Casting in Hollywood: Know the Basic Process
For those of you new to acting, casting in Hollywood might be confusing. You hear “casting” and “casting director” from a lot of your friends in your acting classes and they seem to be auditioning. So what does casting mean? And what is a casting director?
Casting refers to the process of choosing models or actors for a specific job. For commercials, this process starts when a company, like Best Buy or Verizon, goes to an “ad agency” to create a commercial for their product or company. The ad agency creates several pitches for a commercial and then presents their best work to, say, Verizon. The people at Verizon have the ad agency make some changes, and then they more or less decide on the commercial they want and casting for that commercial begins!
The ad agency works with a casting director to put out a casting call to the acting agencies. The goal is to find the right talent that fits the profile for the job. The casting director needs to find the talent that Verizon is envisioning for the commercial. The casting director depends on the acting agencies to send them that talent, so each acting agency chooses actors from their agency that best fit the profile. These actors are then submitted to the casting director(s).
The casting director sorts through all of the actors, qualifying the actors by their headshots, resumes, and reels. Once they know which actors they want to see, these actors are notified. The actors come in and audition. The actors that had the right look and best execution are called back. Usually, only a handful of actors are called back. From this pool, the best 3 candidates are sent to the client, Verizon. Verizon chooses their favorite. Once the actor is booked for the job and the contract is signed, the casting process ends.
For television and film, the casting process starts with the studio, network or production company hires a casting director (or has an in-house director), who will make breakdowns of each character and post them for talent agencies to submit to. From there, the casting directors (aka cd’s) schedule auditions, callbacks, etc. Television is often a much faster casting process than films. Sometimes, films take YEARS to cast!