What is a Casting Researcher?
A Casting Researcher finds the right people to take part in productions. This could mean the right actor, or for factual productions it could mean a mix of members of the public, experts (eg. a scientist or a specialist medical consultant), or talent (eg. presenters, celebrities).
What is the Job?
The role of Casting Researcher involves finding actors for a film or TV drama, or on the factual side, contributors or interviewees who will be featured. Finding the right people to be at the heart of a production is crucial to it’s success.
This role is one of the first steps to becoming a Casting Director. There can often be a wide range of contributors or actors to find and the Casting Researcher might conduct an initial outreach push, using street casting and social media, or focus on a targeted approach, liaising with specific organisations. They will then conduct initial conversations to edit the list of possible contributors, and may help the Producer and AP film recce tapes or write contributor documents.
Depending on the budget of the production the job may extend into assisting PDs with interviewing contributors, writing interview questions or sending out scripts/information for auditions. Practically speaking, depending on the production budget, Casting Researchers may also handle a lot of the logistical nitty-gritty, from arranging auditions to organising travel for contributors.
- Good organisational skills – documenting your day-to-day research with times and dates, keeping paperwork in order, working to deadlines.
- Communication: be a good talker, confident when meeting people and be clear about what you are looking for and why.
- Problem solving: jumping over any hurdle to find the best people, thinking laterally and using initiative to ensure solutions are found.
- Knowledge and passion for TV and cinema, particularly what makes a good actor/contributor and why.
- Ability to network and source specific people for the production in hand.
Salary & Working Hours
Usually, a Casting Researcher is employed as a freelancer, although it can be possible to work on a permanent basis in larger production companies. According to the National Careers Service, a Researcher can expect to earn anywhere between £16,000 to £30,000 depending on experience and location. As with many jobs in this industry, working hours can often be long and unsociable, and in some instances you may be expected to work over weekends. But, in this job role, drive and determination is rewarded.
How To Become a Casting Researcher
You may move up from runner or PA, or join from a completely different industry. It also helps if you know lots of people in a certain sector. For example, if you applied for a job on a programme about extreme pet grooming and you had excellent contacts at pet parlours, a producer may pick you over other researchers, as you could potentially gain access using your contacts. There is no formal qualification needed, but most Casting Researchers hold a degree in Arts, English, Film, Theatre, Communication or Media. An active interest in film and acting is required, while any previous experience in the field is clearly beneficial.
Where Can It Take You?
After working as a Casting Researcher, you will have had the opportunity to build up experience of working with different contributors and building your network of contacts. From this role, you may be given the opportunity to progress to become a Casting Assistant Producer and eventually, with more leadership and responsibility in the casting process, you may aim to become a Casting Producer or Casting Director.
Become a Casting Researcher
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest Casting Researcher vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest Casting Researcher vacancies here.