For larger productions, the casting director along with multiple assistants may see thousands of people before deciding who to use to fill specific roles. During auditions, the casting director takes into account the opinions and perspectives of the producer(s) and director.
Casting directors come from a variety of backgrounds. Some of them previously acted or wrote. Formal education for casting directors increases job opportunities.
Even if you don’t earn a full degree, many colleges offer classes and workshops including those specifically related to directing. Acting workshops benefit casting directors as their primary job is to evaluate actors.
After receiving general instruction from the director, a casting director opens auditions for specific roles in the play or film. Casting directors also develop relationships with agents who provide actors for auditions. For minor roles, assistants may oversee the audition and the casting director makes final decisions. They’re usually more directly involved in major role auditions.
As casting directors are directly responsible for the actors and actresses assigned to the various roles, they’re also the first to be criticized if the person doesn’t do well. Casting directors must be confident, able to handle criticism and discerning when handling auditions. Professionalism and the ability to communicate well are essential attributes for casting directors.
Casting directors may do any of the following:
Casting directors find employment with local or regional television studios, theaters, or film production companies, as well as training films for corporations, education institutions and government agencies.
Even during economic downturns and recessions, people attend theatres and rent movies, so the impact on casting directors isn’t overly significant. However, the competition for directing positions is significant. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this profession to grow by about 10% through 2016.
Casting director salaries vary according to type of employment. Casting directors for Broadway productions and major movie producers earn the greatest income, often including bonuses and royalties. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average salary for the remaining casting directors is over $64,000. The annual income ranges from around $42,000 to over $100,000.
Casting directors working in television broadcasting often earn less than those in the motion picture industry. The highest paid casting directors work in Los Angeles and New York City.