Casting Directors - The way the Film Casting Process Works



Stephen David Entertainment

"How will the film casting process go a long way?" is a question that as professional casting directors we are often asked: whether by up-and-coming actors seeking jobs, or by new directors and producers. On this page, we hope to provide a solid insight into the process and give some guidance to what casting directors, producers and directors ought to be aiming to achieve in the process.

The Casting Process

Let's begin by saying that there is no definitive solution to the question. Projects vary greatly, as do budgets, cast requirements and time-scales. But there are fundamental elements worth noting which we think will be helpful to both directors and producers.

Talent Agencies

Briefing the Casting Director

Probably the single most important part of the process will be the briefing of your casting director. Any director worth his salt will have a clear vision for his film. Hopefully this is actually the one shared with his producer. That vision has to be effectively communicated for the CD, who having see the script can be of inestimable help in identifying potential casting problems. It is not uncommon for a key character to feel underwritten and also to disappear for a great deal of a script. Not helpful if you're hoping for a 'name'. A lack of sympathy or redemption can create a part unattractive; a prospective casting 'black hole. ' Listen to your casting director. They could identify these problems. If lead actors consistently turn down a script, you will find there's reason.

Key Questions to ask...

As a director/producer you may curently have strong casting ideas. Are these consistent with your budget? Are they realistic? Don't become too wedded with an idea. Is that actor actually available? Would it be something they would consider? Your casting director is best placed to know or uncover for you.

Meeting the talent!

In relation to meeting actors, the director accounts for setting the tone of the meeting. It is important that he engages with all the actor, is forthcoming and provide notes. If an actor is inspired to read again, then make it clear what it is you require from them. Does the scene you have provide the actor give sufficient possiblity to show light and shade. Develop a knowledge of mood. Actors shouldn't have to jump through hoops. In case you are absent from a session and they are viewing tapes, believe in CD to elicit the most effective performance from the actor and make rash judgements.

Producers are often guilty of arbitrary objections determined by hair length or shirt colour. Always remember the actor is giving a reading, not just a performance. If you don't being a particular actor, fair enough but always have good reasons for your decisions.

Have confidence in your decisions plus your script!

It is a frequent misconception that everyone is desperate to focus on your project and will keep themselves available indefinitely. Sadly this can be rarely the case. Agents is probably juggling projects because of their clients and there is always the possibility of something better approaching. If an actor really loves a script then better the opportunity you have of getting him up to speed. It is a mistake to throw money at somebody in the hope that they will say yes. Money becomes a worry in negotiation if deep down they are not really bothered when they do the job or not. Be guided from your
CD.

The casting process can be as simple or as complicated as you desire to make it. It is the job from the casting director to facilitate that process inside a thorough and creative way. However they must always be given clear thoughts, up -to- date information and trust, to get this. As a director/producer, sometimes it is hard to let go!

However with trust, whether it is locating the perfect lead, or discovering an exilerating new talent the casting director can start to play a pivotal role in giving your movie balance - and thus the film has a much greater potential for success!