How does the casting process work?
First, you should expect that things can change at every stage of a production. ‘Production’ is literally a living, breathing, and ever-moving animal. Lots of people, places and things are put into place to complete every project; so, one little change-to-location here, or re-write-to-script there, and POOF, a casting decision can change.
You should, then, be aware that casting is one of the last things put into place on almost every project. Yes, big productions will contract with the big stars early in the process; but most the rest of casting for the project takes place at the very end of the pre-production process. How quickly any given casting progresses will vary project to project. Some projects, like series television, will conduct episode-to-episode castings; often, anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks prior to the production date for the given character(s). Feature films, industrial training or corporate films usually hold castings within 1 to 2 weeks of production and commercials, usually, within 1 to 7 days.
So, then, a producer or casting director contacts the agency with the project specifications; including, project synopsis, character breakdowns, significant dates, rates, and more. An agent reviews to assure all specs are complete and that the project meets standards. An agent filters through and sends project details to all talent who meet the current client’s specs. Talent respond as indicated if they desire to be submitted. Agent sends client a picklist of available choices. Client either books talent from this submission or will select talent to audition. If audition, talent attends the audition, callback, and/or 2nd callback, as requested. Client makes their selections and notifies agent. Agent notifies and books talent.
Often, someone who has ‘the look’ the client has in mind will win out over someone who might have more experience. Although, to get the opportunity in the first place, a professional looking portfolio is key. Pro photography, a resume full of experience and/or lots of on-camera training goes a long way in support of an actor being submitted by the agent and then considered by the producer.