- Create a Casting Plan
The first thing a casting director must have is a screenplay to work with. Sometimes the companies that you are working with will provide you with one but it is also likely that you’ll have to create your own. If it’s your own work, you’ll know better than anyone how the characters look in your mind and who will be suitable to portray them in the real world. If it is not your own work, it would be good to sit down with the client and draw up casting profiles for each role. The profiles should include:
- Age Range
- Height & Weight
- Distinctive Characteristics
- Special Skills (e.g. singing, dancing or the ability to perform stunts)
It is also important to note that, at this stage, you will only need to focus on the leading roles. This is because it is likely the actors for the smaller parts will be selected from those who auditioned for the larger parts.
- Simplify Treatment for the Talent
The character profiles are to help all team members involved in the casting process figure out what kind of talent you’re looking for. You’ll want to keep your character breakdowns short and snappy, with a few attributes to help give the talent an insight into the character (this will help them figure out if they’re suitable for the part). Character profiles would often take this form:
- Character Forename
- Age Range
- Character Description/ Special Skills
- Put out a Casting Call
Once you’ve got the character breakdowns all set, you’ll need to see them in person. Social Media is a brilliant way of sending a casting call out as it can make talent aware of the brief quickly. It is also a good idea to work with industry directories such as Spotlight, Casting Networks and Mandy. Some of these directories require registration and not all of them are free.
It is likely that you will receive an influx of emails from talent once you have posted your casting call. In order to keep your personal emails separate from emails regarding casting calls, it might be a good idea to set up a separate account which can be used as a dedicated email address for the project.
- Set the Stage
When the enquiries from candidates start coming in, you’ll need to organise an audition day. This is the part which will test your casting director and organisational skills to the extreme. Firstly, you’ll need to book a space in which to host auditions. To find the perfect space, it is important to take these factors into account:
- A large room in which to host the auditions themselves, with tables and seating for the casting team. There should also be space outside of this room, with seating, where the talent can wait. You should offer basic catering facilities to make tea, coffee and lunch (especially for long audition days.
- A registration desk where a team member can greet actors as they arrive.
- With an audition space secured, contact all parties interested in the audition and give them information about the location, time they’re expected, and anything they’ll require on the day (e.g. ID or a copy of the scene).
- On the Day of the Audition
You should arrive at the space early to get everything set up. You should bring:
- An overview of the day’s running order
- A list of the Talents’ names (Bring a few copies just in case)
- A file of every actor’s resume aligned with sections of the script you’d like them to read.
- A standard form for actors to fill out on arrival to gather contact info, agent details and any other information relevant to the project.
- Recording equipment so you can review auditions later. You’ll need to get permission from the actors before you record them.