Casting Director

Is Being a Casting Director Hard?

Just like many other jobs, without the proper skill set and depth of industry knowledge, being a casting director can be difficult.

There needs to be a compromise between the production budget for casting talent, and the talent that can portray the characters in a relatable way.

Is a Casting Director Job Stressful?

Being a casting director can be incredibly stressful.

Not only do you have many scheduling and budgetary constraints that need to be worked around, but in many cases, you also need to operate under a deadline as well.

Common Casting Director Work Day

Depending on the production they are working on, the work day for a casting director can differ dramatically.

During casting and auditions, the casting director may work only a few days a week, but they may be 12-14 hour days.

The casting director will generally have a role only in the pre-production stage.

Casting Director Tasks & Duties

The primary duties of the casting director are to read over the script and notate their thoughts on each character.

Then they will hold a meeting with the director and producer to talk about their casting preferences.

Then they will contact various preferred actors and request that they audition, and open auditions for smaller roles.

They may also organize an open casting call or work with a casting agency or casting network to find the talent they need.

They also have a significant amount of responsibility to help and support each actor Once an actor is chosen for a role, the casting director will negotiate and manage the various contract

Casting Director Work Hours & Schedule

During each production the casting director is working, they will generally work for 3-5 days.

Each of those days, however, will see them actively working for 12-14 hours.

In general, however, the workday and hours that a casting director may work are likely to be highly irregular.

Casting Director Dress Code

There is no recognized dress code for a casting director, though they should look relatively well put together.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

A casting director has very little work/life balance, and if there is a production being cast they will have very little free time each day.

On the other hand, however, they only work for a short time during each production and once that window has passed they often can take as much time as they like before taking on more work.

Casting Director Salary & Income

image showing a casting director filming an actress trying out for a part

Do Casting Directors Make Good Money?

Casting directors make relatively good money.

Their earnings are well-above the median pay for the nation, nearly doubling them.

How Much Do Casting Directors Make?

The average casting director can make a median wage of approximately $79,000.

Those in the lowest-earning percentile make $38,000 or less, while those in the top 10% make more than $200,000 annually.

Overview of the Casting Director Industry

image showing an actor in front of lights

Casting Director Field: Career Progression

Becoming a casting director is often the pinnacle of many years worth of hard work and perseverance in the entertainment industry.

Those interested in a career as a casting director will have the best start by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in one of many potential fields.

After that, an internship can be priceless, as well as participating in an apprenticeship or fellowship to acquire more industry experience.

Volunteering in the casting industry and networking are also crucial components.

Eventually, you can become an associate casting director, and join a casting organization, which are direct lead-ins to the position of casting director.

Is a Casting Director a Good Career?

Being a casting director is an amazing career.

Not only will you get to personally meet and discuss projects with some of the most famous actors and actresses in the world, but you will personally have a hand in deciding who best fits the roles you come across in the hottest shows and moves.

Casting Director Job Outlook

The outlook for a casting director looks incredible for the 2020-2030 period.

Entertainment is an industry that rarely sees any shrinkage or growth slowing, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 24% growth during this time.

This is triple the national average for all industries, of just 8%.

Demand for Casting Director

The demand for a casting director will be there as long as new movies and television shows are being created.

Each one will require a casting director to find the right talent to fill the needed roles.

Casting Director Facts

  • The casting director makes the suggestions they feel are best, but the client that hires them has the final say in which actors book the job
  • The casting director can always choose to show, or not to show, your audition material to the client
  • The casting breakdowns are limited to who can see them, and who cannot

Jobs Related to Casting Director

There are many jobs related to a casting director, many of which apply the same skills needed for this position.

Dubbing Casting Director

This is a popular role for those who have a passion for animation or productions shot in another language.

They will help find actors that acheive the filmmaker’s vision for the production to find suitable actors for the speaking roles.

Casting Director For Plays

Someone who works as a casting director for plays will not only need to be able to find the right performers for the roles requirements, but if there are musical numbers included, they need to audition for acting as well as vocal skills.

Advertising Casting Director

Working as the casting director for advertising productions will mean you have to constantly be thinking about the next job.

Advertisements are over much quicker, which means your potential work tenure will be shorter, and you’ll always need to be looking forward.

Other related jobs include:

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Casting Directors

image showing a movie set

Who Should Consider a Casting Director Career Path?

Individuals that are passionate about the entertainment industry and well-versed in the latest celebrity happenings and gossip are prime candidates for becoming casting directors.

Additionally, those who can read a script and visualize the perfect actor or actress for the role should also consider putting the time in to become a casting director.

Who Should NOT Consider a Casting Director Career Path?

Individuals that have a hard time deciding who might be best for a particular role should not become casting directors.

Those who also have no desire to obtain a bachelor’s degree will also not be ideal for becoming a casting director.

Is it Hard to Become a Casting Director?

It is relatively hard to become a casting director, and it will take a considerable amount of tenacity and perseverance.

What Do I Need to Become a Casting Director?

You will need knowledge of the production process, knowledge of talent and how to support them, as well as some critical experience in the field.

A bachelor’s degree will also be a significant help, though it is possible to become a casting director without one.

Requirements for Becoming a Casting Director

First and foremost, you must have gathered some significant experience in the industry, as well as being an assistant or associate casting director.

You will also need to have joined a professional casting organization, like the Casting Society of America.

What Skills Does a Casting Director Need?

  • Eye for talent
  • Solid memory
  • Patience
  • Good personality

What Education Does a Casting Director Need?

There is no formal education requirement for becoming a casting director, though the easiest path to becoming one is obtaining a bachelor’s degree in the arts.

Can You Become a Casting Director Without a Degree?

Yes, it is possible to become a casting director without a degree.

It is a much harder route, however.

What Experience Does a Casting Director Need?

Aspiring casting directors will need to have served as an associate or assistant casting director previously.

In most cases, you will need to show experience from internships and apprenticeships as well.

Casting Director Education & Schooling

There are no casting director courses or certificates that are needed to enter the field.

Steps to Become a Casting Director

To enter the field with high employability, you should:

  1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree in the arts or business
  2. Complete an industry internship
  3. Apprentice in casting, under another casting professional
  4. Get more experience in casting, even with small gigs
  5. Find an opening as a casting assistant
  6. Network
  7. Become an associate casting director
  8. Join a professional organization like the CSA

Frequently Asked Questions

image showing a movie camera recording a scene that a casting director set up

Is it okay to contact casting directors?

Most casting directors will accept emails and phone calls from unsolicited actors, however, it’s important to remember to only contact them on weekdays.

Make sure you also proofread your communications for spelling and grammatical errors and don’t bring up any previous auditions that they passed you over for.

Do casting directors look at social media?

If you are being considered for a role, the casting director will Google you.

Chances are good that your social media accounts are going to be some of the first results that come up, so they will almost certainly look through your accounts on various platforms.

Wrapping Up

Becoming a casting director can be an exciting, well-paying, and fulfilling career.

It will take some hard work and years of experience in the entertainment industry, but for those who are interested, it can be well worth it.

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