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What Does a Casting Assistant Do?

Nick Mann
Nick Mann

A casting assistant plays an integral role in the acquisition of actors in both television and film. It's ultimately his job to find the most talented and appropriate actors for television and movie roles. While every job will differ slightly, the primary job duties of a casting assistant are basically the same. These include reading scripts and finding suitable actors to fill roles, contacting and negotiating with actors' agents, assisting in auditions and maintaining records on actors.

Usually the first responsibility of a casting assistant for each job is to read the script for a television series or film. During this time, he will go through each scene and get a feel for what type of actor each role needs. He will typically start off with a rough idea in mind, and gradually narrow it down until he has a list of the ideal actors. Once the casting assistant knows which actors are best suited for the production, he will usually discuss that information with the producers and director. During this time, he will make sure that everyone is in agreement and work out any other details concerning roles.

A casting assistant collects head shots from actors.
A casting assistant collects head shots from actors.

After the initial phases of this process have been completed, it's the responsibility of the casting assistant to contact the agents of the actors he has in mind. At this stage, he will check on the availability and interest of each actor for the production. He will also talk about contractual agreements and set up audition times for each actor.

During the auditioning period, it's the casting assistant's job to provide all actors with scripts and any other pertinent information for the role. From there, he will be part of the screen testing process and will typically run the camera for each audition. He will tape each actor's performance from a selected scene to be reviewed by the director and producers later on. It's also his responsibility to set up catering and to provide actors with beverages.

Casting assistants help manage casting calls.
Casting assistants help manage casting calls.

After all actors have auditioned, the casting assistant will then record any important information on each actor. Unless the actor is extremely well known, he will also keep a head shot and resume. Once he has this information, the casting assistant will send out the audition tapes along with any other relevant information to the director and producers. At that point, the bulk of the job is done, and the director and producer will finalize the rest of the casting process. After all actors have been given contracts, the casting assistant's job is complete and he will move on to his next assignment.

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Discussion Comments


I've always wondered what it takes to be a casting assistant, and this article does a pretty good job at explaining it. However, in order to get the position, I am assuming that you need to have experience in the film industry yourself, maybe even as a voice actor. Consider the fact that most high paying jobs don't happen overnight. It takes years of experience and practice, and most people start at the bottom, and work their way up. Always remember that no job worth having is an easy task, but it's well worth it in the end.


@Hazali - You make some very good points. Speaking of which, have you seen the movie called Tangled? The movie actually took nine years. One of the reasons is because they kept changing voice actors. In fact, at one point during the production, it was a full length movie with its own unique cast. However, several times they were dismissed, and new people were called in. Sometimes, I think that (voice) actors are only hired as a way to test out the production of the movie, so that the producers know what they want the character to sound like.


I don't have much experience as a casting assistant, but I do know that one thing you need to be prepared for is a change in cast. Coming at no surprise, there are many movies that when in early production, there's a cast chosen. However, that might change overtime. Incidents can happen, deaths can occur, or schedules might conflict with the producers. Regardless of the reasons however, it's something you need to be ready for in advance.

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    • A casting assistant collects head shots from actors.
      By: Warren Goldswain
      A casting assistant collects head shots from actors.
    • Casting assistants help manage casting calls.
      By: Innovated Captures
      Casting assistants help manage casting calls.
    • Casting assistants frequently read scripts.
      By: auremar
      Casting assistants frequently read scripts.