September 15, 2014


You know you love to work with people, performers, actors, and all types of talent, but how do you take that energy and get started being a casting director in the film industry? While many casting directors begin their film industry careers as actors themselves, people come to casting from all walks of life: whether your experience is in filmmaking or administration, you can bring your skills to a career in casting. What are the key skills of a casting director? Find out in today’s article!


Being a casting director requires a few kew skills, and the ability to work with people with many types of personalities is paramount. Casting directors are outgoing individuals with excellent communication and negotiation skills: after all, they have to work with directors and studios as well as with actors and agents!


To be most competitive as you start out in this field, it is a good idea to have some courses in filmmaking and theater under your belt. For film casting in particular, you’ll be ahead of the crowd if you understand the director’s perspective and have a solid understanding of the business side of filmmaking. At a top film school such as F.I.R.S.T. Institute, you work on filmmaking from every angle so that you have practical experience with each aspect of the process of producing a film. With your experience screenwriting, directing, designing, and casting during your hands-on projects at F.I.R.S.T. Institute, you’ll gain a working knowledge of team dynamics and how to keep a project running smoothly. Knowing how to provide what the director needs while keeping in mind the vision of the writers and designers will be invaluable as you seek your first professional positions.


Casting directors keep a vast library of performers in their minds all the time, are organized and precise, and have an understanding of the artistic needs of every project they work on. Some people in casting seem to have an instinctual grasp of these things, but that “instinct” only comes from experience! Starting out as an intern or assistant is the best method for progressing in the field, so look out for casting agencies that are recruiting students and new help. There is a lot to do to keep an agency running smoothly, and you will usually be able to work your way up from the bottom if you work hard and learn as much as you can on the job. Check out groups like the Casting Society of America, which is a professional association, to find lists of members that you might apply to.


This is the most important part of becoming a casting director! A film school education and experience are key, but you should begin networking as early as you can — you never know how you’ll be able to help someone (and then they might be able to help you down the line!). Part of being a casting director involves knowing lots of people, so get practice networking as much as possible. Not only will it benefit your general film industry career to get to know a wide variety of people, it will help you make casting choices later on. You’ll find yourself working with the same agents and auditioning the same people frequently, so building positive relationships in every step of your film career is key.


When learning how to become a casting director, remember to keep your eyes open and accept all your experiences as grist for the mill: the more you put yourself in learning situations, the more you’ll develop the skills you need for being a casting director. If you think this is the film career you want to pursue, get in touch with academic advisors at F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Digital Filmmaking and Video Production school and start making connections!