What does a Casting Manager do?
A Casting Manager, also known as a Casting Assistant or Casting Director, will put together the cast for each production. They will work with the producers and directors to devise the actor requirements for each character in the production. At that stage, the Casting Manager’s responsibilities really become their own.
They will go to market to secure the cast for the production. They’ll look at who will fit a particular character, plus ensure they’re available for the entire production and within budget too. As they’re often dealing with celebrities, they will also take note of an actor’s star power and estimate how much this will support the release.
Casting Managers will reach out to their shortlisted actors’ agents to enquiry about their services. They’ll organise and run screen tests, providing feedback and tapes to the producers and director.
Casting Assistants will often perform many of the admin tasks and office duties.
What skills does a Casting Manager need?
Knowledge of acting talent: Anyone working in casting must have a good understanding of actors and actresses, plus their position in the marketplace and star-power. They’ll be responsible for drawing up a shortlist of acting talent.
Communication: As they will be in regular contact with agents, communication is key to win over agents and their acting talent. You’ll also need to communicate in a professional manner across both phone and email.
Organisation: At the Assistant level, organisation is quite important as they’ll often coordinate screen tests.
An eye for talent: After years of experience, many casting managers can spot upcoming acting talent. Spotting talent early means the production can give the actor the platform to progress, while costs are kept low.
Who does a Casting Manager work with?
Most of the time, the Casting Manager will work with the rest of the casting team – Director and Assistants. However, they’ll also work with the producers and director to determine who to cast for particular roles – especially the key characters. They’ll also communicate with talent agents.
How to become a Casting Manager?
There isn’t a set route to becoming a casting manager, often people will come across the role, give it a go and find out that they like it. Having an understanding of the production process is important, so starting out as a Runner could give you the headstart you need.