Talent directors find, interview and audition performers needed for television, movie, radio or stage productions. They scout prospective talent by consulting with agents, attending or viewing performances, and holding open auditions.
They keep track of available actors, cataloguing their résumés, credits and additional abilities like dancing or martial arts. They instruct performers on the requirements of each role, advise filmmakers on final casting decisions, and assist in negotiations.
Duties and responsibilities
- Attend or view productions to gather knowledge of available performers
- Maintain actor database including résumés, credits and special skills like dancing or martial arts
- Meet producers and directors to discuss scripts and requirements for each role
- Review performer head shots, CVs, audio or video demo reels to find candidates for project
- Contact agents to set up auditions for actors or facilitate open calls if necessary
- Provide actors with scripts and character attributes to help them prepare for auditions
- Design and arrange auditions and screen tests of performers individually and in pairs or groups
- Audition and interview actors to find those most suitable for project, or to keep on file for future
- Select actors for available roles, or submit options to director and producers to make final call
- Act as a liaison between agents, actors and producers, including negotiating performer contracts
- Hire and supervise assistants and support staff who help scout talent and do administrative tasks
- Arrange for extras for background scenes or actor stand-ins via direct contact, agents or open calls
- Teach classes on acting and preparing for auditions
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Standard business hours
Most talent directors work full time in an office environment. Many operate as freelancers, and jobs are often temporary and short-term, depending on the type of project. Those with casting duties for a weekly show or multiple projects for a studio will have a more consistent schedule. You may put in more than 40 hours a week, depending on workload and deadlines.
Talent directors interact with a variety of executives, filmmakers, agents and performers every day. You may spend long hours standing or sitting through multiple auditions. Travel to location shoots, audition sites and agents' offices is possible.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in related field
Most talent directors have a bachelor's degree in radio and television, cinematography, theatre, directing or a related field. Knowledge of the field, the performers and experience in casting work, however, are the essential prerequisites for director jobs. Many talent directors start out as production or casting assistants, or transition from acting.
College students and graduates may also apply for a semester-long apprenticeship programme.
Most talent directors begin as a casting or production assistants. Gaining experience, knowledge of the business and available actor pool can lead to advancement to associate and assistant casting director roles. A good professional reputation and networking with industry leaders is the best route to landing a role as talent director.
Additional education and training opportunities can help you land a job more quickly in a competitive market. Becoming a member of the Casting Society of America (CSA) can also help connect you with others in the field. Talent directors can advance to larger and more prestigious projects and may transition to a career as director or producer.