Job Title: Casting Director, Casting Agent, Or Casting Assistant
Generally hired by the producer, the casting director works closely with the director to find the appropriate people to perform the various acting roles in the production.
A casting director must possess the ability to recognize acting potential and ability. People skills are a fundamental requirement for the job. A casting director must be able to communicate with the film director to gain a clear understanding of his vision for the production's characters, and be able to make those who are auditioning feel at ease in what is often a stressful situation.
Advice for Someone Seeking This Job
A casting director must have the confidence of a producer and director to land the job. To build that confidence, most have interned or apprenticed with other casting directors. Contact casting directors and offer to work for free so you can observe the process. You might answer an open audition call so you can experience the casting process from the actor's perspective. Experience and relationships are necessary.
Professional Profile: Kim Petrosky, Casting Director, Kim Petrosky Casting
Kim Petrosky is a self-described people person. She loves working with people, especially actors. Before heading for Broadway, the Nashville native earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1985 from the School of the Arts in North Carolina. Her first break in New York was as an assistant stage manager of an off-Broadway play.
Hooking up with a family friend who is a cinematographer, Petrosky began assisting him with grant research and other production assistant duties on a documentary he was making. Eventually she learned to cut the 16mm film and edit it. But it was when a friend who was a casting director needed some help, that Petrosky found her niche in the industry.
What do you like least about your job?
“I least like people that don't understand how important casting is for a picture; they take the job lightly.”—Kim Petrosky
What do you love most about your job?
“I love most finding that perfect person that is just so right for the role, and the director is ecstatic—I'm ecstatic. It just feels right and it fits right and things come together. The other thing I like is being able to call an actor at their day job, at a restaurant, and tell them they got the part.”—Kim Petrosky
“I jumped into it and realized it was what I wanted to do. I love actors. And, you get to sit and audition people and work with the director. I found it really exciting … Susan [Shopmaker] did little, tiny films, crazy things where we were looking for prostitutes down on Tenth Avenue in the middle of the night and wrangling them for different scenes.”
Attracted by the “crazy hours” and “nutty people,” Petrosky reveled in casting. She worked for Shopmaker for a couple of years before moving back to Nashville in the early 1990s. After a brief return to New York, she relocated permanently to Nashville in 1992 to build her own casting business. “I adore New York, but I wanted to be a person with a house and a car; I wanted to use my driver's license again.
“I knew that films occasionally came to the area and there was some production, so I basically reinvented myself.” Petrosky first held an open casting call so that she could meet the Nashville talent. “Basically I said, ‘Casting Director relocating to Nashville.’”
* “You should love film and know as much about actors as possible.”—Kim Petrosky
* Taking acting classes can help a casting director better understand the process of acting, recognize potential talent, and put actors at ease so they can give a good audition performance.
Through a New York friend, who was serving as production coordinator on the CBS pilot X's and O's, Petrosky landed her first casting job. The Reba McIntyre series Is There Life Out There followed, and gradually Petrosky began building a solid résumé that includes Ghosts of Mississippi, The Green Mile, Last Dance, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, October Sky, Patch Adams, Run Ronnie Run!, and We Were Soldiers.
“I love to work. I love the whole process, from trying to get a job, all the way through it.”
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