Ever wonder what a reality TV Casting Director actually does… and why they’re hired in the first place?
I’ve been getting quite a few emails from folks who would rather go behind the scenes, instead of making one on TV. So, I thought I’d enlighten you with a quick glimpse into the inner-working of my world.
When a production company creates a reality TV show, they need a “cast,” which is the selection of people hand picked to be a part of the show. And it’s a Casting Director’s job to find all of those people.
Casting departments are almost always the first ones brought in at the beginning of a show. Why? Because it takes time to find people. Especially great people who are the right fit for the show. The casting team’s job is to find the very best people who will make the show as entertaining as possible to all those watching at home.
In most cases, multiple casting people are hired to cast a show. From the head honcho (typically, the Casting Director/Producer), right down to the junior person, the Casting Assistant, they all play a pivotal role in the process.
To be hired as a Casting Director/Producer, you generally need to have a lot of credits and experience, just like any other job.
Unless you have a rich uncle, most of us start off as Casting Assistants or even interns, and then we move up the ladder to Casting Associates or Casting Coordinators. Only if and when we get promoted to a more senior role leading the casting team do we get the title of Casting Director/Producer (on some shows, it’s the Casting Director who’s in charge and on others, it’s the Casting Producer).
Being a Casting Director/Producer means you produce the cast – as in, it’s all on your shoulders to hand over a cast that have been vetted completely and are ready, willing and able to rock and roll. The Casting Director/Producer is the final decision maker about who gets “pitched” (I’ll explain in a sec) to the Producers to be on the show.
The “ranking” for Casting Director and Casting Producer varies show by show.
It’s pretty much an interchangeable title, in my opinion. They both work their butts off to get the job done. One just gets higher ranking (and pay) than the others and gets their name first in the credits.
A “pitch,” by the way, is when a Casting Director/Producer tries to convince the Producers, networks execs, and other higher ups on the show that YOU are the perfect person for the show. It usually entails a short edited video of you, a one-sheet (which is basically your “resume,” based on your application and other things we know about you), and then our verbal seal of approval.
It takes a lot of hard work to have an entire show resting on your shoulders, that’s why they pay us the medium bucks.
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