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Working as a Casting Director

What Does a Casting Director Do

Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain or inform an audience.

Duties

Producers and directors typically do the following:

  • Select scripts or topics for a film, show, commercial, or play
  • Audition and select cast members and the film or stage crew
  • Approve the design and financial aspects of a production
  • Oversee the production process, including performances, lighting, and choreography
  • Oversee the postproduction process, including editing, special effects, music selection, and a performance’s overall tone
  • Ensure that a project stays on schedule and within budget
  • Promote finished works or productions through interviews, advertisements, and film festivals

Large productions often have associate, assistant, and line producers who share responsibilities. For example, on a large movie set an executive producer is in charge of the entire production, and a line producer runs the day-to-day operations. A TV show may employ several assistant producers to whom the head or executive producer gives certain duties, such as supervising the costume and makeup team.

Similarly, large productions usually employ several assistant directors, who help the director with tasks such as making set changes or notifying the performers when it is their time to go onstage. The specific responsibilities of assistant producers or directors vary with the size and type of production they work on.

Producers make the business and financial decisions for a motion picture, TV show, commercial, or stage production. They raise money for the project and hire the director and crew. The crew may include set and costume designers, film and video editors, a musical director, a choreographer, and other workers. Some producers may assist in the selection of cast members. Producers set the budget and approve any major changes to the project. They make sure that the production is completed on time, and they are ultimately responsible for the final product.

Directors are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of the cast and crew. During rehearsals, they work with the actors to help them more accurately portray their characters. For nonfiction video, such as documentaries or live broadcasts, directors choose topics or subjects to film. They investigate the topic and may interview relevant participants or experts on camera. Directors also work with cinematographers and other crew members to ensure the final product matches the overall vision.

Directors work with set designers, costume designers, location scouts, and art directors to build a project’s set. During a film’s postproduction phase, they work closely with film editors and music supervisors to make sure that the final product comes out the way the producer and director envisioned. Stage directors, unlike television or film directors who document their product with cameras, make sure the cast and crew give a consistently strong live performance. For more information, see the profiles on actors, writers and authors, film and video editors and camera operators, dancers and choreographers, and multimedia artists and animators.

Although directors are in charge of the creative aspects of a show, they ultimately answer to producers. Some directors also share producing duties for their own films.

How To Become a Casting Director

Most producers and directors have a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience in an occupation related to motion picture, TV, or theater production, such as an actor, film and video editor, or cinematographer.

Education

Producers and directors usually have a bachelor’s degree. Many students study film or cinema at colleges and universities. In these programs, students learn about film history, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and the filmmaking process. Others major in writing, acting, journalism, or communication. Some producers earn a degree in business, arts management, or nonprofit management.

Many stage directors complete a degree in theater and some go on to receive a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Classes may include directing, playwriting, set design, and acting. As of May 2015, the National Association of Schools of Theatre accredited more than 180 programs in theater arts.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Producers and directors might start out working in a theatrical management office as a business or company manager. In television or film, they might start out as an assistant or another low-profile studio job.

Advancement

As a producer’s or director’s reputation grows, he or she may work on larger projects that attract more attention or publicity.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Producers and directors must coordinate the work of many different people to finish a production on time and within budget.

Creativity. Because a script can be interpreted in different ways, directors must decide how they want to interpret it and then how to represent the script’s ideas on the screen or stage.

Leadership skills. A director instructs actors and helps them portray their characters in a believable manner. They also supervise the crew, who are responsible for the behind the scenes work.

Time-management skills. Producers must find and hire the best director and crew for the production. They make sure that all involved do their jobs effectively, keeping within a production schedule and a budget.

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Average Salary$46,519
Job Growth Rate5%

Casting Director Jobs

Casting Director Career Paths

Top Careers Before Casting Director

Top Careers After Casting Director

Producer
12.0 %

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Average Salary for a Casting Director

Casting Directors in America make an average salary of $46,519 per year or $22 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $84,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year.
Average Salary
$46,519

Best Paying Cities

0

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Casting Director
Casting Director
Offstagejobs.com
Offstagejobs.com
10/30/2019
10/30/2019
$31,30510/30/2019
$31,305
Casting Director
Casting Director
72Andsunny Partners LLC
72Andsunny Partners LLC
08/13/2019
08/13/2019
$165,00008/13/2019
$165,000
Casting Director
Casting Director
Broad-Cast, LLC
Broad-Cast, LLC
05/01/2017
05/01/2017
$58,00005/01/2017
$58,000
Director of Castem
Director of Castem
West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation
West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation
12/14/2015
12/14/2015
$70,00012/14/2015
$70,000
Director of Castem
Director of Castem
West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation
West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation
12/14/2015
12/14/2015
$70,00012/14/2015
$70,000

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Casting Director Demographics

Gender

female

53.9 %

male

39.4 %

unknown

6.6 %

Ethnicity

White

70.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

12.1 %

Black or African American

7.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

38.2 %

French

14.7 %

Portuguese

8.8 %
See More Demographics

Casting Director Education

Majors

Theatre
14.9 %

Degrees

Bachelors

71.2 %

Masters

10.4 %

Associate

9.8 %

Top Colleges for Casting Directors

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

5. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

6. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

7. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

8. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

9. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

10. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Casting Director

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Part Time
Internship
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Top Skills For a Casting Director

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 22.2% of casting directors listed production companies on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and mechanical skills are important as well.

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Top Casting Director Employers

1. The Walt Disney Company
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$37,770
Casting Directors Hired: 
7+
2. Playboy
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$73,418
Casting Directors Hired: 
3+
3. Full Sail University
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$40,853
Casting Directors Hired: 
3+
4. Miami-Dade County Public Schools
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$32,556
Casting Directors Hired: 
2+
5. Warner Bros.
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$64,691
Casting Directors Hired: 
2+
6. Natalie's Orchid Island Juice Company
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$36,200
Casting Directors Hired: 
2+

Recently Added Casting Director Jobs