Film Producing: How to Cast the Right Actors in Your Film

October 20, 2023

Being a producer can have its ups and downs–after all, producers play a part in every creative, technical, and financial aspect of a film or television show. Often, they help oversee the hiring of writers and the development of the script and supervise the casting, hiring of the crew, and location scouting of a project.

Film Producing: How to Cast the Right Actors in Your Film

A major part of film production includes casting the right actors for your project. But how do you know when you are casting the right people for the part? Here’s some advice for students and aspiring producers to help you pick the perfect cast!

Don’t wear out the material.

Don’t overuse the script during the audition process. Do you want to hear 50 people read the same lines repeatedly? You may love the scene at the beginning of the audition process, but there’s a good chance you’ll hate it by the end.

Instead, you may consider choosing material from a different project that is spiritually similar and use that during the audition process. You won’t end up tired of your own script, plus you can save the real material for people you are serious about during callbacks.

Focus on the chemistry.

It’s understandable to want an actor who is specifically right for the part, but it’s also important they have chemistry between your leads, as well as chemistry with the director and the cast. Chemistry between actors is often what makes a film successful because it’s so exciting to watch.

Be specific.

As a producer, it is imperative to have a clear picture of your needs and priorities. It’s important to know what characteristics you want in the actors for your project. Be specific when working with casting directors and you’ll find being upfront about what you want will help them plan and be more strategic in the casting process.

In Film Independent’s article, “’We’re A Family’: Casting Directors on Putting the Right Actor in the Role,” Julie Hutchinson, former 20th Century Fox’s vice president of Feature Casting and senior vice president of Casting at Universal Pictures, said, “We’re a family. We’re all in it together.”

Don’t rush.

Don’t make the rookie-producing mistake of rushing through the casting process. It’s not just another part of pre-production you should check off your to-do list. Of course, the casting process can be frustrating and tedious. Remember, there is almost never a perfect fit for your role. The person auditioning for the part may have the talent but not the look you want. Or, they may have the look you want but not the right aura.

It can be a bad idea to bring in an absurdly large group of people for auditions, especially if you haven’t had the time to look at all of their headshots and resumes. Instead, take the time to read over some submissions, select a few actors, and bring them in for auditions. Being selective early on in the process will increase your chances of finding suitable talent for your project.

Remember: don’t settle for actors you’re not happy with because this could lead to some major issues on set later on down the road when it will be too late (and too expensive) to recast. A well-cast actor not only brings the character to life but also contributes to the film’s narrative depth, fostering a connection between the audience and the story.

Develop Producing Skills at NYFA

Casting the right actor is a pivotal decision that can profoundly impact the success and authenticity of a film. Beyond the actor’s physical resemblance to the character, the casting director must consider the performer’s ability to embody the role emotionally, convey the intended nuances, and harmonize with the overall vision of the film, ensuring a compelling and resonant on-screen presence.

At NYFA, aspiring producers learn essential and fundamental skills to help them orchestrate the creation of a film or television show. To learn more about Producing programs at NYFA, explore our programs.