Casting Directors Discuss What They Love About Their Jobs

November 8, 2020

Casting directors invest so much of their heart and soul in the pursuit of finding the best-fitting talent for the projects that come their way. They’re keen observers and love to work with people—lots of people for that matter. Although they might seem a bit intimidating to actors when the pressure is on in the audition room, casting directors are actually very much routing for each actor who comes their way. Here are quotes from seven celebrated casting directors discussing what they truly love about their line of work.


Tara Rubin (Dear Evan Hansen, School of Rock the musical)

“What we’re after is you. What we’re after is a little bit strange, a little bit perfect, a little bit imperfect—whatever it is, that’s what interests us. The details of your character and your personality are what are going to fill in the character on page, so we love to see what that is.”


Stephanie Holbrook (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Mrs. Doubtfire, Malcolm in the Middle)

“I love an actor who comes in having made a strong choice, having prepared, familiar with the material, really comfortable in the role—not because they don’t get nervous for auditions but simply because they’ve done their homework. They’ve sort of figured out what’s going on in the scene, what are the relationships, who is this character? … There’s something really interesting and compelling about an audition that’s just spontaneous and in the moment.”


Carmen Cuba (Stranger Things, The Chi, Devs, Vida)

“I go to the theater, and I almost always end up casting someone I’ve seen within six months. I have friends who know my taste who send me names of actors they’ve seen in obscure things, and I keep track of them. And I watch film and television and weird stuff online and track people down on my own. I also have my own favorite directors and casting directors whose work I love, and I am not ashamed to admit that I am often tracking down actors they’ve used in their projects as well! I don’t watch anything in my ‘free time’ that doesn’t interest me. Because I’m watching stuff I actually love, I often end up falling in love with the actors in these projects.”


Nina Gold (Game of Thrones, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens)

“I love discovering unknown actors. It’s very exciting, although it can be risky. You can’t predict if the person you think is going to be great really will be. But doesn’t it get boring if you always play it safe and use the same old names? Personally, I’m not interested in casting the most perfectly beautiful woman or someone who ticks all the boxes of what a person is ‘supposed’ to look like. I’m much more interested in character before beauty and an interesting charisma that’s not based on looks. More often than not, the risk pays off. I have to say, it’s a pretty good feeling to go to the cinema and watch a film that I’ve cast. I cry a lot!”


Jennifer Euston (Girls, Orange Is the New Black)

“The whole ‘Orange’ cast is amazing because these are character women, these are minorities, these are older women that never got these opportunities to have an arc ever on a TV show, and they’d play like Nurse #1 in ‘Law & Order.’ Now they have 13 episodes to develop a story, and it is so moving for me because they’re women we’ve been bringing in for years and years and years.”


Sharon Bialy of Bialy/Thomas & Associates (The Walking Dead, The Handmaid’s Tale, Dead to Me, Breaking Bad)

“We’re all in this because we love to tell stories, so what makes me remember an actor is an actor who went in to tell the story—not the actor who is in there because of the ego. A lot more times, actors are told, ‘This is your time in the room,’ and that’s not my feeling. It’s not their time; it’s the time for the story. It’s their time to bring the story to life. It’s not all about them.”


Juliet Taylor (Mississippi Burning, Sleepless in Seattle)

“One of the thrills is being able to use someone who’s never been seen before in an original way—it’s one of the perks of the job.”

Update Your Actor Resume, Get More Casting Calls

February 8, 2012

“I’d update my resume so you’re ready for any outcome.”Bob Weinstein

Okay, so you got new headshots recently, everyone agrees they’re first rate, you’re ecstatic they came out so well, and the new look is rockin’. You’re set, right? Wrong! You also need to update your resume. Headshots are of utmost importance when it comes to casting, but actors can underestimate the power of an updated resume. Any Casting Director worth his salt looks at every resume possible. How else are they going to know what you’ve been up to? If you’ve been to an acclaimed acting class, or if you’ve just received a rave theatre review, Casting Directors want to know. They are looking for these kinds of details to see how your career and training is progressing, and they want to know that you’re serious about the craft of acting. Understanding the talent pool is a Casting Director’s job. And for most, it’s their passion.
What if the clients think you’re a promising novice, but they’re not sure you have enough experience to pull off the shoot? You could be missing out on real opportunities simply by not adding your work as an extra and years of dance recitals. Also, what if you’ve been acting for many years, and you’re getting plenty of auditions; no worries, right? Wrong again. Think of the amount of work you’re missing because the powers that be aren’t aware you’ve done comedy, play the cello, double dutch, and speak Russian. Casting Directors are curious about your talents, and they want to get to know you; but they are not mind readers. So let them know! Engage them. Bring them into your world.

In the past, actors neglected this aspect of the business because of all the hassle making copies of their resumes and then stapling them to the backs of printed headshots. That was a tedious, not to mention, expensive process. But now, updating a resume has never been easier thanks to Casting Frontier. All an actor has to do is log into their CF profile and update away—as often as needed, with no extra fees or hassles.

Immediately after you update your online resume, Casting Directors can get the scoop on what you’re up to…and give you a call!

What Do Casting Directors Want from Actors in Casting Calls?

February 2, 2012

How does an actor increase his or her chances to be considered by Casting Directors both for a specific role and as a prospect for future casting calls?

Be In Character

First of all, they’re looking for an actor who captures the personality and essence of the character. So, memorize your lines as best you can, but don’t worry if you make a mistake. Rather, make sure you commit to the character, and proceed from there. Remaining in character includes listening and reacting to the other characters in the skit. When another character speaks or isn’t giving you much, don’t simply wait till it’s your next line. Instead, listen as your character would, and conduct yourself in character until you hear “cut.” Casting Directors may be looking for chemistry with other cast members, and if you’re not engaged at all times, the chemistry falls flat. And, be flexible enough to read in a different style if it’s asked of you. In other words, in the spirit of play, be ready to become another character if needed.

Be Professional

Every actor wants to feel valued; and they should. But, remember, in any production, an actor is simply a member of the team where everyone is important. So Casting Directors pay close attention to how well you listen, and how respectful you are to others, starting with the receptionist–who might be the Casting Director’s niece. And keep in mind, the casting process with its long lines of prospective candidates can have a hectic pace. Refrain from complaining about the air conditioning or the long wait. Everyone is experiencing these same conditions. The Camera Operator likely was never given a lunch break and will miss the light of day cramped up in a studio, so try not to take things personally if it seems like you’re being rushed or you’re not given the feedback you feel you deserve. And if you give a poor reading, don’t apologize or blame anybody; let it go, and keep moving forward with all the auditions you can get. The more chances you have to audition, the more likely you are to book!