Career Help: How To Become A Casting Director

This article will help you follow the path to becoming a successful casting director.

Breaking into the world of film and television can be daunting. The field is competitive and crowded. The field also is exciting and interesting. If you think you may want to be a casting director, but don't know where to start, read on. The path to the top can take a long time, but there are ways to make it happen.

First off, what type of people make good casting directors? There are some common traits seen in people who succeed as casting directors. Good casting directors usually are:

- good communicators

- willing to meet and get to know many new people

- able to be behind the scenes in order to let others shine

- willing to work long hours

- able to multitask

- able quickly to learn new skills and processes

- positive thinkers

- passionate about actors and acting

It is a good idea to take an acting class or two, and watch as many theatre productions and movies as you can. If you want to cast for commercials, take note of what sorts of actors make the best fits in advertisements you see each and every day. Learn as much as you can about acting and what it is like to be an actor, as well as about what type of actor "works" or doesn't in different situations. Finally, be passionate about all of this. A lot of enthusiasm and passion can go a long way to a lifetime of enjoyment and success as a casting director.

If you are ready to take that first step to becoming a casting director, you must find an internship. Many internships are unpaid, though some pay a small stipend. The purpose of the internship is not to make a lot of money; it is to learn as much as you can about the industry and the role of the casting director. Send letters and resumes to any place you feel you would be a good match. After you write to offer your services, be sure to follow up. Often the difference between who lands an internship and who does not is simply who was more aggressive in acting upon their desires to pursue this career path.

Once you land an internship, be open to everything! Oftentimes, internships are unstructured. One day you may begin your day sorting mail, a few weeks later you may be assisting a casting director with setting up important appointments. Regardless of what task is assigned, discover what you can learn from it that will be beneficial in your future career. Observe everything going on around you, talk to all the people that you come into contact with, learn the process flow, ask questions, and participate - this is your chance to learn the business from the bottom up. If you do not like all the day-to-day aspects of casting, this may not be the job for you. If you love the fast pace and the many details of casting, it's time to continue to explore this career path.

Networking is essential in any business setting; often it is who you know that allows you to find out where help in your area is needed. Make an effort to call casting directors that you respect and invite them to meet you for coffee or lunch. Ask them about their lives, how they got to where they are, for advice on what you should be doing or learning. Be aggressive on getting to know the people you think are the best at what they do. People are willing to talk to you and help, you just need to take the initiative.

After you have some experience, you may be able to move closer to your goal of becoming a casting director by becoming an "associate casting director." These people have learned a lot through their internships and are ready to take on more responsibility. Oftentimes people who serve as associate casting directors work on their own relatively small projects, under the supervision of the casting director. These associates gain great experience and confidence by taking on more of an active role in the casting process. A good casting director will make sure the associate has enough independence to learn and grow, but not too much so that he feels overwhelmed.

After time as an associate, you will reach your goal of becoming a casting director. The role of casting director combines the business side of theater or cinema with the artistic side for a combination that can be challenging, exhilarating, and gratifying. Good luck!

© High Speed Ventures 2011