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

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, as well as supervise the casting, hiring of the crew, and location scouting of a project.

The New York Film Academy teaches students what it truly means to be a producer–simply put, a project doesn’t exist without one. Producers are the most involved, following a project from pre- to post-production and beyond.

A major part of film producing includes having to cast 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 really want to hear 50 people read the same lines over and over again? 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.

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 just check off of 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.

Do you have any tips on how to select the right actor for a role? Let us know below!


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