Film & video

What is Film Casting?

Discover the origins of casting and why it’s such an important part of film production, with Luci Lenox

Casting is a fundamental element for any film project, whether you’re producing a short or a feature length film. In fact, many directors say that 90% of the work of directing actors comes down to casting.

Luci Lenox (@lucilenox) is an international casting director with over twenty years of experience, and she’s worked with clients such as Netflix, Disney, and Paramount to help bring their projects to life. In this video, she explains what casting is, the crucial role it plays in every film project, and what makes for a successful casting director.

The Origins of Film Casting

Different markets and parts of the world have different styles of casting and filmmaking. In the United States with the rise of major studies at the beginning of the 20th century, casting was star-oriented. The studio system chose who would be a star and cast and promoted them through major films, creating celebrities whose names would then help to draw in the public.

Meanwhile in Europe, filmmaking was more director-centric. Lenox explains that because of this focus on auteur cinema and independent films, European stars weren’t created in the same way, leading to a different casting approach. While the talents of many actors led them to become stars, casting directors were more focused on fit than fame.

Why Good Casting Matters

Actors are the people who bring the page, and project, to life. Casting is about identifying the people who can most successfully and convincingly fill that role.

“An actor who is playing a role that they’re meant to play doesn’t need as much direction as if you’re trying to get somebody to fit into a role that’s not quite right for them,” explains Lenox, who subscribes to the philosophy that there’s no such thing as a bad actor, just bad casting.

How to Become a Casting Director

Until recently there’s been no formal training for casting directors, meaning that apprenticeships with established casting directors has been the traditional route for industry hopefuls. This has started to change, with places like the National Film and Television School in the UK beginning to offer casting courses.

An important skill for a casting director is to always be looking and learning by going to drama school showcases, the cinema, and the theater in search for new talent so that they can make relevant and informed proposals.

It’s also important for casting directors to work collaboratively with other parts of production and to be very organized in their workflow.

If you’d like to learn more about how to prepare for casting sessions and auditioning for TV and film, check out Luci Lenox’s online course The Art of Casting.

You May Also Be Interested In:

- Costume Design for Film and TV, a course by Bina y Pepo
- Creative Direction for Music Videos, a course by Lyona Ivanova

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