Casting (performing arts)
In the performing arts
Performing arts
The performing arts are those forms art which differ from the plastic arts insofar as the former uses the artist's own body, face, and presence as a medium, and the latter uses materials such as clay, metal or paint which can be molded or transformed to create some physical art object...

, casting (or casting call) is a pre-production
Pre-production or In Production is the process of preparing all the elements involved in a film, play, or other performance.- In film :...

 process for selecting a cast (a meaning of the word recorded since 1631) of actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

s, dancers, singers, model
Model (person)
A model , sometimes called a mannequin, is a person who is employed to display, advertise and promote commercial products or to serve as a subject of works of art....

s and other talent for a live or recorded performance.

Casting process

The casting process sometimes involves a series of auditions before a casting panel, composed of individuals such as the producer
Theatrical producer
A theatrical producer is the person ultimately responsible for overseeing all aspects of mounting a theatre production. The independent producer will usually be the originator and finder of the script and starts the whole process...

, director and/or choreographer. In the early stages of the process, performers often may present prepared audition pieces such as monologue
In theatre, a monologue is a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character or the audience. Monologues are common across the range of dramatic media...

s or song
In music, a song is a composition for voice or voices, performed by singing.A song may be accompanied by musical instruments, or it may be unaccompanied, as in the case of a cappella songs...

s. Later stages may involve groups of actors attempting material from the work under consideration in various combinations; the Casting Director considers both the talent of the individual actors and the chemistry of their combination.

Depending on the prestige of the role, casting calls may go out to the public at large (typical for community theatre
Community theatre
Community theatre refers to theatrical performance made in relation to particular communities—its usage includes theatre made by, with, and for a community...

), to professional and semi-professional local actors (for supporting roles in theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

 and film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

) or to specifically selected actors (for leading roles, especially in films).

In the production of film and television, a similar process is followed. However, especially for major productions, the process of selecting actors for sometimes hundreds of parts may often require specialized staff. While the last word remains with the people in artistic and production charge, a Casting Director or "CD" (and sometimes the Casting Associate) are in charge of most of the daily work involved in this process during pre-production
Pre-production or In Production is the process of preparing all the elements involved in a film, play, or other performance.- In film :...

. A Casting Director is sometimes assisted by a Casting Associate; productions with large numbers of extras may have their own Extras Casting Director.

The "CD" remains as a liaison between director, actors and their agents/managers and the studio/network to get the characters in the script cast. Some Casting Directors build an impressive career working on numerous Hollywood productions, such as Mary Jo Slater
Mary Jo Slater
Mary Jo Slater is an American casting director and producer for film, television and theatre. She has over 100 movie credits to her name....

, Mary Selway
Mary Selway
Mary Selway was a British casting director.-Life:Selway was born in Norwich in 1936 and attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London...

, Lynn Stalmaster
Lynn Stalmaster
Lynn Stalmaster, born 1927 in Omaha, Nebraska), is an award winning American casting director.-Career:After serving in the U.S. Army Stalmaster got his first job in show business as an actor, appearing in the war movies The Steel Helmet and The Flying Leathernecks...

, April Webster
April Webster
April Webster is a two-time Emmy award-winning casting director, based in Los Angeles, California, known for her work in film and television. Webster has worked with some of the most successful directors, including several projects with J.J. Abrams....

, John Papsidera
John Papsidera
John Papsidera is a two-time Emmy award-winning casting director based in Los Angeles, California, known for his work in film and television. Papsidera has worked with some of the most successful directors in the world such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and Christopher Nolan.He has been...

, Tammara Billik
Tammara Billik
Tammara "Tammy" Billik, is a major Hollywood casting director who has cast hundreds of roles in television...

, Marci Liroff
Marci Liroff
Marci Liroff is a casting director, based in Los Angeles, California, known for her work in film and television. Liroff has worked with some of the most successful directors in the world such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Mark Waters, Christopher Nolan, Brad Bird, and Herbert Ross.-Early...

, John Lyons, Bill Dance, Avy Kaufman and Mindy Marin
Mindy Marin
Mindy Marin is a casting director, producer, and writer based in Santa Monica, California.-Casting:...


The significant organization of professional screen and theater casting in the US is the Casting Society of America
Casting Society of America
Founded in Los Angeles, California in 1982, the Casting Society of America is a professional society of about 350 casting directors for film, television, and theatre in Australia, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. The society is not to be confused with an industry union. The...

 (CSA), but membership is optional. Casting Directors organized in 2005 and became members of a collective bargaining unit, the Hollywood Teamsters Local 399 (Location Managers Guild of America
Location Managers Guild of America
The LMGA is a professional organization of Location Managers, Location Scouts, Assistant Location Managers, and affiliated business members, such as film commissions, location services, vendors, and filming venues...


At least in the early stages and for extras, casting may be decentralized geographically, often in conjunction with actual shooting planned in different locations. Another reason may be tapping in to each home market in the case of an international co-production. However for the top parts, the choice of one or more celebrities, whose presence is of enormous commercial importance, may rather follow strictly personal channels, e.g. direct contact with the director.

The resulting list of actors filling the parts is called a cast list.

See also

Stars In My Eyes Auditions - Where to find auditions (BEST FREE CASTING SOURCE) (free casting resource) (up to date resource guide)
  • Casting Call Magazine - (a casting publication)
  • Stunt casting
    Stunt casting
    Stunt casting is a term in casting that refers to hiring well known actors, such as movie stars, to play bit parts on television series and in films. Stunt casting now also occurs in Broadway productions...

  • Character actor
    Character actor
    A character actor is one who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a character actor as "an actor who specializes in character parts", defining character part in turn as "an acting role displaying pronounced or unusual characteristics or...

  • Stock character
    Stock character
    A Stock character is a fictional character based on a common literary or social stereotype. Stock characters rely heavily on cultural types or names for their personality, manner of speech, and other characteristics. In their most general form, stock characters are related to literary archetypes,...

  • Dramatis personae
    Dramatis Personae
    Dramatis Personae is a poetry collection by Robert Browning. It was published in 1864.- Background :Browning wrote the collection in London, where he had returned with his son after his wife's death. It was his first publication after a nine-year hiatus...

  • Ensemble cast
    Ensemble cast
    An ensemble cast is made up of cast members in which the principal actors and performers are assigned roughly equal amounts of importance and screen time in a dramatic production. This kind of casting became more popular in television series because it allows flexibility for writers to focus on...

  • Extra (actor)
    Extra (actor)
    A background actor or extra is a performer in a film, television show, stage, musical, opera or ballet production, who appears in a nonspeaking, nonsinging or nondancing capacity, usually in the background...

  • Casting couch
    Casting couch
    The casting couch, casting couch syndrome or casting couch mentality is a term which involves the trading of sexual favors by an aspirant, apprentice employee, or subordinate to a superior, in return for entry into an occupation, or for other career advancement within an organization...

  • Back Stage
    Back Stage
    Back Stage is an entertainment-industry brand aimed at people working in film and the performing arts, with a special focus on casting, job opportunities, and career advice.Back Stage publishes a weekly tabloid-sized trade magazine in the U.S...

     (a casting publication)
  • Audition website
    Audition website
    An Audition Website is a web site that aggregates audition information and delivers this information via the World Wide Web. There are hundreds of companies that operate acting, modeling, and dancing audition websites. Originally, only talent agents were able to provide actors, models, dancers and...

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