How to Start a Casting Agency

Are you thinking about getting into the industry of casting? Many casting directors have found success over the decades, but it takes a great deal of experience to make this happen. Not only is there a requirement to have a great memory [or good note-taking skills], but there must be an instinct developed that lets them know how performers will actually perform. It is a busy, chaotic type of business, but knowing how to start a casting agency could be a long-term lucrative entrepreneurial opportunity as well.

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It all begins by developing the experience needed to properly cast. For most people who want to start a casting agency, this means finding work as a casting assistant. In the right office, there will be room for promotion to becoming a casting associate and even a casting director. Large offices can be quite stressful, however, so starting a smaller agency may be just the ticket to success.

Here are the other steps to take so that the best chances for success can be found.

1. You Need to Know What Works and What Doesn’t Work.

There must be a love for the art of acting if a casting agency is going to be successful. This means everything from advertising to theater to the silver screen. Many new casting directors expect to make some big bucks right away by finding a great talent to put into the next blockbuster. In reality, a casting agency makes its money more from creating the right look at the right time for the right business in all areas of acting.

2. Form Relationships with Production Companies.

There is a misunderstanding sometimes as to what a casting agency does. A casting agency is not responsible for representing talent. They are not agents. They are paid by production companies to find people who fit a specific profile and have a certain talent so that the results can be as perfect as possible. Forming relationships with production companies is a necessary component of this process.

3. Be Prepared to Multitask.

Many casting agencies are asked to fill multiple parts at once because it’s easier to deal with one agency than multiple agencies. Once a casting agency develops a solid reputation, there will likely be multiple products that require multiple parts to be filled simultaneously. The right person isn’t always easy to find, so don’t expect to work the 9-5 grind to be successful. A casting agency often means late nights, weekends, and a lot of stress before finding a payday.

4. Get Your New Agency Licensed.

If you’re ready to go into business on your own, then you’ll need to get your business licensed. Although you might be able to work from home, most jurisdictions will still require this type of business to be licensed. Some jurisdictions may lump a casting agency in with talent agencies and this could require an additional license and fees. Don’t forget to be insured in case someone doesn’t get a part they think they should and decides to sue your new agency because of it.

5. Advertise for Talent Evaluations.

Information is the key resource that a casting agency needs for success. In order to place talent into productions, it becomes necessary to know what talent is available in your local region. Make appointments with talent agencies to meet with the local acting professionals to get to know them. Watching tapes of auditions can be beneficial as well, but nothing beats an in-person meeting to get an idea of a person’s mannerisms and vocal inflections.

6. Be Consistent.

Production companies don’t like surprises. Keep open lines of communication available so that your agency is in contact with the production company for every step of the casting process. Even if your agency doesn’t get a film credit, a good job of casting will build a reputation within the industry and bring others to your door. Start with one solid relationship, provide consistent results, and you’ll be able to build from there.

7. Don’t Give Up.

There will be days when the phone doesn’t ring. There will be times when the inbox remains empty. Instead of giving up, take the opportunity to build new relationships or meet with new talent in the area. The next superstar might not even be acting right now, so use your instincts to meet people with the right look and the potential for talent and see what they have to offer.

Knowing how to start a casting agency can help those who love acting, film, and theater to have a career they love. Follow these steps today and the future will be yours to grab.