If you took advantage of some of the outlets mentioned in the previous blog, you are doing something that will have substantial positive consequences for your career as a talent! Now that you are meeting people and getting the exposure to learn your way around the industry, the next step is VITAL! You need to know who the people are you are meeting! Maybe not their first born’s shoe size or their favorite kind of pizza, but identifying their needs, struggles, place in the chain of communication, and responsibilities will put the fear that most talent feel back into a logical perspective.
The next few blogs will focus on the other professionals you may encounter. We already touched on the manager, agent, and acting coach. (Refer to “Be A Team Player . . .” for a coach, “Walking The Tightrope . . .” for the manager, and “A Complementary Partnership” for the agent.)
The casting director. After you secure a partnership with an agent, you will likely be exposed first to the casting director (aka: the CD). The CD is the gatekeeper between the ad agent, director, or producer. Their job is to put quality talent on camera and share the options with their client. The process for doing so can be logistically and financially challenging at the least – but can also be difficult when it comes to communication. The CD has to dissect and translate what the client wants into words that can be submitted to the agents clearly. Sometimes they use storyboards or sides to communicate these ideas more effectively, which can be shared with the talent prior to their casting appointment.
Once the translation process has been completed, the CD sends a “breakdown” out to the agents. From there, the process can take many routes. Some CDs ask for specific talent only, while others may suggest the agent decide who is the best fit. Some CDs are willing to work with talent scheduling issues with whom they know well and have built a relationship, but generally they offer a casting time that is not negotiable. (Keep in mind they are not only juggling upwards of 100 or more talent at any given casting session, but they are also dealing with agents trying to work out scheduling issues and applying pressure to work new faces in that weren’t invited, so they have to be Ringling Brother’s Circus style jugglers to make it all work out in the end!)
Then the CD spends the casting day nailed to the floor in one room seeing all of the scheduled talent say or do the same thing over and over and over and over . . . can you see where it would get tedious? It does. But oddly, most CDs find the process bearable (and even enjoyable when a talent really does something amazing to nail the audition)!
After all the talent have cast, the CD burns a copy of the auditions and sends it to the client. The client may wish to see a select few talent at a callback session, in which case the CD has to go through the entire process one more time.
At last, though, they get to make the phone calls to the agents when the client has chosen the actor or model they want to book for the job. Hopefully it will be your agent calling YOU!
I find that talent as a whole don’t know much about what the casting director actually does. What misconceptions did you have prior to reading this blog? And what questions do you still have that have yet to be answered about the role of a CD?