How to Break Into the Field of Casting Research

What exactly is the role of a Casting Researcher?

Casting Researchers are responsible for locating suitable candidates for roles in various productions. This could involve finding the ideal performer, or for factual shows, it could mean finding a combination of members of the public, professionals (such as a scientist or a specialized medical consultant), or talented individuals (eg. presenters, celebrities).

Who does the Job Exactly?

Locating contributors or interviewees who will be featured in a documentary or documentary series is one of the tasks of a Casting Researcher. Other tasks include finding actors for a film or TV drama. Finding the correct people to play key roles in a production is one of the most important things that can be done to ensure its success.

Holding this position is one of the prerequisites for moving further in the Casting Director career path. It is not uncommon for there to be a wide variety of contributors or actors to locate, and the Casting Researcher may choose to either focus on a targeted approach by liaising with specific organisations or conduct an initial outreach push by utilising street casting and social media. This can be done. After that, they will engage in preliminary conversations with the purpose of editing the list of potential contributors. Additionally, they may offer assistance to the Producer and the AP in the process of filming recce tapes or writing contributor documents.

It is possible that the scope of this position will expand to include supporting the PDs in interviewing contributors, developing interview questions, or sending out scripts and information for auditions. This will depend on the budget of the production. Casting Researchers may also be responsible for a significant amount of the production’s logistical nitty-gritty, depending on the budget for the project. This may include scheduling auditions and organising travel for contributors.

Key Skills

  • Good organisational abilities, including the ability to document your day-to-day research with times and dates, maintain order in your documentation, and work within time constraints.
  • Communication is key, so learn to converse well, exude self-assurance when interacting with new people, and articulate exactly what you want and why you want it.
  • Problem solving involves overcoming any obstacle in order to locate the most qualified candidates, thinking laterally, and taking initiative in order to ensure that answers are found.
  • A knowledge of and an enthusiasm for television and film, particularly with regard to the qualities that distinguish a good actor or contributor and the reasons why.
  • Capacity to cultivate a network and locate particular individuals for the project at hand.

Compensation and Time Spent Working

Casting Researchers are mostly self-employed, however those working for larger production firms may have the opportunity to secure full-time positions in the Casting Research department. The National Careers Service estimates that a Researcher’s salary can range anywhere from £16,000 to £30,000, based on their level of expertise as well as the location of their workplace. Working hours in this field are notorious for being long and unpredictable, and in some cases, you can even be required to put in work on the weekends. This is typical of many of the employment available in this sector. However, in this particular employment capacity, tenacity and eagerness to succeed are rewarded.

How to Break Into the Field of Casting Research

You might start out as a runner or an assistant, or you might come from an entirely different business. It is also beneficial if you know a large number of people who work in a particular industry. A producer may choose you over other researchers if, for instance, you applied for a job on a programme about extreme pet grooming and you had good relationships at pet parlours. This is because the producer believes that you may be able to acquire access to the subject matter by leveraging your contacts. Casting Researchers aren’t required to have any specific credentials, but the most of them have degrees in fields like arts, English, film, theatre, communication, or media. It is needed that you have a strong interest in film and acting, and it is obviously useful if you have any previous experience in the industry.

Where Will It Lead You, Exactly?

As a result of your time spent working as a Casting Researcher, you will have had the opportunity to get expertise in collaborating with a variety of contributors and expanding your network of contacts. From this position, you may be given the opportunity to advance to the role of Casting Assistant Producer, and eventually, with more leadership and responsibility in the casting process, you may aim to become a Casting Producer or Casting Director. These roles require more experience than Casting Assistant Producer.