Casting Guideposts for Directors

by | Oct 12, 2018

If you feel like someone is the best fit, even though you can’t quite put a finger on why that feeling is still valid.

Ahh casting. The easiest, most simplified aspect of any production, am I right? No, but seriously, casting can be really difficult. Add on the pressure that they say 90% of good directing is good casting, and you’re in for a pretty stressful round of decision making. So whether you’re a director or not, if you’re participating in the casting process you’ll want to check out this nifty little list of Casting Guideposts for Directors we’ve compiled. Sorry for leaving you out of the title, gotta keep things succinct, you know?

You can make a good actor look pretty, but you can’t make a bad actor not stink.

Isn’t that funny and clever? And the best part about that statement is that it’s TRUE. Mind is blown. There is no question at all that looks are important in this industry, however, good acting makes a heck of a lot of a difference. Even in a project where you may think that really intense, legitimate acting may not be necessary. A well-trained actor increases the viewer’s level of engagement regardless of what type of work the actor may be doing. Plus even if they’re not a major looker, makeup and costume designers can do wonders. So if you’re trying to choose between some random hot person and someone who knows what an objective and tactic are, we vote you take the actual actor. If not, feel free to go take the rest of your directing advice from Michael Bay. His style will suit you well.

Trust your gut.

If you feel like someone is the best fit, even though you can’t quite put a finger on why that feeling is still valid. Someone may just have a really good energy that you vibe with or a very subtle mannerism that fits well with the part. In making casting choices (or any choice in life, really) it can sometimes be difficult not to overthink things. However, we’re here to tell you that what you felt initially probably has some validity to it, and that unless there are very clear and obvious red flags that come up after the fact, said the feeling is something to take into consideration.

Kindness counts.

And remember the golden rule! Or something like that. And we’re not talking about the actors with this one, we’re talking about YOU. Now it may seem strange to have something that’s directed solely towards you on this list, but this is probably one of the most important suggestions you can give. If you create a positive, welcoming environment during your casting process, all actors auditioning will feel more comfortable and will have a better opportunity to show you their very best. Aside from even that though, your reputation as a director can influence whether or not people will want to come audition for or work with you again. Being professional, understanding, and kind in your interactions with actors while casting is a big thing. We’re not saying you need to hand out chocolates and daisies, but trying to avoid being a total jerk is probably a good thing.

If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only bring this actor…would you lose your will to live?

Alright, now back to actors and the actual making of casting decisions. We’ve talked about looks and talent, but another important element in casting is the actor’s personality and directability. Are they easy to work with? Can and do they take and implement direction wholeheartedly? Are they open to trying new approaches to scenes and characters? If you hate everything about who they are, you are probably not going to have nearly as successful of a time directing. Also, keep in mind that you’re going to be spending hours upon hours with this person in many cases. Thus regardless of how perfect for the role they are, or even how talented they may be, if they’re a nightmare to work with it may not be worth it.

If you create a positive, welcoming environment during your casting process, all actors auditioning will feel more comfortable.

Sources for this article

Photos on Unsplash.

Well, that’s all folks! What other tips and tricks do you have when it comes to casting? Any foolproof approaches that work for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts; please comment below!

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