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iPOP TIPS: Understanding the Casting Process for Film

For actors' theatre is the foundation of acting, but film is where the pinnacle of performance has taken place for almost 100 years. Film acting is a sort of holy grail for actors. But once you land the audition what should you expect?

Getting to know the casting department

Whether you work on stage, on television, or in film the first time you audition you will likely meet the production's casting team. Performers are not usually hired by the production company; Actors are typically hired by a casting company or casting director who is working for the production.

The casting director (or company) is hired by the production company to fill the roles of the film with needed talent. Usually, there are two directors of casting. One is called the principal casting director for the major roles and a background casting director for non-speaking roles.

Auditions are basically job interviews for actors and they are performed for a casting panel. Casting panels are comprised of the casting director, film producer, and film director. When you're called in for an audition, people present at the audition will be you, the casting director, and maybe a handful of other people like the producer, camera operator, or other people involved in the project.

What comes next...the 'Callback'

Anytime you are asked to come in after your initial audition it is known as a callback.

At the callback, you might repeat the same material for the same casting panel, or it might be for a different role in front of different people. Callback sessions are usually short, only a few minutes. They are often video recorded for later viewing.

Finding the chemistry

Another aspect is the chemistry read. Directors will ask actors to read together in different combinations to see which pair of actors have the most compelling on-screen chemistry.

The casting process can take days or months. In feature films, the Casting Director makes recommendations on the final casting but it is the Director who usually finalizes the cast.

Getting cast isn't an accident. It's the result of patience, consistent preparation, and persistence. If you book the role or not, auditions are still your best chance to become known by Casting Directors. If you are prepared, professional, and make a good impression, they will remember you from before and keep you in mind for other roles.


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