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Role call

education Updated: Jan 04, 2012 11:51 IST

The lowdown
A casting director is a human resource manager for actors. S/he works in the fields of theatre, ad films and commercial films, and deals with casting the crew or performers for a project. A casting director’s job is to audition potential actors and zero in on the one who fits the look of the character – though the final casting decision rests with the director. Casting is often the platform, the first step towards becoming a film director

Clockwork
9am: Wake up; call up assistants
10am: Reach the audition venue; check various scripts readied by assistants
11.30am: Basic audition round starts; observe and take notes
12.30pm: Attend auditions without a break. If an actor shows promise, slot him/her for another round of auditions
2pm: Lunch
3pm: Auditioning resumes
7pm: Tapes sent to studios to be made into DVDs; select candidates to be called again the following day. Head for the studio
8.30pm: At the studio, DVDs arrive. Go through all audition disks; make notes
11pm: Head to a friend’s party

The payoff
A casting director/ manager makes good money. A fresher in the business may get paid between Rs 2 lakh to 3 lakh a month, depending on the number of films (commercial and ad) he does in a month. An associate casting director makes upwards of R1 lakh a month. An assistant casting director makes between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 25,000 a month
Junior assistant/assistant get Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 a month. A manager, managing the accounts of renwoned actors is paid in proportion to the fee of the actors. They may charge 5% to 10% of the actors’ fee per project

Skills/TRAITS
* An eye for talent
* Excellent memory
* Interest in films, theatre and literature
* Should have an understanding of what makes a good script
* Should love meeting, and interacting with people
* Loads of patience
* Should have good communication and interpersonal skills
* Should be genuinely interested in promoting the careers of people in the film industry
* Your negotiation skills should be very strong
* Should be able to gauge the the strengths and weaknesses of the actors

Getting there
You can start working as a casting manager after completing Class 12. However, you should continue to pursue higher studies. No formal training is required to be a casting manager. One should be interested in theatre and should learn as much as one can about actors, actresses and films. Being involved with theatre and celebrity management helps. Knowing a few film celebrities personally, might help you to start on your own. One can also start out by looking for training opportunities with casting directors who may be looking for associates or assistants

Institutes and URLs
There are no formal institutes that can train you as casting manager. One learns on the job. A good idea is to work under casting managers or start as celebrity managers. Both these would give you opportunities to network well in the film fraternity

Pros and cons
* The profession helps you earn name and fame
* You create stars
* You get to work in one of the most coveted industries
* At times, working hours can go beyond 20 hours a day

The role of a casting manager is integral to the success of any project. Their role is very important in the film industry Dharam Oberoi, casting manager and producer based in Mumbai