How to Be a Casting Director

Three Methods:Becoming a Casting AssistantPreparing Through EducationBeing a Good Casting Director

Becoming a casting director takes years of networking and education. Casting directors are in charge of conducting auditions for actors and actresses. They work for Hollywood, community plays, TV shows, and even radio. Casting directors work closely with directors and producers to ensure the best outcome for the production.

Method 1
Becoming a Casting Assistant

  1. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 1
    Gain experience. Before being considered as a casting assistant, you’ll need experience working for a production. For many in today’s market, this means volunteering for a community theater production. Many community based companies seek volunteers or interns for offstage roles. Contact a local community based theater company for opportunities. Some roles that can help prepare you to become a casting assistant are:
    • Writer’s assistant
    • Research coordinator
    • Executive assistant
    • Production assistant
    • Assistant to talent manager
    • Floater[1]
  2. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 2
    Study scripts and productions. To be taken seriously you need to regularly practice the type of work you’ll be expected of performing. Read a wide range of plays both old and new. Find some that stand out to you and begin to analyze the script. Focus your analysis on characters and how they affect the story.
    • Review the role of a dramaturg and what they do for a production. Dramaturgs are responsible for analyzing the writing and research for the production. This type of role could benefit an aspiring casting director.
    • Watch historic productions by Laurence Olivier or Ian McKellen preforming Shakespeare.
  3. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 3
    Hand out your resume and portfolio. Create a list of theaters or companies and plan to hand in your credentials directly to the source. Ask to speak to the stage manager or the producer. Explain your interests in the field and your dedication.
    • A college education is not necessary for the business, but a passion for the field is required.[2]
  4. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 4
    Ask for internship opportunities. Internships aren’t reserved for college students. Many prominent internships request that you are a student, but you can still reap the benefits without being in school. It never hurts to ask a casting agency or theater for an opportunity. Even if you don’t receive an interview, you may be informed of another opportunity you weren’t aware of.[3]
  5. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 5
    Network in your community. Once again, you should be actively pursuing jobs in your community. Keep a good standing with the casting directors you come into contact with. Interact with them and tell them your goals of becoming a casting assistant. The goal is to stand out in their memory.
    • Much of the jobs in this business are filled based off word of mouth referrals. Keep in contact with the people who believe in you and offer advice. These are the type of people that you may need to call for a referral.
    • Seek out a relationship with an employee of a local theater.[4]
  6. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 6
    Seek out a casting agency. Once you build a resume and references you are ready to start applying for casting assistant positions. To become a casting director, many organizations require you to be a casting assistant for a number of years. This will better your chances of being taken into consideration later on.
    • Search online for casting and talent agencies and job openings. You may need to move to a large city like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.
    • Build your portfolio with relevant content and experience for the role. Spend an ample amount of time writing your cover letter. Cover letters are sometimes used as the most important part of your application.
    • Once you become a casting assistant you will be in the right path to move up to a casting director in a matter of years. You need to put in your time before living the good life.[5]
  7. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 7
    Excel as a casting assistant. Being a casting assistant doesn’t guarantee you a future as a casting director. You must work hard and with dedication at studying and evaluating talent and scripts. A good assistant is not afraid of taking risks. If you disagree with the director, explain your opinion of the situation in a smart and cohesive manner.
    • You need to love your job to move up into the role of casting director.
    • A strong casting director has strong opinions that are backed by knowledge of the production and characters.
    • You must be decisive in order to excel at being a casting assistant.

Method 2
Preparing Through Education

  1. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 8
    Start as young as you can. If you or someone you know is interested in the field, it is best to become immersed into the industry young. Begin auditioning for all types of gigs for radio, TV, theater, or anything available to you. The best way to understand the roles of casting directors is to see them at their work. Begin by getting head shots and try your luck at acting opportunities near you.
    • You can also get a taste of the industry by becoming an extra. This will bring you into contact with directors and actors.[6]
    • As you grow up, you’ll be closer to directing roles that will better prepare you for the casting director.
  2. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 9
    Audition for school plays. Sign up and pursue whatever play your school is putting on. Even if you aren’t cast, you can learn from the experience of auditioning. School plays are a great way to become involved with set designs, lighting, and even directing. Any experience in the world of drama can increase your chances of breaking into the professional industry.
  3. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 10
    Become involved with your theater department. In high school you can sign up for theater classes that will teach you much of what goes in a theatrical production. Don’t worry if you aren’t being cast as the lead roles. Try to absorb all the information your teacher has to offer. Remember you are pursuing a career that is “offstage” not in center stage.
    • Become involved with the directing side of theater when available.
    • Look into arts magnet schools in your community. Arts high schools will typically offer more opportunities for directing/producing education.[7]
  4. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 11
    Apply to colleges. Consult your theater teachers about prominent colleges for theater. Some schools even offer education for cast directing. College is not required to become a casting director, but many times you can gain contacts and experience from certain programs.
    • Your high school should also have college counselors that will have the resources to guide your decision.[8]
  5. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 12
    Apply for internships. Once you reach your junior year of college, you should seriously consider applying for internships. Internships are critical today for first hand experience in a professional setting. Even if a local theater, studio, or radio program doesn’t offer an official internship, you can email them asking for opportunities.[9]
    • Explain to them your interests in becoming a casting director and what you hope to learn from them. Most internships are unpaid, but don’t let this stop you from becoming involved. Look into local talent agencies for additional internships.
  6. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 13
    Consider the Tepper Semester. The department of drama at Syracuse University and the Casting Society of America have partnered up to offer an apprenticeship program. All college students and graduate students are eligible to apply for an extensive semester. The program educates students on the fundamentals of being a casting director like character and script analysis, serving a director's vision, and working with systems and technologies.[10]
  7. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 14
    Graduate from college. While in college you should be as involved as you can with the drama department. Pairing business or communication with a theater degree is a great combination to prepare you for cast directing. Keep your grades up to ensure your GPA never falls from a 3.0.[11]

Method 3
Being a Good Casting Director

  1. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 15
    Be willing to put in the work. Being a casting director is a daunting role of any production. To be a casting director of a prominent musical or movie can take several weeks just to make it through the resumes and head shots.[12] After that you’ll be in charge of choosing less than half of the bulk of responses for an initial audition. After that you decrease your stack even more for seconds auditions.
    • Memory is an important role for a good casting director.
    • It's important to look over all of the audition files be familiar with what you are working with.
  2. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 16
    Know the production. It is crucial to have an open relationship with the directors and producers to know what they're looking for. Typically you will be given a clear idea of who the character is. Some companies will give you the exact physical descriptions necessary for the role.
    • It's important to know all of the actors and actresses who are auditioning.
  3. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 17
    Set a comfortable atmosphere. When an actor/actress performs be encouraging. If they do bad don't be harsh, but tell them the truth. Be sure that you review every audition and offer an opinion about every audition. When an actor or actress is auditioning for a role it is crucial that everyone is professional and encouraging. The best environments produce the best work from an actor/actress.[13]
  4. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 18
    Immerse yourself in the job. You need to love actors and actresses to excel at this position. If you don’t, you won’t be able stand the bulk of this career. The best casting directors regularly attend theatrical productions, up to four times a week, purely seeking talent.[14]
    • You’ll also be in contact with casting agents.
  5. Image titled Be a Casting Director Step 19
    Keep an open mind. There is a major shift in the industry to offer lead positions to any sorts of people regardless of race. Experts agree it is about casting the right person at the right time. The history of lead roles are for white males, but these days the leads are being offered to all sorts of people.[15]


  • Don't exclude anyone because they have low acting experience.
  • Always pick someone who fits the character’s description.

Article Info

Categories: Theater | Visual & Written Media